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Cinders' Supreme victory evokes memories of the late Ginger McCain

Memories of the late Ginger McCain were evoked after Cinders And Ashes sprinted up the Cheltenham hill to win the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

The Grand National legend, who passed away just a few months ago, bought the impressive winner for 4,500guineas as a Juddmonte cast-off.

Having travelled strongly but ultimately failing to come up in the hill in the champion bumper last year, many had written him off as a bit of a bridle horse but trainer Donald McCain always retained the faith.

Beaten on his hurdling debut at Ascot, he had won his last three on bad ground but his handler remained convinced that good ground would be the making of him.

Sent off at 10-1, Jason Maguire had the winner in the perfect position on the inside in fourth or fifth early on, but a bad mistake going up the hill cost him a few places.

After a bit of urging from the saddle he soon regained his spot and Maguire was at pains not to hit the front too soon.

Montbazon kicked on and when former Flat racer Vulcanite dropped away, the likes of Darlan, Prospect Wells and Trifolium looked ready to pounce.

Alan King's Montbazon hit the last two flights hard and on jumping the last Maguire kicked on.

Tony McCoy made up a lot of ground on Darlan but he was comprehensively beaten by a length and a quarter with Trifolium third and Montbazon fourth, all in a heap.

The impressive winner was given a 16-1 quote for next year's Champion Hurdle by William Hill.

"My dad (Ginger McCain) must be looking down on me. He bought him cheap and it's all down to him, not me," said McCain.

"He bought him as a two-year-old but the original partnership dissolved and we had to buy him back in last year for 72,000. There was no way we were letting him go.

"We fancied him strongly but then when you get here, everybody fancies theirs as well.

"He missed the last flight, but he was getting there too soon anyway.

"I told the owners to help themselves to the 33s at Christmas.

"He's a fair horse. I wasn't sure if he'd be as good on that ground but he's a bit like Peddlers Cross - he's a tool.

"He's a Champion Hurdle horse. I don't know about Aintree, we took him there last year and he ran as flat as a pancake.

"We'll probably start him off in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle next season."

Maguire added: "Fantastic, but I probably got to the front a bit too soon. He pricked his ears and he got in a bit tight at the last.

"He's a smart horse and has got a Flat pedigree. He's just a year stronger this year and Donald's done a brilliant job with him.

"His Flat pedigree has helped him as it got a bit tight a couple of times on the inside."

Joint-owner Phil Cunningham, whose Cockney Rebel won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas back in 2007, said: "I think I'll stick to Flat racing, my heart is still racing! This is a totally different experience to owning horses on the Flat - there are too many things in the way.

"It was a cracking ride and training performance.

"What an amazing day."

Darlan's trainer Nicky Henderson said: "This is not the worst place to be.

"He's a lovely horse and he'll be better next year.

Frank Berry, racing manager to Darlan's owner JP McManus, added: "He ran well but just found one too good. He's one to look forward to next year and chasing might be on the agenda."

Charles Byrnes, trainer of third-placed Trifolium, said: "There are no excuses. He's near enough top drawer and he might go to Punchestown, although he's had plenty of racing this year."

Alan King, responsible for the fourth home, Montbazon, said: "He's run a nice race and was only beaten two lengths. He's a lovely horse and one to look forward to next year."