Icare Allen made a winning debut on Irish turf when taking the Paddy Power “We Love A Good Christmas Jumper” 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle for Willie Mullins.
The three-year-old was previously trained by Anne-Sophie Pacault in France but changed hands earlier in the year and now runs in the silks of JP McManus.
Starting as the 13-8 favourite after winning his sole bumper start on the continent, the Mark Walsh-ridden gelding strode to a comfortable success – crossing the line three lengths ahead of Peter Fahey’s 80-1 shot Privilege.
“He’s a lovely horse and he did it very well,” said Mullins.
“He has been working well at home and in fact the only bad bit of work he did was the one day I brought him away to see how good he was – he worked desperately.”
Betfair cut the winner to 14-1 from 25-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, and Mullins added: “I think he’s one that will go up through the ranks in those juvenile hurdles. The Dublin Racing Festival would look an obvious target at this point.
“He was very green over the first and was very green when he hit the front. I think there is improvement in him.”
Mullins secured a swift double as Haut En Couleurs took the Paddy Power Games Beginners Chase on his first start over fences.
Third in both the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and the Ballymore Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown in May, Paul Townend steered the 1-3 favourite to a convincing five-and-a-half-length success ahead of stablemates Gentleman De Mee and Mt Leinster.
“Mt Leinster set a fair pace and had two good horses in behind,” he said.
“I think Haut En Couleurs looks like Arkle material and maybe Gentleman De Mee as well.
“I think both will improve for the run, I know Gentleman De Mee had a run but certainly Haut En Couleurs is going to improve.”
Brides Hill was then a 16-1 winner of the two-mile handicap hurdle for Luke Dempsey and Gavin Cromwell.
The four-year-old unseated his jockey when hampered at Fairyhouse, but bounced back to score a seven-and-a-half-length success over Suprise Package.
“It was a great performance. Luke probably got a soft lead and dictated it, he gave her a smashing ride,” said Cromwell.
“She didn’t half quicken from the back of the second-last, when he sent her, and particularly when she turned in. She winged the last.
“You would have to love her attitude, she’s very game the way she put her head down and galloped.”
School Boy Hours took the three-mile Paddy Power Chase at 12-1 for Sean Flanagan and Noel Meade.
A half-length winner, the eight-year-old was victorious for the first time since March 2019.
“I told Sean going out to try to be comfortable as long as you can. He gave him a super ride,” said Meade.
“He travelled well the whole way and jumped well. His jumping was a bit edgy for a couple of years and it’s taken him a while to get the hang of it.
“He’s a very well-bred horse (half-brother to Finian’s Oscar) but it’s just taken him a long time and he’s been a novice for three years.
“I thought he was travelling well turning in and thought we had a good chance because he stays very well. I think he’ll get three and a half miles.
“He was in super form coming here today as well.”
Mullins capped the day with victory in the bumper as Embassy Gardens prevailed as 4-6 favourite under Patrick Mullins.
“He was very green and then getting a slap across the face in the final stages and the other horse coming out on top of him didn’t help,” the trainer said.
“Hopefully he’ll improve a little bit from that. I’d say the second horse has improved from his last run. My fella has been showing me plenty at home.”