Henry de Bromhead will consider testing the water at the highest level with Bob Olinger on his next start after the exciting prospect outclassed his rivals at Navan.
Impressive in winning his point-to-point and in a Gowran Park bumper last season, the five-year-old made a most encouraging start to his hurdling career when giving Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow a run for his money at Gowran last month.
On the strength of that form, the five-year-old was the 1-8 favourite to go one better in the Mervyn Gray Construction Maiden Hurdle and the result was never in doubt.
Sent straight to the lead by Rachael Blackmore, Bob Olinger passed the post with 14 lengths in hand – teeing him up for a potential tilt at the Grade One Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle on January 10.
De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with that. Obviously it’s nerve-racking when there is that kind of expectation.
“He jumped well. Rachael said ideally she would have loved a lead or a bit of company, but it’s job done.
“I’ve entered him in Naas in the two-and-a-half-mile race. We’ll see how he is, there are a few options there.
“He has a lot of pace and could drop back to two miles at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival in February, or there is also the two-mile-six-furlong race there. I’d say he is very adaptable.”
Joseph O’Brien’s Fils D’oudairies (7-1) ran out an authoritative winner of the NavanRacecourse.ie Rated Novice Chase, with Donagh Meyler the winning rider.
O’Brien’s assistant, Brendan Powell, said: “It was a nice performance and a beautiful ride.
“He travelled like a dream the whole way around and loved the ground.
“I think he’s a horse with a big future if everything goes right for him.”
Stoughan Cross was a 40-1 winner of the Happy Christmas And New Year To All Our Members Handicap Chase for trainer Tom Gibney and jockey Darragh O’Keeffe, while Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy landed the Irish Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle with 15-8 shot Percy Warner.
“He did it very well. He probably wants a bit further, but he’s not slow either,” said Kennedy.
“It wasn’t a bad race and he’s a lovely horse.”
Jukebox Jive denied King Alex a four-timer in the 40,000 euro BetVictor Gamble Responsibly Tara Handicap Hurdle.
Owned and trained by Barry Connell, King Alex was the 100-30 favourite to add to his previous wins this season at Ballinrobe, Navan and Fairyhouse, but Gavin Cromwell’s 11-1 shot Jukebox Jive powered 13 lengths clear on the run-in under 5lb claimer Conor McNamara.
Cromwell’s assistant, Feidhlim Cunningham, said: “That was a great win. He loves that ground – he won a November Handicap on bottomless ground.
“He’s just not straightforward. We targeted this race and the ground came up ideal.
“We’ve no immediate plan for him. He wants bottomless ground and we’ll find something again on similar going.”