Latest Exhibition wore down the unbeaten Andy Dufresne on the dash to the line to spring a surprise in the Navan Novice Hurdle at the County Meath course.
Paul Nolan’s six-year-old had made a bad mistake down the back straight, but quickly got his jumping back on track.
In the meantime, Andy Dufresne was bowling along in front, but the 1-3 hotpot did not jump the third-last accurately and that let in Bryan Cooper to make his move on Latest Exhibition.
A fine leap two out put the 9-2 shot in with every chance and he asserted on the run-in to land the Grade Two prize by two and a quarter lengths. Conflated was four and a half lengths away in third place, with Sixshooter last of the four.
Nolan said: “Brian said he nearly went down the back straight when he left his legs in a hurdle. It’s nice to be able to recover from that mistake and they went at it plenty early.
“He went up alongside turning in and stayed on well. Stamina is definitely his forte and that’s the way he’s bred as well.
“The plan going out was to keep it simple. We were hoping that one of them would make it and we’d just track them. I thought the last day it turned into a bit of a sprint and it didn’t suit him.”
Nolan has a Grade One contest at Leopardstown as the next calling point for Latest Exhibition.
“He’s gutsy and hopefully he’ll kick on now. The Lawlor’s in Naas is probably coming a bit soon now and maybe he could go for the two-mile-six-furlong Grade One at Leopardstown,” said the County Wexford handler.
“We probably ran him a bit quick the last day and it doesn’t work out. We’ll make a plan for him now, with the aim being Cheltenham. The Albert Bartlett could be the long-term aim.
“He probably learned a good bit from the last day as well. Rachael (Blackmore) said he was quite babyish and didn’t know how to race.
“It’s great for myself and Bryan. He’s a multiple Grade One-winning rider, but we all need ammunition. Everyone is in the same situation.”
Latest Exhibition was given quotes of 16-1 for the Albert Bartlett and 20-1 for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Paddy Power. RaceBets went 22-1 for the Albert Bartlett and 14-1 for the Ballymore.
Gordon Elliott felt Andy Dufresne did not run to his best.
“I don’t think he finished his race out. From the last to the line he was up and down in the one spot and the third horse got too close to him,” he said.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the winner – he was very good. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”