Willie Mullins’ Mercurey was beaten by stablemate Impulsive Dancer after starting at 1-4 in the Listed Kevin McManus Bookmaker Champion Flat Race at Limerick.
The former came into the race highly-regarded after a 13-length bumper win in January and led for much of the contest, but he was joined by eventual three-length winner Impulsive Dancer on the final bend.
Blizzard Of Oz (14-1), finished three lengths behind the winner, with Mercurey a short head further back in third.
“He is improving all the time, his work at home has been very good and I don’t think he needs heavy ground either,” Mullins said of the winner.
“It wasn’t a surprise on his final bits of work at home and he is a horse to look forward to mix it on the flat and over hurdles.
“Both he and Mercurey won their bumpers on heavy ground but the winner is a more mature flat type, whereas Mercurey is probably an immature jump horse.
“I’d imagine Impulsive Dancer will go to Punchestown, possibly for the Champion Bumper, and could continue racing during the summer. I don’t know whether or not I’ll run Mercurey again this season.”
Lifetime Ambition (13-8) was an easy winner of the Grade Three BetVictor Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase for Robbie Power and Jessica Harrington.
The seven-year-old was stepped up markedly in trip for and seemed to appreciate the extra half mile as he strolled to an uncontested four-and-quarter-length victory.
Kate Harrington, assistant trainer to her mother, Jessica, said: “It was nice for him to get his head in front, going up to three miles, and Robert (Power) said he wanted every bit of it.
“He’ll have an entry in the two-mile five-furlong novice handicap and also the three miles Grade One, both at Punchestown.
“Robert said he is a proper English National horse in the making for next year and said he loves that nicer ground.
“We’ll campaign him differently next year, have him ready for the autumn, keep off the ground and have him for a spring campaign.
“For a big horse, he had us confused and we were doing the wrong thing for a little while but we’ll get there some day! Today he was jumping like he did in Down Royal (in October).”