French Made reversed Cheltenham form to land the spoils in the Rathberry & Glenview Studs Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
The Willie Mullins-trained filly had finished behind Gardens Of Babylon and Coeur Sublime when eighth in the Triumph Hurdle on what was only her second start over jumps.
Having learnt from that experience, French Made (6-1) knuckled down at the business to end to score by half a length from Gardens Of Babylon, the pair pulling 14 lengths clear of Coeur Sublime.
“I was hoping that we might get her placed today,” said Mullins.
“Chatting to Ruby before the race, we both thought she stayed and I said ‘if you can get her to jump over the first few hurdles and be up there in the first three’.
“Her form in France showed that she was always staying on and it looked like she wanted a further trip.
“That was the plan and we were hoping she’s stay on to be third or fourth, but she stayed on to win.
“She’s tough and obviously doesn’t need a lot of training because she’s just naturally fit I’d say.
“That opens a lot of doors. We’ll look at Punchestown and she’s one that will definitely go back to France for the meetings in May and June.”
Following the Irish Grand National win of Burrows Saint, Mullins ended the day with a hat-trick courtesy of Golden Spread in the Cawley Furniture (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.
Partnered by Barry O’Neill, the 5-1 shot beat stablemate Mt Leinster by a length and a quarter.
“He’s a lovely, staying horse and he just gallops all day,” said Mullins.
“Barry was wondering if he was going fast enough in front, but every time something came behind him, it just pushed him along. He just galloped to the line.
“He’s one to look forward to as a staying jumper. I think I’ll keep him going. We’ll have a look at Punchestown, I don’t know if it’ll come too soon, but he could go back on the Flat as well.”
Paddy Kennedy got The Holy One home just ahead of his brother Jack on Kuiper Belt in the Farmhouse Foods Novice Handicap Hurdle and then had to survive a stewards’ inquiry.
The Holy One (20-1) took over the lead from Licklighter after the third-last flight, but was hard-pressed on the run-in and Jessica Harrington’s six-year-old was all out to hold on by a neck, with Jon Ess half-a-length away.
“He drifted out a bit, but Paddy said that if he had pulled his stick through he would have hit the other horse,” said Harrington.
“He battled well and I’m delighted with him. I don’t know if the ground was just a bit too sticky for him or what happened in Limerick last time.
“He loves that good ground and he’ll head on to Punchestown now.”
Bottom-weight Maeve’s Choice stuck on well for Bryan Cooper to keep Spades Are Trumps at bay by three-quarters of a length as Matthew Smith’s gelding followed up a recent Ballinrobe success.
Sizing Rome (4-1 favourite) came out on top by a length after a ding-dong battle with Goose Man in the Fred Kenny Lifetime Service To Racing Handicap Chase.
Jim Dreaper’s seven-year-old was driven right out by Keith Donoghue to take the extended three-mile prize and win for the third time in his last four starts.
“It was magic. He’s big, honest, old-fashioned chaser and it took a while for the penny to drop,” said Tom Dreaper, assistant to his father.
“It’s great winning a length from a handicapping point of view. He’s scraped home now a couple of times.
“Today was the plan but we could look at some of the summer nationals as he wants good ground.”