Outlander provided 17-year-old jockey Jack Kennedy with the biggest winner of his career in a thrilling Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
Approaching the final fence, three Gigginstown House Stud-owned runners were in a line, with Bryan Cooper's chosen mount Valseur Lido ahead of Outlander and Don Poli.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 28, 2016
However, Valseur Lido's stamina gave way and while Ruby Walsh conjured a late run out of Djakadam, it was only good enough for third place as last year's winner Don Poli stuck on for second to give trainer Gordon Elliott a one-two in the Grade One.
Elliott had intended to run Outlander (8-1) in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day but made a late switch when Thistlecrack, the eventual winner, was announced as a runner.
It proved an inspired move as he produced a career-best effort on what was his fifth start of the season since leaving Willie Mullins.
— Leopardstown RC (@LeopardstownRC) December 28, 2016
Second behind Djakadam in the John Durkan at Punchestown, he improved for the three-mile trip and provided the winning owners with a third successive victory in the Lexus after Road To Riches in 2014 and Don Poli last season.
Elliott was just as pleased with Don Poli, who was beaten just two and a quarter lengths, after having previously shown no enthusiasm at all on his first run for the yard at Down Royal.
Djakadam was another head back in third.
Others to run better than their finishing positions might suggest were More Of That and Smashing, who both showed up well for long periods.