Cap York claimed top honours in the MansionBet “GetItReady” For Cheltenham Leinster National at Naas.
A field of 14 runners went to post for the 100,000 euro handicap chase, with the Noel Meade-trained Cap York one of five carrying the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.
The 11-1 shot had failed to trouble the judge on his last three outings, but was clearly on a going day on this occasion under 7lb claimer Eoin Walsh, moving up to challenge for the lead early in the home straight.
Cheb De Kerviniou proved the biggest threat to Meade’s charge after the final fence, but Cap York was well on top as he passed the post a length and a half to the good.
Mon Lino was third, with 2018 Irish Grand National hero General Principle fourth.
Meade said: “He has loads of ability, but he can get himself out of a race and just switch off a bit. I told Eoin to try and get away quick and give him plenty of encouragement and he did.
“That’s his first win over fences, so it’s a nice race to break his duck in. The obvious race to go to now is the Irish National, and I’d say that’s where he’ll go.”
Meade came close to completing a double in the following Irish Racing Writers Kingsfurze Novice Hurdle, but his 7-4 favourite Beacon Edge was mowed down late by 7-2 chance Cedarwood Road – representing trainer Gearoid O’Loughlin and jockey Davy Russell.
O’Loughlin was delighted with the neck victory, which vindicated his decision to skip Cheltenham this week with his improving five-year-old.
“It’s easy to say now, but it was the right decision not to go to the Supreme with him,” he said.
“He’s a work in progress, and that is the first time he has come off the bridle.
“I guarantee he will have learned a lot from today. He might not run again this season, and it will be Punchestown if he does. He’s a horse with a big future.
“He’s 17 hands, and we’ll take our time with him. It’s my first Listed winner, and I’m delighted to have a horse like him.”
The Willie Mullins-trained Royal Rendezvous came out on top in a thrilling three-way finish to the Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase.
There was little to choose between Royal Rendezvous (9-4), Ministerforsport (6-1) and 11-10 favourite Gallant John Joe as the post loomed, but the former was in front where it mattered – landing the Grade Three prize a short-head under Mullins’ nephew, Danny.
The champion trainer’s assistant David Casey said: “They didn’t go overly fast, but he jumped well and was brave at the end.
“We might have a look at something in Aintree. The owners would like to have a runner there.”
Henry de Bromhead and Robbie Power combined to win the Enjoy The Cheltenham Festival With MansionBet Beginners Chase, as 2-5 favourite Capuccimix scored by 11 lengths without being extended.
“I’m delighted, and he did it really nicely,” said De Bromhead.
“Maybe we’ll look at the novice handicap chase in Fairyhouse, or something along those lines.”