Tm Doyle’s Mallowney had jumped to the front two out and was good at the last, but found Felix Yonger (100-30) cutting him down and the pair flashed past the line together.
It was only a brief moment before the Mullins’ runner was confirmed the winner by a nose, with Days Hotel another four and a quarter lengths back in third and Alderwood in fourth.
Winning rider Danny Mullins said: “I’d like to thank Willie for putting me up on him, and it’s important to be winning these big races.
“I knew a good jump would help me out, and he stayed on really well.
“He was always a class horse, and Ruby said the other day that he thought he was coming back to his best.”
Mullins said: “It was great for Danny and he was very good on him to get him up. He was able to come back to two miles and win on ground that he supposedly doesn’t like, so maybe he’s improving.”
Paul Townend reported that stablemate Twinlight was “never travelling and never jumped”.
Black Hercules impressed as he made it two wins from as many starts over timber with an impressive victory in the Kerry Group Stayers Novice Hurdle.
His task was made easier following the defection of the promising No More Heroes, but there was still much to like about the way the five-year-old jumped out in front under Townend.
Fourth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March, the Graham Wylie-owned gelding had made a winning start in his new career at this track over two miles last month, and had no trouble stepping up a full mile in trip.
Always moving well within himself, he was briefly joined on the run to three out by Annamatopoeia, with Alpha Des Obeaux on their heels.
The latter tried to renew his challenge going to the last but Townend never had to get too serious as the 4-7 favourite eased two and a half lengths clear.
Mullins said: “He was very slick in his jumping – so good. He stayed on nicely and is a professional hurdler. He has no trouble with trip over two or three miles, but he’s probably more of a stayer.”
Townend said: “It’s very hard work out there on that ground, and he had to do it the hard way. Nothing else was going to make it but we knew that he stayed.
“He’s improved from the last day, and he jumped a lot slicker today. Hopefully he can improve on that again.
“He idled a bit but you’d have to love the way he pulled out more when I asked him.”
It was three for Mullins and a double for Townend when Vroum Vroum Mag made no mistake in the Kerry Group E.B.F. Mares Novice Chase.
The French import had made a successful start in Ireland when winning at Wexford and is clearly blessed with plenty of ability.
Prominent from the off, she was left in front when Elsie ploughed through a fence six from home.
Jumping well aside from being a bit steep two out, the 1-4 favourite sauntered clear from the last, with five lengths in hand over Our Katie.
Mullins said: “She made a mistake but she got away with it and Paul was good on her. She’ll probably go back up in trip and we’ll stick to the mares’ races with her. She’s one we’re looking forward to this season.”
Townend said: “She is doing everything we ask of her. She jumped well apart from a bit of a mistake at the second-last but nothing serious.
“She won with plenty in hand. She stays as well, although the drop back to two miles and a furlong was no problem.”
Tony McCoy’s visit to the Mallow track was principally for Alderwood but he did manage to come home with a win courtesy of Jumptoconclusions in the Kerrymaid Novice Handicap Hurdle.
In typical McCoy fashion, the perennial champion was in no mood to be denied as he drove Edward O’Grady’s 3-1 favourite to get up on the line for a short-head success from Old Time Melody in the JP McManus colours, having looked to have it all to do from the last.
O’Grady said: “For young horse he stayed well. He needed all the assistance (from the saddle) and he got it.
“Maybe on better ground he could go a bit further.”