Having tracked the leader, Mozoltov edged ahead before the second last and, having been headed briefly by the runner-up before the last, Ruby Walsh galvanised Mozoltov to prevail by a length, with Ned Buntline a well-beaten third.
Willie Mullins explained: “He’s been doing good work at home and he to be in the top drawer after that win. He’ll head for the Supreme Novices now. Ruby said he wasn’t at home on that ground and will be a lot better on better ground.”
Both Paddy Power (from 20) and Boylesports (from 33) cut Mozoltov to 16/1 for the William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham while Stan James offer 20/1 |(from 33).
Colbert Station, convincing winner of the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, reverted to hurdling successfully when justifying 11/10 favouritism in the three-mile Pertemps Qualifier.
Tony McCoy rode the J P McManus-owned gelding with confidence throughout, but had to get stuck into his mount in the closing stages before seeing off Clashnabrook and Civena.
Colbert Station is bound for the John Smiths Grand National, as trainer Ted Walsh confirmed: “He was well-handicapped on his chase form and it was a nice opportunity for him. He’ll have one more run before Aintree and he has lots of options — he could run at Naas, in the Bobbyjo, the Racing Post Chase or the Red Mills.
“He’s a very good jumper. But he’s only run five times over fences, which would be a minus going to Aintree.”
Although his trainer Arthur Moore was absent (buying horses in France), Lastoftheleaders proved an appropriate winner of the Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase, a race rescheduled from Fairyhouse.
The second leg of a double for champion-jockey Davy Russell, Lastoftheleaders pounced at the last to beat handicap debutant Alderwood by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
The trainer’s son ‘JD’ commented: “He’s had a number of niggly problems. But his owners have been very patient and it’s great to have another good pay-day with him.”
Davy Russell had initiated his double when the Mouse Morris-trained 25/1 shot Born In Fire got the better of the Tony McCoy-ridden favourite Byerley Babe in the opening Anna Gannon 80th Birthday Maiden Hurdle.
Morris admitted: “I fancied him in Naas, but his run was deplorable so this is a pleasant surprise, although nothing surprises me in this game. “He might make a nice chaser in time.”
Nina Carberry partnered the Enda Bolger-trained Arabella Boy to a one-length win over longshot Big Shu in the Glenfraclas P P Hogan Memorial Cross-County Chase.
“He travelled well all the way and excels around here,” said winning trainer Enda Bolger.
“He’ll take in the cross-country race on the Tuesday of Cheltenham before coming back here for the La Touche at the Festival.”