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."
30 August 2015Beloved bounds to Supreme success
Ton-up for De Sousa
Approval for new Yarmouth track
Hint takes Cambridgeshire glory
Beloved rules supreme at Goodwood
Bocca back in business
Leger hope Sumbal beaten in France
Tower-ing performance from Williams
Arm injury woe for Russell
O'Brien works his Magic again
Beacon shines for O'Brien
Botti banks on Binzart
All eyes on Pendleton at Ripon
Harrington ponders Jack reverse
Tullius revved up for Joel Stakes
Speculative in frame for Ayr raid
Moon dazzling for Irish Leger bid
Ivory backs Twin to peak at Donny
Golantilla 'a natural' over fences
Flintshire strikes at Saratoga
Retirement considered for Pharoah
Cummings 'a giant of the sport'
Keen Ice claims Pharoah scalp
Racing lands Winter win
O'Brien family enjoys Wexford wins
Goodwood Celebration for Kodi team
Polybius takes Hopeful honours
Twisler on the march
Rene lands Goodwood riches
Maarek shoots to Bullet victory
Hawk swoops in Prestige
29 August 2015Death of top trainer Bart Cummings
Kodi Celebration for Cox
Deegan hopeful of good Sho
Titania looks to 'step up' in Dance
Gosden youngster impresses at HQ
Ascot date for Dartmouth
Bolger seeking Curragh Smash n grab
Death of northern stalwart Charnock
Ground key for Weld big guns
Panther pleases in Newmarket work
Icon eyeing Prestige prize
Buratino in Middle Park frame
Cox hoping for Kodi Celebration
28 August 2015Devonshire chasing deserved success
All-American hero taking next step
Ground key for Cape
Rock ready to roll at Windsor
Suzi's seeking Goodwood gold
Maarek aiming to fire in Bullet
Treble top for Weld and Smullen
Baker tempted by Woodbine for Bill
Memory poised for Haydock chance
Treve clash possible for Queen
Hills to make French Connection
Forgotten horse up for Irish Leger
Bear a necessity in Celebration
Pallasator in Cup mix at Doncaster
Lynam sprinters Flying first class
27 August 2015Tested passes with flying colours
Tested passes with flying colours
Iffranesia shoots for Bullet glory
Burke plots Reflection Ayr raid
Fascinating entry in Winter Hill
Thumbs-up at Ffos Las
Emotionless bound for Doncaster
Ground key to Rectifier run
Second inspection at Ffos Las
Whip ban for Mulrennan
Tryster in line for September clash
All systems go for Pendleton
Palmer firming up Covert mission
Safety first for Appleby
Stevens to end training career
Cumani content with Postponed work
Storm stars in Leger list
Irish Champion excites Glen camp