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Cheltenham Festival: Imperial Aura powers to Northern Trust Company Handicap Chase glory

Imperial Aura
Image: Imperial Aura jumps the last clear on his way to winning at the Cheltenham Festival

Imperial Aura justified strong market support to win the Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase for Kim Bailey and David Bass.

Second twice at Cheltenham already this season, he was sent off the 4-1 joint-favourite and stayed on powerfully up the hill.

For the second time in the afternoon Davy Russell turned into the straight with a double handful - this time on Galvin - but once more he had to settle for second best on the other market leader.

Imperial Aura relished the climb to the line, pulling three-and-a-quarter lengths clear. Hold The Note was third at 10/1 with Whatmore (16/1) back in fourth.

Trainer Bailey said: "It's a huge relief as the anticipation has been quite high. He's owned by a big syndicate and it's great for them - they've been very excited.

"Today has been the goal all season and it's come off. We've felt all along this was his race.

"We had to run here last time, even though we knew he wasn't 100 per cent right. We knew he was going to improve hugely ahead of today and he's gone and done it.

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"I hope he'll go on to be a graded horse. He is only a baby still and he jumps very well.

"It was a bold decision to go over fences when he had a very good hurdle career ahead of him, but he's a chaser not a hurdler."

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