Jazz Messenger – a winner on Derby Day in 2003 for Gerard Butler – floored hot favourite No Where To Hyde in the Haydock Park & Newcastle Racecourses Hurdle at Navan.
Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden took the 7-2 chance, now trained by Noel Meade, to the front at the third-last flight and easily saw off the challenge of the 11-10 market leader to win by six lengths, with Dulgotti Bob third.
No Where to Hyde, runner-up in the Pierse Hurdle on his previous start and formerly a leading fancy for the totesport Hurdle before being ruled out in a furore over his allotted weight, was hampered when Powder Blast fell at a hurdle down the far side, but Christy Roche’s charge still appeared to have every chance.
Meade said: “Slippers said it was just like being on an aeroplane – he just took off at the second-last. He is entered in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but he could be a Liverpool horse as he’s very quick.”
William Hill introduced Jazz Messenger at 16-1 for the Cheltenham event, sponsored by Anglo Irish Bank.
Meade completed a quick double when Snow Tern (4-9) won the 28-runner Wilkinstown Maiden Hurdle by five lengths.
“I have big plans for him, but they are all for next year,” added the Navan trainer. “He’s entered in the SunAlliance Hurdle and the three-mile Brit Insurance, but I’m thinking of him more as a chaser.”