Grade One-winning chaser Bog Warrior notched his second consecutive victory over the smaller obstacles with a smart display in the Follow Punchestown On Facebook Hurdle.
After falling on his seasonal reappearance over fences at Down Royal, Bog Warrior was given a confidence-boosting run over timber at Fairyhouse, running out an impressive winner. Stepped up in class at Punchestown, the gelding was sent off the 11-8 favourite for a fascinating affair that also featured top-class hurdler Solwhit's return from over 700 days off the track.
Bog Warrior was ridden positively by Davy Russell and only Solwhit was able to go with him from the home turn. The latter briefly looked a danger, but his lack of race-fitness then appeared to take its toll and Bog Warrior pulled clear for a six-and-a-half length success.
Charles Byrnes will undoubtedly be delighted with Solwhit's comeback run, while Staying Article was a distant third. Dual Royal Ascot winner Simenon was once again a big disappointment.
Winning trainer Tony Martin said: "I'm thrilled with that. He improved from the north and at Fairyhouse he was good, but that was him today and it's great to see.
"There was no hiding place for anything there. I'll have a chat with the boys now (owners, Gigginstown House Stud) and see what way they want to go.
"It's just great to get a couple of wins with him. I'm just happy to go for something nice after today. We'll see how he is in the morning and week ahead. That's the most important thing as he's had a few problems in the past."
Paddy Power make Bog Warrior a 12-1 shot for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Byrnes said of Solwhit: "I'm well pleased with that. Andrew (Lynch) said he gave a good blow after the second last and the winner is a good horse on that ground.
"I'm happy going forward now and hopefully he's OK in the morning. We could look at the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas over two miles and three furlongs (January 19), or the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran (January 24) over three miles. I'll probably make an entry for the Irish Champion Hurdle, but I'd doubt if he'd run in it."
27 January 2015Cue Card goes back to basics
Eagle ready for hurdling bow
No worries at Wetherby
Shark angling for Punchestown prize
Fry issue Puzzle warning
Grimthorpe goal for Milan
Nicholls retains Zarkandar faith
Ellison duo primed for Supreme test
Mulholland maps out Festival plans
Master retains Festival options
Ruby handed World ticket
Doubt team seek jumping improvement
Dettori possible for National role
Uttoxeter bid appeals for Murphy
Ryanair defence likely for Dynaste
Palace stars in Towton fifteen
Gilgamboa set for longer trip
Jezki 'fine' after Hurricane defeat
Sire satisfies in schooling session
Sceaux leaves Mullins purring
Faugheen fancied for Walsh mount
26 January 2015Aintree on the agenda for Concerto
Light camp cool on Newbury raid
Zarib earmarked as Winter warmer
Lingfield washed away
Lingfield washed away
'Awesome' Sceaux in Arkle romp
Mullins lands the treble
Super Fly proves Champion again
Concerto plans hinge on scan
Sherwood - More to come from Clouds
Skelton nominates Bartlett for Risk
Bridgwater thrilled with Bolster
Foxrock given Hennessy green light
Meade gives Monksland World aim
25 January 2015Sceaux much to admire in Arkle
Sceaux much to admire in Arkle
Williams weighing up Tea options
Lingfield jumps card under threat
Saphir sparkles in Cleeve
Chao springs Neptune surprise
Donny glory never In Doubt
Tango hot to trot at Donny
Apache claims Blaklion scalp
Day disappointment as Anna shines
Clouds claims Cup glory
McCoy rules on Kingdoms
Peace takes Triumph Trial
24 January 2015More injury woe for Carberry
Tiger ready to Roll
Surrey National target for Itoldyou
Sire thrills Moore in Saturday spin
Walsh braced for Sceaux thriller
Festival dream alive for Desilvano
Martello on the march
Snowden excited by View return
Cole chasing Cleeve glory
Green light for Uttoxeter
Easter to swerve Skybet Chase
Pauling lands Town Moor double
Anna aiming for Trophy triumph
Blaklion on prowl at Doncaster
Sceaux primed for Arkle test
Geraghty hoping Co call pays off
Sherwood's head not in the Clouds
Jezki has Fly in sights again
Ground 'not ideal' for Fly