Kempes ran out a clear-cut winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown for Willie Mullins and David Casey.
Mullins has a fantastic record in Ireland’s premier race but Kempes was only the stable second-string until Cooldine was ruled out at the 11th hour.
Due to be ridden by Tony McCoy last weekend, Casey gave his mount a beautifully patient ride of a fast early gallop.
The Listener was left in front with a mile to run but Paul Carberry took the bold decision to kick on with China Rock four out. On the approach to the last he was a spent force but Kempes was still going great guns.
Last year’s winner Joncol and the resurgent Glencove Marina emerged as threats, but Casey kept the 5-1 shot up to his work to beat the latter by four lengths.
Unfortunately Nicky Richards’ Money Trix was pulled up on the first circuit.
The winner was inserted in the Gold Cup betting at 25-1 by William Hill.
Owner JP McManus' racing manager Frank Berry said: ``I was surprised with how well he handled the ground.
“Davy gave him a lovely ride but I was surprised with how easily he picked them up.
“AP (McCoy) said he would have been involved in the Lexus when he fell two out, but he’s gone on the ground today all right.”