There are few luckier charms in racing than owner Andrew Gemmell, who enjoyed yet another significant success with Hang In There (6/1), who beat Pacify (7/2) in great style by three lengths in the G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle and will now be aimed at the Supreme itself, for which he is a 25/1 chance with the sponsor.
Gemmell, blind since birth, enjoyed Festival success with Paisley Park in the G1 Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle, and he has only recently returned from Australia, where True Self, in whom he had only recently taken a share, gave Willie Mullins his first winner in the Antipodes.
Hang In There, trained like Paisley Park by Emma Lavelle, is owned in partnership with Tim Syder, and so potent is Gemmell's luck that almost every owner in the stable wants him to take a share in their horse.
Gemmell was very animated in the winner's enclosure as he listened to the commentary and said afterwards: "That was fantastic. It's becoming a habit!"
Lavelle joked: "I'm trying to cover the spectrum for Andrew with his hurdlers."
She added: "This horse is a little terrier. He's not very big, but he's all heart. He's a really good mover, and I wasn't sure about the ground, but he's handled this the same as he's handled better ground.
"He's always on the gas at home, always busy enough, but he's all heart and he'll keep fighting for you. I think we'll stick where we are now for the minute distance wise, and I suppose we had better treat him like a proper horse now.
"To be in with a chance in the big two-mile championship races you've got to be able to travel and you've got to be able to stay, and he only just got beaten in a two-and-a-half-mile novice at Fairyhouse. He doesn't have to make it, but it's better to let him get on with it than fight him. He's an exciting prospect and he's done nothing wrong."
Syder said: "He had already had one hurdle run in Ireland over two and a half miles before we bought him. Emma bought him and Andy [Gemmell] was very keen to buy him. I was not so sure but they had my arm up my back! He ran very well at Exeter and we were hopeful today but he was up against four other good ones. We are very happy."
HANG IN THERE DOES THE BUSINESS
Jockey Adam Wedge is enjoying a fine season and he landed the G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle over an extended two miles courtesy of the Emma Lavelle-trained Hang In There (6/1).
The five-year-old son of Yeats travelled strongly throughout the contest and quickened up in taking fashion to score by three lengths from the Jamie Snowden-trained Pacify (7/2).
Well-regarded by Lavelle, Hang In There is now unbeaten in his last two starts and Wedge is excited for the future with the talented hurdler.
He said: "It was a fantastic performance. He is a little terrier and will try all the way for you.
"He doesn't have to race in front, but if we took a lead, it would have to be a good gallop as he can be quite keen.
"My lad has give me a lovely feel today - hopefully the sky is the limit
"Looking at the race, it looked like a competitive novice hurdle with some talented horses and hopefully it has turned out that way."
GROUND BLUNTS PACIFY'S SPEED
Pacify finished second by three lengths in the G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle behind Hang In There at odds of 7/2.
The Jamie Snowden-trained seven-year-old, who is owned by the Duchess of Cornwall and Sir Chips Keswick, was ridden by Gavin Sheehan.
Snowden said: "You're never happy when you finish second, but he's run a nice race. The ground's just meant he didn't have that potent turn of foot we've seen on better ground.
"He's handled it well enough but it's just blunted his speed a bit from the back of two out. He's carried on galloping at one pace from there; he's carrying a five-pound penalty and has been beaten two lengths, so he's run a nice race.
"This was always the plan; we'll see where we go. There's half a possibility he might go up in trip as well at some point. I think he does stay nicely.
"We may enter a couple of races at The Festival - the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the Ballymore, and see how we go from there."
The 6/4 favourite Ecco finished third, 14 lengths further back.
Trainer Paul Nicholls said: "Ecco hated the ground. We were deliberating this morning whether to run or not but there is only one way to find out - we've learnt now."
Ecco was ridden by Harry Cobden, who said: "Obviously we didn't like the ground, he stayed on well to finish third, so we are happy enough with him. The winner looks smart and clearly handled the ground better than we did."
Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 87y
1 HANG IN THERE (Tim Syder & Andrew Gemmell) Emma Lavelle 5-11-00 Adam Wedge 6/1
2 Pacify (The Duchess of Cornwall & Chips Keswick) Jamie Snowden 7-11-05 7/2
3 Ecco (Colm Donlon) Paul Nicholls 4-11-00 Harry Cobden 6/4 Fav
Time: 4m 10.60s
Distances: 3, 14
Tote Win: £7.30 Places: £2.90, £1.80 Exacta: £23.90