Paul Townend timed it to perfection to get Blackstairmountain back to winning ways in the McCarthy Insurance Group Hurdle at Cork.
A Grade One winner over timber as a novice, he also reached the same heights over fences last season but tends to struggle against the best when the mud is flying, so Willie Mullins is now eyeing up a race in Japan.
Fosters Cross made sure it was a real test and Davy Condon was allowed an easy lead in front with his advantage still around 10 lengths turning into the long home straight, but Blackstairmountain (4-7 favourite) collared him on the run-in and held off Arnaud by three-quarters of a length.
Mullins said: "We'll keep it to those type of races with him until the ground gets better. We're going to aim him at the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan in April. The ground conditions over there will suit him and he's a Grade One horse. He's the only one I have for the race, although it will be costly to send him."
The trainer was also on the mark in the McCarthy Insurance Group Maiden Hurdle with Midnight Oil (evens favourite). With Luca Cumani on the Flat, he had been outclassed in his previous two races but coasted home under Davy Russell.
Mullins said: "We decided to ride him more positively today and he enjoyed it better. He should improve more when the ground is drier. If he does improve on better ground, which I think he will, he'll step back up to Graded company. He's a grand, big, jumping type of horse and the ground is key to him."
The stable made it a treble when Terminal (1-2 favourite) eventually wore down A Fine Young Man in the McCarthy Insurance Group Beginners' Chase.
An almighty touch was landed by Sabrina Harty's Dalasiri in the McCarthy Insurance Group Maiden Hurdle for four-year-olds, the grey having been backed from a morning price of 33-1 into just 9-2 on-course.
Sent to the front four from home by Andrew Lynch, the Aga Khan-bred showed far more than on his previous start at Christmas and sprinted clear to win from Spot The Pro by 11 lengths.
Harty said: "We felt at home that he had a good turn of foot and we dropped him in at Leopardstown. He was just staying on when he made two mistakes. But his jumping is as slick as you get. I ride him myself and schooled him as well. Today was the plan but he should make a nice dual purpose horse."
27 September 2016'All systems go' for Harzand as Arc raid takes shape for Dermot Weld
Nicky Henderson takes the long road to Tipperary with Hargam
Charlie Fellowes pulls off Fairyhouse coup with big gamble Moonlit Show
Fair Eva conqueror Spain Burg to go under the hammer
Adrian Keatley checks in for Concorde Stakes with Jet Setting
Brian Meehan plays waiting game with Cambridgeshire hero Spark Plug
Dandy Nicholls leaning towards Ascot with white-hot sprinter Kimberella
Jim Bolger to resist Dollar cash with Dundalk-bound Qatari Hunter
Minor setback forces Magical Memory into early winter break
Ascot still top of Almanzor agenda despite featuring in Arc field
Trip To Paris in contention for Cadran outing at Chantilly
Frankie Dettori hunting Arc mount after Fascinating Rock is ruled out
'He was nearly picking them up and putting them over the line'
Waterlogging claims Ayr card
Scrutineer floors Danzeno in Hamilton feature
Marracudja gets Paul Nicholls and Ditcheat Thorougbreds off to winning start
Long Distance Cup remains on the agenda for Forgotten Rules
Munster National to honour memory of JT McNamara
Shalaa pencilled in for weekend return at Ascot
'Magnificent Seven' heaven sent for proud Frankie Dettori
Henry Candy sets sights on Chantilly with Limato
Alice Springs and Persuasive in line for rematch in Sun Chariot at Newmarket
Christophe Soumillon receives Silverwave Arc call-up at Chantilly
26 September 2016Precautionary inspection called for Ayr Tuesday card
Colin Tizzard delight at arrival of horses for Alan and Ann Potts
Only Mine signed off for the season by Joe Murphy
Charlie Fellowes hopes Moonlit Show can shine at Fairyhouse
Jarlath Fahey to delay Cesarewitch call with Jennies Jewel
Willie Mullins wants swift resolution to Faugheen 'investigation'
Salisbury Wednesday fixture loses one-mile race
Hamilton Monday card gets go-ahead
Setback rules La Cressonniere out of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Dermot Weld has Tuesday workout plans for Arc hope Harzand
Jim Bolger has Gold Cup dreams for Twilight Payment after Loughbrown Stakes
Aidan O'Brien lines up three-pronged attack on Arc
Capri continues Beresford Stakes domination for Aidan O'Brien
Happy days for Aidan O'Brien in Renaissance Stakes
Classic-winning trainer Tommy Stack to retire at the end of the year
Eziyra puts Classic claims with Curragh success
Wesley Ward finds possible reason for Lady Aurelia Newmarket reverse
25 September 2016Rain threat to Hamilton card on Monday
Dermot Weld has Tuesday workout plans for Arc hope Harzand
Ed Dunlop plays the long game with Red Verdon
Richard Fahey retains faith in vanquished Frankel filly Queen Kindly
One-mile race at Salisbury in jeopardy on Wednesday
Owen Burrows calls time on Massaat season
Henry de Bromhead has chasing in mind for Identity Thief
Ed Vaughan heads to Ascot with Mehronissa
Arc favourite Postponed pleases in Saturday workout
Spark Plug fires up for Cambridgeshire glory at Newmarket
The Last Lion sparks Group One celebrations for birthday boy Joe Fanning
Cheveley Park first for Aidan O'Brien as Brave Anna tops Lady Aurelia
Hugo Palmer has Derby dream for Best Of Days
Paul Hanagan speculation news to me - Angus Gold
Capri leads Aidan O'Brien's four-strong challenge on Beresford heat
Perle De La Mer seeks to sparkle in Park Stakes date
Forgotten Rules aiming to issue Loughbrown reminder
24 September 2016Waterlogging claims Roscommon card
Hugo Palmer retains faith in Escobar despite Newmarket eclipse
No retirement plans for Gordon Lord Byron ahead of Renaissance run
Jack Kennedy sidelined after Downpatrick fall
Fair Eva grounded by French flyer Spain Burg
Cougar Mountain peaks at Newmarket for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore
Newmarket winner Journey takes familiar route towards Ascot
John Gosden has the last Laugh at Newmarket
Bronze Angel bids for third Cambridgeshire gold in vintage renewal
Best Of Days and Hugo Palmer ready for Royal rumble at Newmarket
Blue Point and Mehmas face Middle Park rematch
Wesley Ward expecting Lady Aurelia to show her best in Cheveley Park test
Colm Murphy announces shock retirement news