He quickly reasoned that there was far too much pace on in testing ground and, after being prominent in the early stages, eased Charles Byrnes’ mare back behind horses.
Andrew Leigh sent Knight Legend to the front with well over a circuit to cover and set off like a scalded cat heading out for the final time.
There were plenty who couldn’t wait to go and take him on, as Madden sat quietly, waiting his moment to pounce.
Two from home, Ponmeoath rushed to the front, but was gone in a matter of strides at the back of the obstacle, as Cailin Alainn and Glenfinn Captain, who made a couple of mistakes, eased ahead.
They rose together at the final fence, but Glenfinn Captain blundered badly, Barry Geraghty losing an iron, and the winner soon forged away to score by two lengths.
“I’m delighted, she’s paying her way again”, said Byrnes. “She’s going the right way now and always pulls out something.
“She’s in the Hennessy (Leopardstown), but is unlikely to run, unless the race was to cut up. She could go to Cheltenham for a handicap, although has never enjoyed much luck there.”
Faltering Fullback, odds-on in the morning, went as high as 6-4 on track, before finding lots of supporters into 9-10 for the Moycarkey Hurdle.
He did his job nicely, easing to the front over the third last for Paddy Flood to easily beat front-running Crerum.
“I’ve seen him working better than he has done over the last few weeks”, revealed trainer, Eric McNamara.
“Paddy says he wants an extra half mile and there should a lot of improvement to come. He should have a bright future as a chaser in time.”
Flood went on to complete a double when driving Paul Nolan’s Moskova to victory in the Grade 3 Coolmore National Hunt Sires EBF Mares Novice Chase.
It is all about timing with the grey daughter of Montjeu and Flood got it spot-on, producing her to sweep past the flattering Leanne going to the final fence.
Nolan was represented by his brother, James, who said: “Paddy gave her a peach of a ride. It was nice to see her staying this trip, it opens more doors.”
The opening maiden hurdle didn’t take much winning, with victory going to Tom Taaffe’s Sun Tzu, who beat fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned, Madman.
Davy Russell pushed Taaffe’s charge ahead approaching the home turn and their task was considerably eased when the rallying Madman got it all wrong at the final flight.
“He’s a big, raw baby”, reported Taaffe of his imposing gelding. “He’s from the family of Silver Birch and has improved a little with each run.
“We will give him a little break now and he will then have one or two more runs before being let off until next season.”
Lurgan, who got off the mark over flights at Naas, followed with a game success in the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Novice Hurdle.
Roger Loughran had him in the first two throughout, sending his charge on early in the straight.
Healys Bar closed the leader right down on the run to the line, but was still a short head adrift at the death.
“He’s a three mile horse and we’ll try and find a conditions hurdle for him next,” said Dessie Hughes. “He’s tough and stays and will make a chaser next season.”
John Cullen, who partnered Healys Bar, was suspended for one day, having been found guilty of using his whip with excessive frequency.
John Costello’s Carronhills, in the hands of Nina Carberry, ran away with the Arctic Tack Stud Hunters Chase.
A brilliant leap carried him into the lead four out and, despite being none too clever at the penultimate obstacle, strode right away to win by 20 lengths.
“I couldn’t win a point with the horse last year, but he was immature and seems to be improving”, said Costello. “I’ll try and find another hunters chase for him.”
Afterburn, returned at 10-1, but who attracted a little support at bigger prices in the morning, won the D and S Tarmac Handicap hurdle with a lot in hand.
Beautifully handled by the capable Alain Cawley and in the care of Wickow handler, Daniel Miley, Afterburn strode clear from two out to easily beat Ballysassian.