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Special Tiara claims Champion Chase

Special Tiara has claimed an upset win in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham with odds-on favourite Douvan found to be lame after the race in which he finished seventh.

Most racegoers at the second day of the Cheltenham Festival had anticipated a routine success for the 2-9 favourite, who had won his last 14 races in the manner of an untouchable thoroughbred.

It was another blow for trainer Willie Mullins who is yet to trainer a winner at the festival..

“I’d been hoping he’s my best ever and it’s my job to try and get him back if I can,” Mullins said.

Special Tiara dazzled for trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Noel Fehily, who also won the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday with Buveur D’Air.

The 11-1 chance made most of the running and still had enough verve to hold off a late challenge from Fox Norton by a head.

“He seemed in great form coming into it, but it was hard to believe we could win with Douvan as he had looked so good,” de Bromhead said.

“For our lad, he just tries his heart out and no-one deserves it more.”

Gordon Elliott sent out a double on the second day to go with his three winners 24 hours earlier which almost certainly seals the leading trainer title for the four-day meeting.

Elliott was a major beneficiary when owner Michael O’Leary ended his association with Mullins last year and took all his horses from the champion trainer’s stable.

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