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."
5 July 2015'Diamond' Ainippe delights Lyons
Another German Derby for Schiergen
No luck for Geraghty on return
Geraghty unplaced on return
Arc considered for Horn swansong
Tonto earmarked for York date
Pace set for July Stakes
Dods: Angel can embrace joy of six
Kurland set for Newmarket return
Galway beckons for 'improving' Wood
Mountain set for trip descent
Outstanding third in Belmont Oaks
No joy for Postulation in USA
Golden shines in Eclipse victory
Eye sees off Marathon rivals
Blond shows her true colours
Notarised lands Newton prize
Basem proves up to Challenge
Tiana takes Oaks triumph
Waady leads the Charge
Cymro claims Haydock honours
Maria added to Falmouth field
4 July 2015Horn calls the tune in Eclipse
Tiana takes Oaks triumph
Flash fires home
Majestic vies for Fairyhouse rule
Geraghty back in business
Walsh indebted to king Kauto
Angel confirmed Sandown non-runner
Doyle and Johnston shine at Sandown
Johnson scorches to fastest fifty
Windshear up for the Cup
Muhaarar in great form - Hills
Chantilly off the radar for Test
Gatsby sets sights on Horn
Queen aiming to reign in Oaks
Gosden respects Golden rivals
3 July 2015Cyclone set for Leopardstown outing
Waady aiming to step up
Angel major Sandown doubt
Strong Gosden hand at Newmarket
Doyle up for the Challenge
Sandown team mull watering plans
Kazeem on comeback trail
Lennox option for Limato
Magnificent seven for Elliott
Pendleton thrilled with first ride
Balding hoping for Park August run
Kirby unscathed in house fire
Pilot charters path to York
Provenance has claims on Sandown
Soapy out to slay Dragon rivals
Spencer rides Gatsby in Eclipse
Space considered for Ascot return
2 July 2015Creighton discharged from hospital
Postulation checks in at Belmont
Charming thoughts turn to Doncaster
Deauville date for Diamond
Mecca's takes Thirsk honours
Dods waits on Angel decision
Soumillon takes Certain ride
Mile on Spear radar
September aim for Tryster
Cup aim for Arab
Time out for Hannon aces
Close encounter excites Doyle
Island to drop in grade