Eddie Harty’s Captain Cee Bee defied an absence of over 600 days when making a winning debut over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Naas.
After winning the 2008 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the eight-year-old suffered a broken blood vessel at Aintree the following month and has since been off the track with a leg injury.
Sent off at 4-1 in the hands of Tony McCoy, Captain Cee Bee measured his fences accurately throughout, but it looked as though the lack of a recent run was going to tell when Zaarito loomed up halfway up the home straight.
Although there was nothing to chose between the pair approaching the final obstacle, Harty’s charge stayed on tenaciously to record a neck verdict.
Paddy Power were suitably impressed and cut him to 14-1 from 20-1 for next year’s Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham.
Harty said: "That was good, better than good. He's done it well but nearly got caught out for the lack of a recent run in the last hundred yards.
“I’m thrilled with the way he jumped and travelled and I couldn’t have been disappointed, even if he had got caught.
“Touch wood everything will be OK in the morning.
“The race in Leopardstown (Bord Na Mona Fuels Novice Chase on Boxing Day) will probably be his next run.”
Torphichen recorded his first success since joining Edward O'Grady with an impressive display in the Fishery Lane Hurdle.
The four-year-old won twice over hurdles for David Pipe last season and made a fine start to life in Ireland when second on the level at Galway in October.
Sent off at 5-1 for this Listed event, Torphichen cruised up to challenge for the lead in the straight and picked up nicely on the run to the line to beat Arabella Boy by six lengths.
Hot favourite Ebadiyan made a bad mistake with a full circuit to go and the alarm bells were ringing for his supporters at the top of the home straight, after which he faded to finish well beaten.
O'Grady said: "I'm pleasantly surprised.
“I don’t know where he’ll go. I’ll try to find another suitable race for him somewhere.
“I’m just pleased he did it as nicely as he did.”