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The Queen Mother Champion Chase always promised to be a thriller and racing fans were treated to a heart-stopping finish as Edredon Bleu put in a terrific effort to get back up on the line to deprive Direct Route.

Tony McCoy's mount showed guts above and beyond the call of duty as he fought tenaciously to land the spoils in the two mile showpiece by the shortest of margins.

The fast ground specialist set off in his customary front-running style with Flagship Uberalles tracking.

Irish interest was virtually ended when Nordance Prince took a crashing fall four out, badly hampering Jessica Harrington's Space Trucker.

It soon developed into a three-horse race with Edredon Bleu leading Flagship Uberalles and Direct Route.

A mistake two out by Flagship Uberalles took him off the bridle and the three settled down to battle it out.

Flagship Uberalles was beginning to find it all to much coming to the last and Direct Route lept into the lead over the final fence.

But Tony McCoy is not known to give up too easily and he had a more than willing accomplice. The two dug deep down in the final strides to record a stunning triumph for trainer Henrietta Knight and owner Jim Lewis.

Knight said: 'This was the one race we had in mind for him all year after we were beaten into second in the race last year.

'But I didn't see a thing, I didn't watch him jump a single fence.

'I sat behind a number board and didn't know what had happened until they announced a photo-finish!

'I thought we were going to be second again and it was great when they announced that number three had won.'

For Direct Route it was the second time he had been narrowly beaten in a Grade One race this season, the gelding having been beaten a neck by Flagship Uberalles in the Tingle Creek at Sandown in December.

Trainer Howard Johnson said: 'The Tingle Creek and now this. 'He's better on a flat track so he'll go to Liverpool and then in a field if he wins there.

'Although Norman thought he was never in front I thought he went a neck up but I'm happy.

'He's the best horse in the yard and he's unlucky not to have won.'

Flagship Uberalles, the 11-10 favourite, could not quicken with the front two and finished six lengths further back in third.

His trainer Paul Nicholls said: 'Joe thought the ground was just a bit quick for him and as it was the fastest he has ever raced on but I'm delighted with him as it would have suited the other two horses better than him.

'He's only six and he'll be back next year. However, he may go to Aintree next for the two and a half mile chase there.'

The hill held no fears for Lord Noelie (9/2) who stayed on best of all to take the SunAlliance Chase - landing a big race double for Henrietta Knight in the process.

Stamina won the day for the son of Lord Americo who out pointed Alexander Banquet and Toto Toscato in a three-way battle after the last.

King's Road led the pack early as Irish favourite Native Upmanship (4-1) was settled out the back by Conor O'Dwyer.

The race began in earnest five from home when Toto Toscato and Soldat took them along.

Lord Noelie travelled well in behind approaching the fourth last while Alexander Banquet was off the bridle and Native Upmanship improved to chase the leaders.

Two from home there were four in contention with Toto Toscato leading the way from Lord Noelie, Alexander Banquet and the improving Native Upmanship.

Native Upmanship's could find no extra coming to the last and Lord Noelie came to challenge on the inner with Alexander Banquet on the outside of Toto Toscato.

The hill proved a bridge too far for the game Toto Toscato who could not hold the challenge of Lord Noelie and he eventually lost second as well to Alexander Banquet.

'This is the day of my life, winning two such important races.' said Knight afterwards.

'It was obvious from Sunday that the ground was going to be in his favour. He must have decent ground to jump off.'

'He's not the cleverest horse on his feet and hasn't been the easiest to teach to jump. The hills here didn't suit him because he's immature and gangly but we have given him lots of jumping.' Knight revealed that the Aintree Grand National could be a long-term objective for the winner.

'This brings thoughts of lots of things, including the Grand National. He'll stay all day and is very honest. We'll consider running him at Aintree next month because he loves this spring ground.'