Quilixios justified strong support when running out a ready winner of the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Trained by Gordon Elliott for Cheveley Park Stud, he was the winner of a hurdle race in France last March before moving to Ireland this term.
Having been impressive at Punchestown and Down Royal on his first couple of outings for Elliott, he seemingly faced a much tougher assignment in this Grade One.
Jack Kennedy was content to sit some way off the strong gallop set by Danny Mullins and Saint Sam, but when he asked his mount to close up, he did so effortlessly.
While his jumping could not be described as super slick, it did not need to be on this occasion and he had the race in safe keeping on clearing the last, winning by five and a half lengths at odds of 4-6.
Coral cut the winner into 5-1 from 8s for next month’s Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.
“He made a mistake at the third last and to be fair to him, he picked them up well after that,” said Kennedy.
“Once I got to Danny (Mullins, on Saint Sam), I could feel him start to race, but once I got to the front, he idled. He is an idle horse but did it very well.”
Elliott, registering his first winner of the Dublin Racing Festival, said: “He was probably the first horse over the weekend we felt had a real chance of winning – yesterday we needed luck to have a winner. It is a relief though.
“He’s been flawless and in fairness to him, he hasn’t run since Down Royal. My plan was Chepstow over Christmas, but that was called off.
“Tom Malone bought the horse for Cheveley Park and it’s their first Grade One winner since Mr Thompson passed away and they’ve been big supporters of the yard.
“He’s more than a juvenile. Both of the good juveniles (stablemate Zanahiyr) are more than just juveniles.
“I’d imagine they’ll both have to go to the Triumph.”