Snow Falcon completed a big-race double at Down Royal for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan with victory in the MyCarNeedsA.com Chase.
Little over half an hour after pairing up to land the JNwine.com Champion Chase with stable star Road To Respect, the Meade-Flanagan combination was represented by 11-4 chance Snow Falcon, who was last seen landing the Kerry National at Listowel in September.
A strong field of six runners went to post for this Grade Two contest, with Henry de Bromhead’s Monalee the 6-4 favourite ahead of Snow Falcon and Gordon Elliott’s pair of Cheltenham Festival winners in Shattered Love and The Storyteller.
It was clear from some way out only three would be involved in the finish, with Snow Falcon, Monalee and Shattered Love the contenders for victory.
However, Snow Falcon was travelling noticeably the best and while Shattered Love made him work for it after the final fence, there was a length and a half between them at the line.
Meade and Flanagan were completing a treble on the day overall after also landing the Tayto Group Maiden Hurdle with 6-4 favourite Brace Yourself.
Meade said: “It has always been a lucky enough meeting for me since its first inception really. It has always been good to us.
“He (Snow Falcon) is lovely horse and he’s a very genuine horse that has been there or thereabouts. He won the Kerry National and deserved to win a race like that.
“We learned a few things about him and he’s better when he doesn’t run too often and when there is a bit of a dig in the ground.
“He’ll be entered in the big race at Christmas (Leopardstown Christmas Chase) and he’ll be entered in the King George at Kempton and all those races because he does stay three miles.
“He’s entered in the race at Newbury which is now the Ladbrokes Trophy and was the Hennessy. He’ll probably end up with too much weight in that and I wouldn’t be keen to go over there to carry top-weight.
“We’ll give him all the time he needs.”
Golden Spear snapped a losing run dating back over two years with a clear-cut victory in the Billecart-Salmon Handicap Hurdle.
Tony Martin’s charge won valuable Flat handicaps at Galway and Leopardstown in 2016, but has struggled to rediscover that level of form under both codes since.
A runner-up finish in the Cesarewitch Trial at Newmarket on his penultimate start was a step in the right direction, but having finished down the field in the Cesarewitch itself three weeks ago, he was a 12-1 shot on his return to hurdling under 7lb claimer Eoin O’Connell.
The Willie Mullins-trained Shanning was a warm order as the 13-8 favourite following placed efforts in similarly valuable races at Galway and Listowel and she took over from the front-running Scheu Time before the home turn.
However, she was powerless to resist Golden Spear in the straight, who powered clear to claim the 50,000 euro contest by five lengths.
Martin said: “He was deserving of a good pot, he’s been consistent and ran a lovely race in the Cesarewitch in England three weeks ago (finished 11th).
“Prior to that he was second in a (Cesarewitch) trial. He wasn’t beaten too far by two of Willie’s (Mullins) there the last day.
“He has been consistent all his life and has won plenty of good pots. He’s a right little horse and he’s been magic.”
Coeur Sublime (8-11 favourite) made a successful start to his jumping career in the opening Value Cabs 3-Y-O Hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Bryan Cooper.
Elliott said: “We think he’s a nice horse. He’ll come on a ton from the run. You could see he was behind the bridle the whole way and kept picking up.
“He’ll go on anything if it’s not the two extremes – bottomless, heavy ground or too quick. Bryan (Cooper) says it is beautiful ground there.
“Fairyhouse looks the obvious place to go with him. ”
Elliott doubled up in the bumper with point-to-point graduate Malone Road.
Carrying the colours of Cheveley Park Stud, the 4-9 favourite oozed class under Jamie Codd.
Elliott said: “He’s smart, we were happy with what he was doing coming here today. It wasn’t ideal having to make the running but we just said we would keep it simple. He gallops and he is a nice horse.
“You just love the way he quickened going across the road to the line.
“He’ll go for a winners’ bumper somewhere, something like Navan.”
He Knows My Name was a 20-1 winner of the Rainbow Communications Handicap Chase for trainer Keith Watson and jockey Andrew Ring.
The trainer’s son, Marshall Watson, said: “It’s brilliant to have a winner at the festival and I’m delighted for mum and dad.
“We knew coming here she was in great form and there was a few quid on her each way at tasty prices!
“She’s in Market Rasen for a Listed chase on Thursday and we’ll see how she comes out of this and we’ll go from there.”