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."
16 April 2014True class tells at Newmarket
Buywise books big-race targets
Sandiva strikes for Dettori
Power runs Free at Newmarket
Magnus magic for Hannon
Cantlow on track for Fairyhouse
Kingman well-being delights Gosden
Walsh to ride out this weekend
Byron all set for Hong Kong mission
Gosden stays in winning Spirit
'Tentative' Cup entry for Zarkandar
Draw joy for Grandeur
Kiyoshi pleases in Newmarket spin
Leather in frame for Jockey Club
Tropics warming to Abernant task
Judge lays down law in Sefton
Toormore on trial in Craven
All eyes on Strauss at Newmarket
Ridge out to peak at Newmarket
Eduard camp look to the future
Mohammed outlines Educate plans
Dreaper duo on National service
Scott learns Melodic lesson
Bobs Worth unlikely for Punchestown
Williams - Buy needs to Wise up
Fly on track for more records
Arod team take cautious approach
Obliterator ready to roar for Lyons
Night camp favour French Guineas
Free and easy for 'forward' Medinah
Fahey braced for Sand storm
15 April 2014Minstrel a Punchestown possible
Joe considered for Cork encounter
Toormore the star turn in Craven
Inch edges closer to Oaks bid
Appleby backs Ring to fire
Oliver wants more from Set To Go
Double tops for Easterby
Varian - Hill in peak form
Hawk has eyes on Lingfield prize
Doyle in awe of Kingman engine
Art given Victoria target
Ground key to Thakhira Classic aim
Cyclone heading for Punchestown
Hopes still high for Hydrogen
Botti in no rush with Hawill
Soumillon booked for Spanish raider
Obliterator takes Newmarket trial
14 April 2014Taaffe ponders Argocat options
Meain machine set for Punchestown
Competitive field for Nell Gwyn
Curragh workouts delight O'Brien
Inis all the way in Listed heat
Sruthan away to winning start
Burke keen on Rivellino claims
Ground key to Cubanita plans
Derby entry Ectot shows class
Back to sprinting for Astaire
Berkshire team mull options
Millman relishing Carpenter future
13 April 2014Newmarket ground pleases Prosser
Golden Wonder states Classic case
Rock rolls to Ballysax success
Eduard one for the future
Scottish glory for Bowen and Co
Spencer strikes on Kaka
Sparrow takes flight at Ayr
Kingman new favourite for Guineas
Estimate easing her way back
Stack star set for Alleged return