Tahmuras gives Paul Nicholls his fifth Tolworth Novices' Hurdle

Paul Nicholls landed his fifth Tolworth Novices' Hurdle after Tahmuras and Harry Cobden comfortably claimed an easy success at Sandown.

A stylish winner of a Listed contest at Haydock on his previous run, Harry Cobden's mount travelled supremely well throughout in the two-mile Grade 1 contest, and was content to allow Colonel Harry to make the running under Gavin Sheehan.

Though clearly green, he loomed large approaching the last two flights as the disappointing favourite Authorised Speed laboured in the soft ground.

Despite walking through the last two hurdles, Cobden quickly got the six-year-old back on an even keel and the 5/2 second-favourite scored in style by two and a half lengths, giving the champion trainer a first win in the race since Breedsbreeze some 15 years ago.

The Evan Williams-trained L'Astroboy stayed on for second, having the tables turned on him by the winner who had been beaten a neck by that rival in a Ffos Las bumper in February last year, while Nemean Lion stuck on for third, a further length behind.

It was also a stellar afternoon for the owners Noel Fehily Racing Syndicates, who had earlier taken the Listed mares' hurdle with the Harry Fry-trained Love Envoi.

Fehily said: "He will be in the Supreme and the Ballymore at the Festival and we will speak to Paul about where he goes, but he looks pretty good and reminds me of Summerville Boy on whom I won the Supreme.

"He's a good staying horse with a bit of quality and I would say Hansard isn't far behind him. Gary (Moore) loves him and he will be stepped up for his next run."

Nicholls said: "It was good. It took 15 years, but you have got to have the right sort of horses, haven't you?

"To be fair, we thought he'd go very close. Scott Marshall, who rides him every day, said it would take a good one to beat him and I've got a lot of faith in Scott."

Betfair cut Tahmuras to 10/1 for both the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Nicholls added: "He has just done nothing but improve and he is like Noland and Al Ferof, who both won the Supreme for us - they are both strong and good stayers with good enough boot for two (miles).

"So I guess we will go to the Supreme with him - we'll so straight there - but he is the mirror of Noland and Al Ferof.

"He is an improving young horse and we will sharpen his jumping on better ground. We are delighted with him.

"It is hard jumping out of that deep ground up that Sandown hill. They all jumped fairly ordinary, but he's fairly adequate and when we get that better ground in the spring, we will sharpen his jumping up."

Cobden - bagging this third Grade One in a matter of weeks, after the King George and Challow Hurdle - said: "The only time he ever got beat was in a bumper at Ffos Las, but he's right up there and cantered all over them today.

"He did struggle for a few strides down the back, but it was very soft back there.

"Paul's really put his foot on the gas with the horses and this is clearly one of the best (novice) hurdlers in the country."

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