A thrilling finish to the closing Valda Energy Novices' Handicap Hurdle saw the first three home separated by a head a neck as 33/1 shot Lively Citizen edged out One True King and Chasamax.
Top-weight One True King cut out much of the running and battled back strongly after being headed jumping the last by Lively Citizen, Chasamax and The Bees Knees. All four horses held every chance up the run-in, with the D J Jeffreys-trained Lively Citizen narrowly prevailing under Charlie Deutsch.
D J Jeffreys said: "To be fair to the owners, they were questioning me running him over a bit further. He is a half-brother to Getaway Trump [trained by Paul Nicholls], who's an out and out two-miler. It has worked out. Charlie Deutsch [the jockey] is one of the most natural riders in the game; he is brilliant.
"This is our second winner here at Cheltenham - we had one with our first runner last year, which was a bit of luck.
"We will have to see what the handicapper does with this fella, but I'd like to think there might be something here in December. Obviously two miles is his trip - you are always learning in this game!
"I am from up in the Borders and it was always the dream to have winners at Kelso, and it still feels a bit strange calling Cheltenham my local track [DJ trains near Stow on the Wold]; it's slightly more competitive!"
4.05pm Valda Energy Novices' Handicap Hurdle 2m 87y
1 Lively Citizen – D J Jeffreys 5-10-08 Charlie Deutsch 33/1
2 One True King – Nigel Twiston-Davies 5-12-00 3/1JF
3 Chasamax – Nicky Henderson 5-11-02 Nico de Boinville 14/1
4 The Bees Knees – Fergal O’Brien 5-11-09 Max Kendrick (3) 3/1JF
Distances: hd, nk, 1¼
Time: 4m 6.65s
Tote Win: £46 Places: £6.60 £1.40 £3.10 Exacta: £259.50 Trifecta: £4,274.10