Thosedaysaregone justified market confidence as he landed the Ladbrokes Hurdle for Charles Byrnes – giving the trainer a third successive win in the race.
Available at 25-1 overnight, he was sent off a 7-1 chance but looked to have a mountain to climb approaching the last.
Buildmeupbuttercup had travelled sweetly into contention and then Eglantine Du Seuil emerged from the pack, but Kevin Brouder was getting a rousing run from Thosedaysaregone and he flew home to win by a length and a quarter at the finish.
Golden Jewel was second with You Raised Me Up third.
Byrnes said: “Dromlease Express won the race 16 years ago ridden by Johnny Allen, who is now champion jockey in Australia, and Off You Go won it the previous two years. They are all two-and-a-half-mile horses and that’s what you need for the race.
“I was going to go to Ascot but the English handicapper stuck him up 6lb for no reason, so I said I’d stay at home then.
“I thought if he was close enough coming to the last that he would be hard to beat. He loves nice ground as well, which was a plus.
“We’ll consider something like the Coral Cup and there is a big bonus there now, so that would twist my arm towards that race.
“He’s already won a chase so he can mix it in the future with handicap chases and hurdles.”
Willie Mullins’ Appreciate It is now 3-1 for the Champion Bumper with Betfair after he strolled to success in the Goffs Future Stars (C&G) I.N.H. Flat Race.
Well supported into 11-10 favouritism, Patrick Mullins never had a moment of anxiety, winning by seven and a half lengths from Risk Factor, a stablemate of Eric Bloodaxe, who disappointed but was reported to feel lame on pulling up by his rider.
“It was very impressive. The way he put away a field of what looked the best bumper horses in Ireland did surprise me, but Patrick had way more confidence in him than I had,” said Mullins.
“He was keen on him all the time. I thought it was a very tough race.
“I wasn’t as worried about the trip as a lot of people were. It so happened it was a two-and-a-half-mile bumper at Christmas that he ran in. He didn’t need the trip then, he’s fast enough.
“He looked like a Cheltenham type for me anyway. It was a very good performance and I’m very pleased.”
Eclair De Beaufeu made his first start in a handicap over fences a winning one when quickening up smartly to win the Matheson Handicap Chase.
A decent hurdler, he had kept good company over fences since winning at Wexford in October for Gordon Elliott.
As ever in such a competitive race, there were a handful still in with chances jumping the last, including Paloma Blue and Charlie Stout.
However, Eclair De Beaufeu quickly went a couple of lengths clear on landing under Sean O’Keeffe, who took off a valuable 5lb, and the 8-1 chance had two and a half lengths in hand of Paloma Blue at the line.
“It’s great to get a winner. I knew today was going to be a tough day – we had a few each-way chances,” said Elliott.
“He tried Graded company and wasn’t good enough, so it’s nice to win a good handicap.
“I’d also like to say a big well done to Olly Murphy who trained his first Grade One winner today with Itchy Feet at Sandown.
“We’re still good friends and I’ll give him a ring later.”