Lucky William put up a fine display, under a typically powerful Barry Geraghty drive, to win the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown last night.
Geraghty sent Lucky William to the front heading to the last, as Ruby Walsh challenged on Blackstairmountain.
Lucky William did jump a little to his left at the obstacle, but found loads on the flat and was a comfortable length and a half to the good at the line.
A stewards’ inquiry was called into possible interference at the fence, but that really was pointless and there was never the slightest possibility of an alteration to the placings.
Winning trainer, Tom Cooper, said: "He’s a better horse on better ground, but is versatile. I’ve done little with him since he won at Fairyhouse.
"That’s it for the season. It will be tricky with him next season, he’s certainly no Sprinter Sacre."
Davy Russell made it winner number 104 for the season when driving Tony Martin’s Dedigout to a game success in the third Grade 1, the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle.
There were four of them literally in line heading to the final flight, but Dedigout, owned by the Gigginstown House Stud, is made of stern stuff and responded generously to Russell’s driving to go clear of Colour Squadron on the flat and win by a snug two lengths.
Revealed Martin: "I wanted him to run over three miles, but the boss (Michael O’Leary) said two and a half on this ground was far enough.
"He is a lovely horse with which to go chasing next season and will get three miles no problem."
Dedigout landed some tasty wagers, having been on offer as high as 13-2 in the morning and was taken from 9-2 to 100-30 on track.
Nicky Henderson enjoyed a 1-2 when Barry Geraghty, completing a double, guided Oscara Dara to beat Tony McCoy and Malt Master in the Star Best For Racing Coverage Novice Hurdle, after the winner had forged ahead going to the last.
"It is a long way to come to find out which of them was the best", joked Henderson. "If you switched the ground I think you’d switch the placings. They are both chasers for next season."
The Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Fillies Scheme Premier Bumper went to Willie Mullins’ newcomer, Glens Melody, with the trainer also saddling the second and fourth.
Katie Walsh partnered Glens Melody, producing her with a sustained challenge in the straight to score going away by three and a half lengths.
Mullins, enjoying his ninth of the week, said of the winner: "She is a half-sister to Ceol Rua, is a strong filly and obviously handles that ground."
The attendance was 27,219, up from 25,186 last year.
* HRI announced yesterday that there will be an additional fixture at Punchestown on Tuesday (evening), May 8 to form a two-day meeting with their existing card on the Wednesday.