Diamond King, who joined Gordon Elliott's yard in the autumn, triumphed at the Home of Jump Racing when landing today's Coral Cup.
The eight-year-old, who was formerly trained by Donald McCain, is owned by Diana and Grahame Whateley and was ridden today by Davy Russell. A 12/1 shot, he won by one and a quarter lengths and a neck from Long House Hall and Ubak, with Blazer half a length back in fourth.
Elliott, who has gradually become the second most powerful trainer in Ireland behind Willie Mullins, has now saddled six winners at The Festival. He suffered a blow when a horse he trains, No More Heroes, suffered an injury when landing over the final fence in the previous race, the RSA Chase.
Reflecting on that Elliott said: "No More Heroes has gone to veterinary hospital, so while it doesn't look too good we are hopeful he will be okay. It's very unfortunate, and then you have a winner - that's the highs and lows of racing.
"This is great for Grahame and Diana Wateley - the horse jumped well and did everything right so we're delighted with him. He's a chaser in the making. Hopefully he will be back here next year.
"Every horse is an individual, but we got to know him when he joined the yard, and he certainly likes this better ground. This is his trip. We'll talk to the owners, but Aintree and Punchestown will be looked at."
DIAMOND SPARKLES FOR DAVY
Davy Russell's victory on the Gordon Elliott-trained Diamond King was the jockey's 16th Festival winner.
The pair were sent off at odds of 12-1, and won by a length and a quarter.
Russell said: "All credit to Gordon, he got him here in tip-top shape. He's a master of his trade and that makes it easy to ride [the horses]. To be honest I didn't expect I'd be here and I'm over the moon to be.
"My lad travelled and jumped very well, and he filled all the gaps for me. I had a smooth run, as much as you can expect - it was a bit of a stop-start race, but nothing that you wouldn't be used to. I always had enough horse. He flew the last and was spot on a long way out.
"He's trained by a very shrewd man; he's one of the top trainers in Ireland.
"It's more than good to win one - it's the pinnacle; this is a gold medal."
UBAK BACK TO HIS BEST OVER HURDLES
The Gary Moore-trained 28/1 shot Ubak finished a creditable third to winner Diamond King in the Coral Cup, the third race on Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival.
Having reverted back to hurdles last time following a disappointing chasing campaign, Ubak travelled well under Joshua Moore before getting slightly outpaced to finish third. The eight-year-old's jockey said: "I think he just got outpaced up the hill towards the finish. He was caught a little bit for toe as he is a bit slow and the others quickened better than him."
Moore added: "He travelled up really well and looked to have a chance of winning but just did not quicken."
A neck ahead of Ubak was the Dan Skelton-trained Long House Hall who finished best of the placed runners to finish second. Blazer ran well to finish fourth for Willie Mullins and J P McManus.
2.50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 1) Diamond King (Diana Whateley) Gordon Elliott IRE 8-11-03 Davy Russell 12/1 2) Long House Hall (J D Duggan) Dan Skelton 8-10-08 Harry Skelton 16/1 3) Ubak (Nick Peacock) Gary Moore 8-10-12 Joshua Moore 28/1 4) Blazer (J P McManus) Willie Mullins IRE 5-10-09 Barry Geraghty 8/1
15/2 Fav Rock The Kasbah (22nd)
Distances: 1¼, nk, ½ 6th win at The Festival for trainer Gordon Elliott 16th win at The Festival for jockey Davy Russell BetBright Cup latest - GREAT BRITAIN - 5; IRELAND - 5
The Coral Cup is a handicap hurdle run over 2m5f on the Wednesday of the Cheltenham Festival.
Auz Ptits Soins won this for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston Davies in 2015.
Whisper landed this for trainer Nicky Henderson in 2014 before following up in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle on Grand National Day.
8 of the last 10 winners gave been double figure odds with Medinas returned at 33-1 in 2013.
Coral Cup Stats 2005-2014
Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell are the leading jockeys with 2 wins each
The Pipe yard have won the race 3 times but not since 2002
6 of the last 10 winners won last time out
Fate of the favourite F 0 0 1 0 0 2/7 0 5 3
Market Position of winner 4 4 2 5 6 7 7 0 5 2
Second season hurdlers have a good strike rate
Winners have been in a ratings band from 128-153
Irish trained have a very good record
Coral Cup Winners 2006- 2015
About the Coral Cup The Coral Cup is one of the newer contests at The Festival, having been introduced in 1993, but is well established as one of the season's most competitive handicaps. The first winner, Olympian, picked up a £50,000 bonus having won the Imperial Cup at Sandown Park the previous weekend. The bonus was put up by Sunderlands, bookmaking sponsor of the Imperial Cup, to any horse that won the Sandown race and went on to success in any contest at The Festival. Paddy Power, the Imperial Cup's current sponsor, is offering a £75,000 bonus to any horse that completes the double this year.
Coral Cup Weights Sky's The Limit carried 11st 12lb to victory in 2006, while Burntoakboy had 9st 12lb on his back (including Sam Jones' 5lb claim) when winning in 2007.
Coral Cup Multiple Winners No horse has been successful in the Coral Cup more than once.
Coral Cup Top Trainer Martin Pipe is the leading trainer in the contest, having scored three times with Olympian (1993), Big Strand (1997) and Ilnamar (2002). Among current trainers, Edward O'Grady (Time For A Run 1994 & Sky's The Limit 2006) and Philip Hobbs (What's Up Boys 2000 & Monkerhostin 2004) lead the way.
Coral Cup Overseas Winners Irish-trained horses have won the race on seven occasions, most recently with Carlito Brigante in 2011.
Coral Cup Betting Medinas (2013) , What's Up Boys (2000) and Idole First (2005) scored at 33/1 and they are the longest-priced winners, while Olympian (1993) and Xenophon (2003) were successful at 4/1, the shortest-priced scorers, and they are also the only two favourites to have obliged.
Coral Cup Trivia The 2008 winner Naiad Du Misselot was the first Festival scorer to succeed by the then recently-introduced new distance of a nose.The fastest time in the 18 runnings was set in 2000 by What's Up Boys, who scored in 4m 53.8s, beating the previous best of 4m 57.0s set by Big Strand in 1997.