Willie Mullins notched up his 80th Cheltenham festival winner when Sir Gerhard romped home to win the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle in the opening race on Wednesday.
"A nice way to do it," Mullins told ITV, after winning the race for the fifth time.
"I think Richard (Thompson) got the full pleasure out of it today, standing out on a wet lawn with his family with the rain teeming down. What better way to celebrate a Cheltenham winner?
"It wasn't that he was really pulling. He just grabbed the bit, and he was keen with [Paul Townend]. He felt that he'd probably drop him in a little bit more the next day over that sort of a trip.
"He felt that he had huge speed. He's left us in a dilemma next year whether to go novice chasing or maybe go back to the Champion Hurdle - that's where we are."
Sir Gerhard wins the Ballymore at Cheltenham
🔴🔵 Sir Gerhard delivers for favourite backers in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle @CheltenhamRaces
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 16, 2022
"We love the rain!" Sir Gerhard jockey Paul Townend declared after the race.
"He showed his class to be as keen as he was and to stay going. I was afraid going around that we were in the wrong race! Willie knows where he's at.
"It's the best he's ever jumped on course. He has a brilliant jump in him. His jumping the last day [at Leopardstown] wasn't great but at least he done it there, and we had something to work on at home."
Townend added that, "without a doubt" he was glad to ride one of his many short-priced favourites to victory.
"I wasn't great company last night!" said the Corkman.
Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile