Tornado Flyer maintained his unbeaten record over fences with a battling display in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Klairon Davis Novice Chase at Navan.
Just five runners went to post for the Grade Three feature, with the Willie Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer the 4-5 favourite after making a successful start to his chasing career at Naas last month.
His supporters will have been sweating between the final two fences, with the trainer’s nephew Danny far more animated in the saddle aboard Tornado Flyer than Davy Russell was on the strong-travelling I’m A Game Changer.
However, to his credit, the market leader responded to his rider’s urgings to bridge the gap and after jumping the final obstacle upsides, Tornado Flyer pulled four lengths clear on the run-in.
“He was always going to be a class horse. Willie said, ‘just keep you powder dry early on’,” said Danny Mullins.
“For a race of that class they probably didn’t go that much of a gallop for the first half-mile and he was caught a little bit flat footed off the hill.
“Once I got him balanced down to the last I knew he’d have a good jump in him and he put it to bed nicely then.”
The Jam Man was a shock winner of the 80,000 euro eCOMM Merchant Solutions Handicap Hurdle.
Much of the pre-race attention was on Noel Meade’s high-class chaser Tout Est Permis, who appeared thrown in back over the smaller obstacles and was the 6-4 favourite as a result.
Despite having won his last three starts at Southwell, Cartmel and Newton Abbot, The Jam Man was a widely unconsidered 33-1 shot under Sean Flanagan, but finished strongly to beat the market leader by three lengths.
Winning trainer Ronan McNally said: “This sounds stupid, but I looked at Paisley Park’s form last year and he was rated 140 starting off the season and I thought, ‘if I aim him (The Jam Man) at a good pot or two and he wins, he’s a Stayers’ Hurdle horse’.
“He seems to be able to travel and then he has gears at the end of three miles. He’s won nine for me and he’s only six – he’s awesome.
“I’ll probably go to England for one of those trials. It might sound stupid thinking of the Stayers’ Hurdle and he could go for a Pertemps (final) or something like that, but you can dream anyway.”
Gordon Elliott’s Goffs Land Rover Bumper winner Felix D’ex (5-4 favourite) made a successful start to his jumping career in the Kells Maiden Hurdle in the hands of Davy Russell.
“He’s a grand horse. He doesn’t do anything fancy at home, but he does all his running on the track,” said Elliott.
“I’d say a step up in trip will suit him and we’ll probably keep it small with him and see.”
Longhouse Poet justified even-money favouritism in the Hotel Park St Johann Tirol Austria Maiden Hurdle for Martin Brassil and leading amateur Derek O’Connor.
Brassil said: “He looks to be a nice horse. Hopefully we’ll find out a bit more when he steps into something else.
“We’ll probably make an entry anyway in the Grade One at Naas.”
Philip Dempsey and Mark Walsh combined to land the John Lynch Carpets Beginners Chase with the JP McManus-owned Ten Ten (9-2) – and the leading owner doubled up in the following Foxrock Handicap Chase with 6-1 shot Minella Times.
Henry de Bromhead’s charge got the better of Ben Dundee by three-quarters of a length, providing Rachael Blackmore with her first win in the famous green and gold silks.
“I’m delighted with that. Rachael was brilliant on him, he jumped great and really toughed it out at the end,” said De Bromhead.
Wide Receiver – a £410,000 purchase after winning a point-to-point in February – made a winning debut under rules for Elliott and Lisa O’Neill in the concluding bumper.
Elliott said: “He was bought to be a good horse. He’s raw and he doesn’t do much at home.
“He’s a horse for next year, he won’t do much more this year, and he’s a horse we’ll mind to go jumping next year. He’s a big raw horse.
“Lisa said she was never going to get beat, but he was very green – he’s a baby.”