Champion Hurd made his third Darwin Star debut at the Punchestown fence, overtaking his rivals.
Gavin Ammini tasked 104 with a humble sign that Fairhouse Royal Bond was improving smoothly in the mortgage-backed third behind the exciting MOI Allen and enjoyed a remarkable increase in 2019.
Top-class mayor Honeysuckle defeated an eight-year-old at the Irish Champion Hurd competition in Leopardstown, just halfway through the season, proving ineffective when he finished third behind Ebott at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The Dorver Star, who then appeared in the first race, was the 8-13 favorite of the Ladbrooks Watch Racing Online for Free Beginners Chase, and jumped mainly under Keith Donoghue, improving in that particular category as the race progressed.
Kalanisi Zelding moved very poorly with the passing star Max around the home turn, clearly stretching 12 lengths, and Le Mussigny scored late and took the runner-up spot.
Donogu said: “Overall he jumped well. Initially we were going a little steady, he slept a little and got some time off, but when I tried to land on the back and down, he jumped straight and jumped quickly.
“I did not teach him, it was my first time jumping with him and I think he would not have a hard time running a good race.
“He has a lot of range, he’s capable of using himself. He’s an exciting horse.”
Cromwell did not attend because Cromwell went to Newmarket last weekend to field four runners-up in Cesarevich.
Speaking from home, the trainer said: “I’m happy with him. His jump was already a bit sticky, but I think he was following the horse in front of him.
“When they were fast I thought, he jumped better and he would learn a lot from today, I’m sure.
“I’m happy with the way he ended up. I’m not sure where to go next – I have not made any plans yet.”
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