Victory went to the imposing Philip Fenton-trained Last Instalment, who had to dig deep to beat the equally promising ex-pointer, Terence O’Brien’s Farrells Fancy.
Last Instalment was given a tremendous drive by Brian O’Connell. Always near the front, he went on going to two out.
A superb jumper, he winged the last two, but was all out near the line, as Farrells Fancy closed with every stride. “It is all about education and experience for him”, said Fenton. “He will have one more run, at either Fairyhouse or Punchestown, if the ground is suitable, and will be going chasing next season.”
Farrells Fancy, a dual winner between the flags, is clearly a horse with a bright future. He is owned by the Beir Bua Syndicate, one of whose members is the Cork football manager, Conor Counihan.
Meanwhile, Fenton said that Dunguib, disappointing in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, had a minor problem on his return in that his blood wasn’t one hundred per cent.
He is “bouncing” now, however, and on schedule for Punchestown, but could well step up to three miles for the first time.
Last Instalment is owned by the Gigginstown House Stud and they doubled up with Mr Cracker in the Grade 2 Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase.
The Anshan gelding made every yard of the running for Adrian Heskin and had this in the bag a fair way out. Trainer, Michael Hourigan, said: “He goes really well for Adrian and the Power Gold Cup at Fairyhouse will be next.”
Another very much for the notebook is the Dermot Weld trained Waaheb, who toyed with the opposition on the way to landing the Listed Kevin McManus Bookmaker Bumper.
Taken wide for the most part by Robbie McNamara, he cruised clear in the straight to score hard-held by an unflattering seven lengths.
Waaheb is owned by Weld’s son, Kris, who commented: “Robbie said he hated the ground and, all being well, it will be the Champion Bumper at Punchestown next.”
Charles Byrnes’ Jack Cool found loads for Barry Geraghty pressure to beat heavily-backed Gift Of Dgab in the Ladies Go Free Hurdle.
“Barry thought he was going nowhere three out, but he finds a lot that fellow”, said Byrnes.
Ruby Walsh committed Gift Of Dgab over the fifth last, but the favourite could not hold the persistent challenge of the winner and there was three and a half lengths between them at the line.
“He will go summer jumping and for a beginners chase after Punchestown”, continued Byrnes.
Total Reality justified favouritism with a decisive seven lengths success in the Racing In Red Maiden Hurdle.
He looked to be in a spot of bother downhill to the straight, but soon picked up in style for the capable Keith Donoghue and quickly surged clear.
Trainer, Denis Cullen, reported: “He’s been knocking on the door, but has been on the go for a long time and will have one more run before being let off.”
Dessie Hughes continued on his merry winning way when Quiet Thought battled on strongly to beat Run For Sol in the Student Raceday April 5th Mares’ Hurdle.
The daughter of Bob Back was given a fine drive by Bryan Cooper, a young man with a very bright future indeed.
Cooper was later to advantage again when combining with Hughes to win the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase with Old Si.
He made the bold move of allowing his charge to bowl along with a circuit to cover and the tactics worked like a charm, as Old Si held on to resist the late surge of Conem by a short head.