Callherwhatulike struck for home a long way out - over the fifth last - but had no more to give rising to the final fence, as the principals forged on.
They went toe-to-toe all the way up the run in with Notre Pere just lasting it out the better. The winner was partnered by Andrew Lynch, replacing Robbie Power, who was stood down for 21 days with concussion the previous day after suffering a fall off Chelsea Harbour in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase.
“The ground was quick for him, but it was a big race and we let him take his chance”, said trainer, Jim Dreaper.
“He’s a natural jumper and a very intelligent horse. I have young horses at home who would beat him in a bit of work, but morning glories are no good, you have to do it after lunch.
“I don’t know where he will go next, it is so long since I had a Grade 1 horse I don’t even knows the names of the races!
“He will be entered for all the good staying novice chases and is a horse who would stay four miles.”
Michael Bowe isn’t just a terrific trainer, he is also a man who clearly thinks things through and his decision to hold onto Sweet Kiln in the Grade 2 woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle paid a rich dividend.
She nearly always makes the running, but Tom Doyle cleverly dropped her in to conserve energy over this testing three miles.
It worked a treat, as Sweet Kiln swept up to cut down a gallant Sonnyanjoe two from home. The winner was a trifle awkward at the last, but was never going to get beaten, giving Doyle a first ever success at Leopardstown in the process.
Commented Bowe: “I discussed the race with Tom and we decided two weeks ago on a change of tactics.
“If ever a horse deserved to a win a race like that it is her. We were guaranteed a good gallop and she settled great, she’s a real stayer.
“Naas in mid-January and the Boyne Hurdle (Navan) in February are there for her. But the race I would really love to run her in is the new mares event at Cheltenham”, for which Cashmans gave the eight-year-old a quote of 6-1.
Streets Of Gold beat Deutschland half a length in the Star Best For Racing Coverage Handicap Hurdle, but the stewards reversed the placings.
They inquired into an incident before the last, in which Streets Of Gold may have marginally taken the second’s ground.
Having seen the head-on, it was of no consequence and has to be termed a disgraceful decision. Should connections of Streets Of Gold decide to appeal it should take about five minutes to set the record straight. Deutschland was completing a double for Ruby Walsh.
Made In Taipan, who has been threatening for a little while, did the business in the O’Dwyers’ Stillorgan Orchard Maiden Hurdle.
He made every yard of the running, under another particularly good Davy Russell drive. Fantoche tried to close heading to the final flight, but Russell had saved plenty to score by a length and three parts.
Commented trainer, Tom Mullins: “He’s a horse who hangs when going right-handed. We took the opportunity to travel left here and Davy said he was 95% better. I have no plans, but he has a chasing pedigree and that will be his game.”
Mullins landed a double with the impressive newcomer, Time Electric, in the Bumper. A massive morning-price gamble at 10-1, returned 6-4, he scored with any amount in hand.
Major Sensation, trained by Arthur Moore for J P McManus, landed a tasty touch in the Mongey Communications Novice Handicap Hurdle.
Backed from 10-1 to 11-2, he found plenty for maximum David Casey pressure to hold Sandymount Earl on the run in.
Tony Martin’s Drumconvis was a big morning-price gamble from 10-1. He was light enough on track, however, 9-2 from 3-1.
Drumconvis was struggling coming away from the third last, well off the pace, but did finish to some effect to be nearest at the end.