Teahupoo came out on top in a dramatic ITM Virtual Stallion Trial Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
The Willie Mullins-trained Youmdor looked a big threat when he loomed alongside Teahupoo (4-1) at the final flight, only for the 4-9 favourite to come down.
That left Gordon Elliott’s runner to win as he liked by 15 lengths in the hands of Robbie Power and make a winning debut for the County Meath handler. Teahupoo had won his only start for French trainer Gabriel Leenders at Auteuil in October.
Druid’s Altar was second with Autumn Evening half a length away in third.
“He’s a nice horse. Obviously we had a lot of luck on our side there with Willie’s horse going at the last,” said Elliott.
“I said to Robert ‘you were definitely beat’, but he said ‘I’m not so sure because my horse galloped from the last to the line’.
“He said he could see about three strides away from the last that (Paul) Townend’s horse was just starting to be squeezed along. I thought Willie’s horse would have won and we had luck on our side.
“He’s probably more of a stayer next year than a two-miler. I loved the way he put his head out and galloped from the last to the line.”
Teahuphoo was cut to 14-1 from 25-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Betfair, who left Youmdor unchanged at 14s.
Roseys Hollow (10-11 favourite) showed a neat turn of foot between the last two flights to run out a ready winner in division one of the Follow Fairyhouse ‘Racing From Home’ Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
The Jonathan Sweeney-trained seven-year-old quickened nicely for Mark Walsh to open up a crucial advantage and the JP McManus-owned mare galloped on strongly to score by four lengths from main market rival Global Equity.
It was a poignant first winner of the year in Ireland for McManus, who suffered the tragic loss of his daughter-in-law Emma on December 30 at the age of 40.
“It was very good and it’s great to get it,” said Sweeney.
“It’s great for JP and his family in tragic times. I pass on my deepest sympathies to them.
“She jumped well, travelled, did everything well and Mark was happy.
“We’ll get over today and I’ll have a chat with Frank (Berry). He’ll talk to JP and see what the plan is. She’s a nice mare.”
La Chanteuse (10-1) caused a minor upset in division two when flooring the 8-11 favourite Manitopark Aa.
JJ Slevin pushed the Stuart Crawford-trained seven-year-old into the lead before the second-last flight and went on to score by six lengths. Norwigi was 16 lengths back in third place.
“We’ve always thought plenty of her. On her first run back at Down Royal, Ben (Crawford) rode her and he was disappointed with her,” said Crawford.
“She probably really needed it as she blew up halfway around. She came here today and obviously has come on a good bit from it.
“JJ gave her a good ride and it’s great to get it, they are hard to win.”
He added: “We were disappointed not to get a bit of black type with her in her bumpers. We didn’t sell her, and she’s owned by my mother, so there is a bit of extra pressure on.
“She’s entitled to take her chance in a better race. We could go across the water for a novice, but at this point in time we’d probably be trying for a bit of black type.”
Aramax gave Elliott a double after the victory of Teahupoo when scoring in the McManus silks in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.
The 14-1 chance defeated the 8-11 favourite Port Stanley by two and a half lengths in the hands of Keith Donoghue.
“He won the Fred Winter (at Cheltenham) last year. Keith said he got an awful lot of confidence from the last day and he was a different horse. He was happy,” said Elliott.
“It’s great to get him back winning with him being a Cheltenham winner the year before.”
Gerri Colombe (8-13 favourite) gave Elliott a treble with an easy success in the Racing Again January 30th (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.
A point-to-point winner for Colin Bowe, the £240,000 purchase looked an exciting prospect when scorching home by 24 lengths under Jamie Codd.
“He’s a nice horse. He’s probably going to be a big chaser more than anything, a big staying horse down the road. We like him,” said Elliott.
“I don’t think you’ll see a whole lot more of him this season, he might have one more run. Obviously I’ll have to talk to Brian (Acheson), but these horses are all bought for the future. He’s one for down the road.”
When asked if he could be a Cheltenham horse, he added:- “If I put my hand on my heart I’d probably say it just mightn’t be the right thing to do, but obviously I’ll have to speak to the owner.”
Gerri Colombe was introduced at 14-1 for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham with Betfair.