Aspire Tower made an impressive start to his jumping career in the Download The BETDAQ App 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown.
Formerly a high-class performer on the Flat for Richard Hannon and latterly Steve Gollings, the son of Born To Sea was the 9-4 favourite on his Irish debut and first appearance for Henry de Bromhead.
Sent straight to the lead by Rachael Blackmore, Aspire Tower showed signs of his inexperience at times, but powered clear in the home straight to score by 13 lengths.
De Bromhead said: “He jumped great and fair play to Rachael for getting him around. It’s tough out there on the inside track as it’s tight and open. He quickened up nicely in the end.
“He ticked a lot of boxes coming to us – he looked a nice horse for one to come off the Flat.
“You couldn’t ask him to do better than what he did there. It was tough for him and Rachael.
“We’ll have a look at Leopardstown at Christmas now. He’s owned by a new client (Brendan McNeill) and we’ll see what everyone wants to do.”
De Bromhead and Blackmore completed a swift double in the following BETDAQ Trading Tools Maiden Hurdle, with 8-1 shot Cavalry Master repelling the late charge of Buddy Rich.
Hot favourite Dlauro – a £410,000 purchase out of the point-to-point field and so impressive in a Punchestown bumper when last seen in competitive action – was bitterly disappointing.
“He jumped brilliant and stayed at it really well – he’s improving all the time,” De Bromhead added.
“The two-and-a-half-mile novice handicap at Leopardstown at Christmas could be a possibility.”
Willie Mullins went one better with a treble on the card, with two of those winners ridden by his nephew, Danny.
Drury (9-2) proved much too strong for her better fancied stablemate Minella Encore (11-8 favourite) I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle, before Salsaretta (9-1) won with plenty in hand on her debut over fences in the BETDAQ Sportsbook Rated Novice Chase.
The champion trainer said of the latter: “She jumped a bit high early on, but once she settled down Danny was very happy with her.
“We’ll look at all the mares’ chases, but she could go against the geldings again if there is nothing there. I’ve no immediate plan.”
The treble was completed in dominant style by 11-10 favourite Aione in the concluding bumper.
Not seen since winning a point-to-point in May 2017, the six-year-old pulled clear under the trainer’s son, Patrick Mullins, in the style of an exciting prospect.
Mullins said: “That’s a really nice horse, a chasing type, who had training difficulties last year and we gave him the season off.
“He will probably go hurdling now as I want to get him jumping fences next year. He gallops and jumps at home. He has a lovely, long stride and will be in the staying division.
“We’ll probably look for a hurdle after Christmas and we’ll see how he does in that.
“Patrick felt he needed that run as well. He took a good blow half a mile out. He’s one to look forward to.”