Mystical Breeze made a brave attempt to complete a hat-trick and was in front into the straight.
But Shay Barry soon had Gusda hitting top gear and the winner surged past going to the last to score going away by seven lengths.
Said Fenton: “He’s been very, very consistent. When the handicapper catches up with him I’m sure he will go and jump a fence.”
The stewards, however, inquired into the apparent improvement in form of Gusda, compared to his previous run at Punchestown.
Fenton said that the reapplication of a tongue-strap and blinkers helped his horse return to form, He also said Gusda had benefited from a recent wind operation. The explanation was accepted.
Jimmy Mangan, currently on the easy-list, having pulled a tendon in one of his legs, missed seeing Alpine Glade land the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle.
Lilywhitedancer slipped ahead at half way, but had no answer to the winner, once Tom Doyle asked her to buckle down coming away from the second last.
Mangan was represented by his brother, John, who said: “She will stick to mares races over hurdles.”
In-form Doyle went on to complete a double on Tom Nagle’s The Bishop Looney in the first division of the Maiden Hurdle.
This tough and progressive sort was making his debut over jumps, but did the job nicely, easing past the flattering Bangonform between the last two to score with plenty in hand.
Commented Nagle: “We will try and find a winners of one. He’s young, but Tom says he will want three miles in time.”
The second division of the same contest was won in fine style by the Eugene O’Sullivan-trained Part Presenting.
Capably handled by Tom Ryan, Part Presenting edged ahead going to two out to easily beat hot-pot, Bring On Rocket.
Said O’Sullivan: “The further and the higher the better for this horse. He will stay over hurdles for this season, but anything at that game will be a bonus. He will go chasing next season.”
The son of Presenting is owned by the Ever Hopeful Syndicate, comprising five Cork city-based doctors.
All the evens about Bring On Rocket disappeared in the morning and he was odds-on at the track. He held every chance, but was never going to reel in the winner.
The third division went to Ollie McKiernan’s Healys Bar, who came home 25 lengths to the good.
That told little of the story, however, because Mouse Morris’ newcomer, Beckett Rock, was challenging strongly when falling at the penultimate obstacle.
Reported McKiernan: “He strengthened up over the summer and should make a chaser, he’s big enough.”
John Kiely’s Candy Creek made an impressive debut in the Bumper when outclassing her rivals.
Partnered by David Kiely, no relation to the trainer, she swept up to lead over a furlong down to score unextended by four lengths.
The rider (17) comes from Stradbally, Co Waterford and was having his first ride on the track. His previous experience totalled just three spins in point-to-points.
Robin du Bois, abent since March, made a winning reappearance in the Mitchelstown Hurdle.
Tony Martin’s charge was always travelling sweetly and only had to be pushed out hands and heels by Robbie Colgan to ease past front-running Copsiano from the final flight.
Lounaos, who had been struggling for a bit of form and could only manage fifth of six, has been retired by trainer, Eoin Griffin.