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."
25 November 2015Fire Fighting too good in Wild Flower Stakes at Kempton
Brave Hero makes an impression on Lingfield debut
Charlie Longsdon takes aim at Long Walk Hurdle with Kilcooley
Run Ructions Run makes winning chase debut for Tim Easterby at Wetherby
John Constable in the frame for Gerry Feilden honours
Un Temps Pour Tout out to star in hot novice chase at Newbury
O'Faolains Boy will bid to go the Distance at Newbury
Annacotty leads entries for Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham
Colin Bowe 'tempted' by Drinmore run for Shantou Flyer
David Dennis plotting Doctor Phoenix campaign following Haydock verdict
Goonyella set to bid for Becher compensation at Aintree
Alan King planning hurdles switch with The Unit
Down Royal return possible for Foxhunter hero On The Fringe
Mondialiste aimed at Hong Kong Mile by David O'Meara
Gilgamboa set for John Durkan return at Punchestown
Dan and Harry Skelton hit Lingfield double
Emma Lavelle sets sights on chase campaign for Closing Ceremony
Willie Mullins dominates Royal Bond entries at Fairyhouse
Neil Mulholland thrilled with Fox Norton Cheltenham effort
Emma Lavelle outlines Ascot aim for Junction Fourteen
Arctic Fire in perfect Hatton's Grace 10
Jonjo O'Neill eyeing low-key target for Minella Rocco
Hennessy robbed of star turn as Coneygree misses race
Jonjo O'Neill set to ease Holywell in grade
24 November 2015Further funding secured for Great British Racing International
No More Heroes heads Drinmore contenders at Fairyhouse
Coneygree forced out of Hennessy after schooling session
Evan Williams pinpoints two options for "frustrating" Buywise
Potters Legend to be sent hurdling by Lucy Wadham
Harry Fry excited by prospect of seeing Bitofapuzzle over fences
Nicky Henderson in no rush to decide on Bobs Worth pilot in Hennessy
David Pipe confirms Moon Racer setback
Medicean Man back in business at Chelmsford
Delight for David Dennis as King's Song hits right note at Ludlow
Former jockey Darren Egan disqualified following corruption hearing
International mission at Cheltenham for Peace And Co and My Tent Or Yours
Vroum Vroum Mag stars in Carlisle weekend entry
Morello Royale denies Polly in Kempton Listed affair
Vaniteux makes victorious start to chasing career at Kempton
Coneygree stands firm at top of Hennessy field
Wicklow Brave and Identity Thief added to Fighting Fifth field
23 November 2015Victoria Pendleton closes in on point-to-point ride this weekend
Brain powers to Kempton victory for Nicky Henderson
Cheltenham and Navan options for Robbie Hennessy's Rubi Light
Alvarado on Grand National trail again
Rebecca Curtis eyeing King George option for Irish Cavalier
Barry Connell confirms hurdles plan for Cheltenham winner Martello Tower
Willie Mullins expecting 'cracking' King George with Vautour
Monksland in Drinmore picture after Gowran win
Well-connected Augusta Kate scores for Alan Shearer and company
Troytown glory for Riverside City and Jack Kennedy
Douvan delivers on chasing debut at Navan
Falcon Crest impresses in Monksfield victory
Woodland Opera books big-race ticket with Navan success
Coneygree back on Hennessy trail after delighting in Sunday gallop
Ptit Zig connections mull Vautour King George rematch
22 November 2015New sponsor to be sought for Cheltenham Gold Cup
Owner Barry Connell confirms Hatton's Grace aim for Gwencily Berbas
Betfair announced as new Tingle Creek Chase sponsor
Ryan Moore steers Maurice to Kyoto Grade One triumph
Tom George eyeing Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon for God's Own
Race Day secures Finals place with victory at Lingfield
Returning Vautour battles to Ascot victory for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh
Cue Card claims Betfair Chase glory at Haydock to set up bonus bid
Meade delight as Monksland makes winning debut over fences
Rock On Ruby sparkles for Harry Fry in Coral Hurdle at Ascot
Baradari lands 'Fixed Brush' riches at Haydock
Irving takes Haydock honours for Paul Nicholls
Emperor's Choice reigns on return to action at Haydock
American gives connections plenty to dream about as he opens account