The Michael Hourigan-trained gelding was held up at the back of the six-runner Grade One contest, and Murphy was still taking a pull tracking the 9-4 favourite Kicking King, who had gone on four out, at the second-last.
Murphy waited until after the final fence before making a move, and sprinted to the front inside the final 50 yards to win cosily by half a length.
“He’s been a consistent horse all season, was fresh coming here and is really suited by two and a half miles,”
The winner had been entered in this week’s sales at Cheltenham and was scheduled to travel over last night. However his win yesterday may have earned him a reprieve and, if so, he could be heading to the Punchestown festival.
Nil Desperandum, having his first run since taking the Grade One Drinmore Chase over course and distance last November, could find no extra approaching the last to finish third, while Mossy Green was up with the pace when falling seven out.
Hourigan later completed a big-race double when newcomer Arteea ran out a convincing winner of the Goffs Land Rover Bumper in the hands of Mark O’Hare.
“He was bought for €31,000 with this race in mind. He hasn’t missed a day’s work since Christmas and, while I didn’t think he’d win, I felt he would run well,” said the Limerick trainer.
Kicking King’s rider Barry Geraghty quickly gained compensation when landing the €65,000 Menolly Homes Handicap Hurdle aboard Macs Joy.
Jessica Harrington’s charge, controversially demoted for interference after winning at Leopardstown last time, and Tiger Cry battled it out in the straight with the well-backed 7-2 favourite getting on top to score by a length and a half.
“We had to miss out the County Hurdle at Cheltenham as he was well out of the handicap, and he didn’t go to Aintree because he had a bit of a dirty nose,” said Mrs Harrington.
“Barry said he was always travelling well today, and we’ll either go to Punchestown for a handicap or a novice or maybe the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock.”
Willie Mullins sent out his second Grade Two winner of the three-day Easter Festival meeting when Royal Alphabet justified odds-on favouritism in the Menolly Homes Novice Hurdle over two miles.
Snapper Creek built up a long lead at halfway, and was still about 10 lengths clear at the home turn.
However, David Casey never panicked on the 8-11 winner success, and eventually wore down the pacemaker on the run-in for a length and a half success.
“Snapper Creek got a free run in front, and I didn’t think we could win at halfway,” admitted Mullins, who was also on the mark here on Sunday with Sadlers Wings.
“David had to go for him sooner than we hoped, and I’m delighted with the way he stayed.
“He’s a two-miler, and will go for the Grade One Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, while he could also go for the Emo Oil Champion Hurdle there three days later.”