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Quevega squeaks over the final hurdle on her way to victory on Tuesday

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (  

Quevega claims magnificent fifth victory

Report: Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday

OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Registered as the David Nicholson) (Grade 2) 2m4f, Old Course

QUEVEGA stands side-by-side with the mighty Golden Miller in the list of Cheltenham Festival greats as the wondermare captured her fifth successive Mares' Hurdle under an ecstatic Ruby Walsh.

Victory was expected for the nine-year-old, who for so long has stood head, shoulders and all above her contemporaries but she had looked beaten after clipping heels and losing her position at the top of the hill.

Before Quevega only Golden Miller had claimed five triumphs on jump racing's biggest stage - his wins coming in the Gold Cup from 1932-36 - and the mare's latest win catapults her ahead of four-time winners Arkle, Istabraq and Big Buck's in festival legend.

Her win also completed a memorable day for trainer Willie Mullins and Walsh, who teamed up to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle with Champagne Fever and Champion Hurdle with Hurricane Fly.

Buried in the pack, Quevega slipped over hurdle after hurdle with ease but disaster almost struck at the top of the hill as Walsh was jerked forward in the saddle as his mount clipped heels with the horse in front.

Out of position, this time it was going to be tough for Quevega. The leaders had kicked for home and French raider Sirene D'Ainay was in prime position to claim victory.

But champions don't give up and Quevega is a champion.

Weaving through the stragglers and responding generously to Walsh, Quevega appeared on the scene at the final hurdle and as they went up the hill it was the favourite that took the honours from Sirene D'Ainay and Swincombe Flame.

"She jumped the last and by God did she pick up," Walsh said.  "I would have won easy apart from I nearly had a disaster at the top of the hill but when your luck's in, your luck's in."

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