Teahupoo secured top honours in a thrilling renewal of the BoyleSports Sporting Limerick Hurdle.
Gordon Elliott’s charge was the 8-15 favourite for the Grade Two feature following a 12-length victory over the reopposing Quilixios in the Grade Three Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas last month.
Quilixios, a former stablemate of Teahupoo who went on to win last season’s Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham for Henry de Bromhead, was next in the betting at 11-4.
Teahupoo led the way for much of this two-mile contest under Jordan Gainford, but looked set for minor honours after Quilixios and Darragh O’Keeffe swept into a clear lead from the home turn.
However, there was an unexpected twist in the tale after the final flight, with Teahupoo rallying for pressure and getting back up to prevail by half a length.
“He was a bit idle in front and we didn’t go mad. It actually suited me when I had something to attack at over the last two. He really put his neck out for me and tries,” said Gainford.
“He winged the last two and is a smart horse to look forward to in the spring.”
Betfair cut Teahupoo to 12-1 from 16-1 for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Robert Tyner saddled a treble on the card, initiated by Big Debates (11-2) in the Greenmount Equine Hospital Rated Novice Hurdle under 5lb claimer Jack Foley.
Split The Bucket (4-1) struck gold in the Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle in the hands of Mark Walsh, who later steered Womalko (5-4 favourite) to win the Party Time Handicap Hurdle.
Tyner said: “Big Debates won well. He’s been consistent and he’ll probably go back over fences again. We’ll see what’s suitable for him.
“We always liked Split The Bucket a lot but he just had a lot of little problems, nothing major. He has a nice way about him.
“The horses are in good form and it’s nice to get the three on one day.
“I think I had a treble in Clonmel before and I’ve had three winners seven times in point-to-points.”