Sublimity made the most of a significant drop in class as he got back to winning ways with a workmanlike victory in the McCarthy Insurance Group Hurdle at Cork.
Winner of the Champion Hurdle in 2007 but successful only once since, the Robbie Hennessy-trained 11-year-old travelled with his old dash at the rear of the four-runner field as Newmill opened up a huge early advantage.
Ridden for the first time by Andrew Lynch and massively favoured by race conditions, he had closed the gap going to the third-last but 2006 Champion Chase winner Newmill proved game in front and the pair were upsides jumping the last.
Sublimity had to fight from there but just had the extra edge in speed on the run to the line, prevailing by half a length as the 11-10 favourite.
Hennessy was delighted to see Sublimity get his head in front again and said: "Today was one of my best successes despite having won a Grade One.
“It’s nearly as good as winning at Cheltenham as he had a bad suspensory injury last year and we weren’t sure if he would run again.
“It’s great to get that out of the way. Beforehand on all ratings he had to be nearly a good thing, but there is no such thing in racing.
“These type of races are his future. There is a race at Naas in a few weeks for him (Limestone Lad Hurdle) although it’s over two miles, three.
“The Irish Champion Hurdle is also a possibility.”
Should Sublimity run in the Limestone Lad there is a strong possibility he will clash with Dunguib.
Trainer James Dullea was also pleased with the effort of Newmill on his first start for the Cork handler.
He said: “He ran a cracker and we’re over the moon with him. We know now he’s not over the top.
“He’ll mix it between hurdles and fences and the Kinloch Brae at Thurles (January 27) is next for him.”
Lynch doubled up as Byerley Bear ran out a smooth winner of the McCarthy Insurance Group Maiden Hurdle on his jumping debut.
The bumper winner looks another nice prospect for Henry de Bromhead, and the 11-2 chance had little trouble in accounting for well-backed 6-4 favourite King Of The Refs by a length and a quarter.
De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with that. I recommended him to the owner (Herb Stanley) after he won his bumper here.
“He stays well and jumps great and will want further in time. Andrew was very pleased with him and gave him a lovely ride.
“He’ll go for a novice next and will be better on better ground as well as stepping up in trip. I thought it was going to be a bleak Christmas until this win as I’ve had a lot of seconds.”
Morning Supreme, fifth in the 2009 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and winner of three of her four starts over hurdles, got off the mark at the second time of asking over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare had held every chance when coming down at Thurles on her debut over the bigger obstacles in November, and again bowling along in front for Paul Townend she made no mistake this time.
Mullins said of the 4-6 favourite: “She appeared to learn from the last day, but she did get things very much her own way today.
“I’ll keep her to mares’ contests if I can and she’ll go for a winners’ race next. She’s a young man’s ride!”
Stablemate Killultagh Queen unseated at the third-last when a distant second.