Somewhat uneasy in the market but sent off the 4-5 favourite, the progressive chaser travelled strongly throughout, was delivered by challenge in the straight by Andrew Lynch, and was un-extended as he galloped home clear of Toon River.
Said Crawford: “We were keen to come here because the ground would be right for him.
We’re not going to be greedy, so mightn’t run him again this season, but if there was a bit of moisture in the ground we might think about the Scottish National. Otherwise we’ll get him out early, and get him back in early.”
Liz Doyle’s stable has been enjoying a fine run, and the Donagh Meyler-ridden Last Goodbye made it four wins in a row when making a successful handicap debut in the valuable Easter Handicap Hurdle.
Never far off the pace, he eased up to challenge approaching the second-last, where the equally strong-travelling Coolaghknock Glebe crashed out. The eventual winner led at the last, where he made a mistake, but recovered well to see off the game Captainofthefleet.
Said Doyle: “He didn’t do much in front there, and didn’t do much in front at Navan, but travelled like a good horse.
“I’ve never had a horse win four in a row before, but we’ll probably go for the 0-150 handicap at Punchestown next and that will tell us where to aim him then.”
The remainder of the card was dominated by local success, starting with John Joe Walsh’s Noble Vision fortuitously justifying favouritism in the opener. Little Stevie was clear until coming down at the last, leaving Noble Vision to take advantage. It was a 23rd victory of the season for the Doneraile trainer.
Maxine O’Sullivan gave Mississippi River a superb ride to win the two-mile handicap hurdle for Buttevant trainer Paul O’Flynn, who won an All-Ireland Football medal with Cork in 2010.
Father-and-son team Seamus and Dinny Spillane combined to take the two-three maiden hurdle with Goulane Davina, who coasted home clear of Danali.
It was good day for the Burke family, Curraglass, as jockey Jonathan took the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Acapella Bourgeois, while his father, Liam, was on the mark with Inch Rise, who made a deserved breakthrough with a runaway success in the three-mile maiden hurdle in Cork.
Trainer Mick Winters, who enjoys cult status in Cork, saddled a one-two in the beginners’ chase as Another Rebel belied a near three-year absence to come home clear of Vinnie Luck. It was a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure for jockey Martin Ferris, who broke his hand in a fall at Tramore and was out for 13 months.
The meeting wrapped up with a fittingly impressive success from the well-related and heavily backed Give Me A Copper, trained in Midleton by Donal Coffey.
The full brother to high-class mare Presenting Copper and half-brother to Cheltenham Festival-winning Copper Bleu hardly came off the bridle in beating favourite Classic Place by more than six lengths. “He’s the best we’ve ever had,” said Coffey, of the six-year-old, who was also successful on his only outing in a point to point.