Espoir D’Allen took advantage of the fall of Saldier at the final flight to land Grade Three honours in the Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas.
Saldier had gone on from long-time leader Mastermind at the second-last, but was being pressed by Espoir D’Allen when he came down.
It was the second time in successive races jockey Ruby Walsh had taken a tumble, following the dramatic exit of Arkle hero Footpad in the previous race.
Espoir D’Allen (3-1) strode away on the run-in for trainer Gavin Cromwell, to score by 11 lengths from Mr Adjudicator.
Cromwell said: “You would love to do it on merit and I don’t know if he’d have won. It was all up in the air.
“He was fit and well, but I really didn’t know coming here was he good enough. I’m delighted with that.
“He’s in the Hatton’s Grace and stays well so I wouldn’t rule it out.
“He hasn’t been seen since February, and it was a case of getting this out of the way and seeing where we were. It’s a fair yardstick in fairness.”
Mullins later told At The Races that Saldier had got a kick on the cheekbone.
He said: “There might be a few bones cracked, we’ve X-rayed it but even if there is cracks there it’s something we might leave alone and let it come right itself.
“He’s sound a well, a little bit dazed, he got a real whack from the horse that was coming behind. It couldn’t be helped.”
Espoir D’Allen was a double on the card for jockey Mark Walsh and owner JP McManus following the victory of the highly-regarded Rhinestone, who made a perfect start over obstacles in the opening hurdle race.
Frank Berry, racing manager to McManus, said of the Joseph O’Brien-trained 8-13 favourite: “Hopefully he’ll come on jumping wise, and he was quite good over the last two.
“They didn’t go mad and it ended up a bit of a sprint. It was a bit messy with the loose horse.
“His bumper form looked quite good at the time, and it’s nice to get that start (over hurdles). He’ll probably be in with the big boys after this.”
Walsh hardly put a foot wrong on the day, winning on three of his six rides and finishing second on two of the others, with all the successes achieved in the McManus silks.
De Name Escapes (5-1) me brought up the rider’s treble in the 30,000 euro Sky Sports Racing Launching In 2019 Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle, for trainer Noel Meade.
Paul Nolan is justifiably hoping Discorama (10-1 into 8-1) is the horse to get him back to the big time after his win at the first time of asking over fences in the Mongey Communications Beginners Chase.
Bryan Cooper’s confidence in Discorama was fully justified as he defeated Gigginstown pair Burgas and Burren Life by a length and a quarter and a short head, in what looked a hot contest.
Nolan said: “We put him in the Drinmore the other day and we don’t think he’ll be out of place in it.”