Partnered by Barry Geraghty, the popular Michael Winters-trained winner slammed front-running Tarla to the tune of ten lengths.
Geraghty made his move between the final two flights and Rebel Fitz, who might have been vulnerable on the ground, you would have thought, powered to the front and he was in total control on the run in.
“He should be at his peak for his second run and we’re now heading for the Powers’ Gold Cup (Fairyhouse)”, said Winters.
“We’ve had no winner since Christmas and the horses just haven’t been right. He was a bit off last season and, maybe, we will see the real horse this year. I thought if he didn’t win today, where were we going?”
Winters indicated that the plan after Fairyhouse, all going well, is a Grade 1 over two miles at the Punchestown festival.
Bothair Clei, trained by Donie Murphy at Midleton, landed the featured UCC Horse Racing Society Handicap Hurdle in the hands of in-form Philip Enright.
Enright drove the nine-year-old ahead coming away from two out and then kept him going in fine style to hold Globalized by a fast diminishing head.
“He idled a bit when getting to the front, I think”, reported Murphy. “He’s a good staying horse and will go chasing next season. There’s a three mile handicap at Fairyhouse and that might be next.”
John Joe Walsh’s Sonny B, strongly handled by Brian O’Connell, was far too good for the opposition in the Mallow Maiden Hurdle.
He eventually won going away by five and a half lengths and that was after weaving about a fair bit just before the last.
“His jumping was a bit scatty, he jumps easy-fix hurdles much better”, said Walsh. “He will head for a novice or a handicap next, but chasing will be his game.”
Sonny B is owned by Anthony Byrne, a fish merchant from Donegal. “He was told to come today”, smiled Walsh.
Trainer, Willie Cronin, and his son, also William, combined to take the CIT Students’ Union Facebook Handicap Hurdle with Notification.
Cronin junior nudged out Notification from the final flight to beat Deano snugly, giving the 25-year-old a first ever success.
Commented the rider: “He was entitled to win, he ran well the last day behind Liz Doyle’s Snowell at Clonmel.”
Willie Mullins’ Shamsikhan was always odds-on for the CIT Horse Racing Society Maiden Hurdle, but gave supporters palpitations before delivering.
He was certainly travelling best heading to the last, but guessed at the obstacle and the issue was quickly in the balance.
The eventual second and third, however, Like It A Lot and Easter Hunt respectively, weren’t too clever at the flight either, with Paul Townend just about keeping Shamsikhan in front to the line to score by a head and a neck.
Mullins, in Dubai to saddle Simenon at Meydan tomorrow, completed a double when Killer Crow took the Bumper.
Ridden by his son, Patrick, the Presenting gelding made most of the running, staying on dourly in the straight to score decisively in the end.
Commented Patrick: “I was disappointed when he got beaten at Leopardstown (finished third), I didn’t make enough use of him.”
Liz Doyle continued her good run when Mikey Fogarty drove out Maguire’s Glen to beat the flattering Andiamos in the Best Dressed Easter Sunday Handicap Hurdle.
The 25-1 shot is owned by Edward Horgan from Macroom, whose first winner this was, after many years of trying.