JOHN QUINN declared his delight at Cockney Sparrow’s fifth-placed finish in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle - as the mighty mare Quevega made history by winning the race at the Cheltenham Festival for the sixth straight year.

The North Yorkshire trainer’s fiveyear- old was in touch throughout the two and a half mile contest but was hampered when French filly Sirene D’Ainay took a tumble at the second last.

Champion jockey AP McCoy, on board Cockney Sparrow, felt the evasive action he had to take cost him at least a place.

But Norton-based Quinn, who was trying his mare over the distance for the first time, said: “We were very pleased. AP was adamant that when the French filly fell it definitely cost him a place.

“When I looked at it first time, I didn’t really take it in but when AP got off her he said ‘I’d have been third or fourth’. We would have been over the moon but we are still pleased and she’s in one piece. She is only a five-year-old. “She’s a filly out of her novice season and she jumped well.

“Looking at the race, you would have to say she stayed and (being able to run over) two-and-a-quarter and two-and-a-half miles opens up other avenues for us.”

On the 8-11 winner Quevega, Quinn added: “She’s a phenomenal animal.”