Fire lit up for Russell and Morris
Punters had their fingers burnt when Born In Fire sprang a 25-1 surprise in the Anna Gannon 80th Birthday Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown.
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The victory was mainly down to Ireland's champion jockey Davy Russell, who made a decisive move on the Gigginstown House-owned five-year-old when he stole a few lengths on the field as they turned into the straight.
The Mouse Morris-trained gelding then kept on stoutly to hold Tony McCoy's late challenge on the 11-10 favourite Byerley Babe by a length, to open his account over hurdles at the third attempt.
Morris said: "Obviously there was something wrong when he ran deplorably badly at Naas, but we never found anything to explain it. He wasn't a bad point-to-pointer but I'm happily surprised."
McCoy got on the scoresheet when the well-backed Colbert Station led on the run-in to land the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier).
The 11-10 favourite, running off a much lower mark than his chase rating, had to work fairly hard to overpower Clashnabrook by two lengths after being held up for most of the three-mile trip in a 22-runner affair, but finished strongly.
Last seen winning the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, the Ted Walsh-trained nine-year-old holds an entry in the John Smith's Grand National.
Walsh said: "I wouldn't say he was mad about the ground, but he jumps and stays. If he is going to run at Liverpool we'll have to keep him ticking over and today served its purpose.
"We'll be looking at races like the Bobbyjo Chase, the Racing Plus Chase and the Red Mills Chase for him next but his only minus is his inexperience and he's only had five runs over fences.
"I'd say a horse has never won the National with only five runs over fences."
Arabella Boy (9-2) gave 'banks' race specialist Enda Bolger another winner over the unique course when grinding out success in the Glenfarclas P.P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase.
Nina Carberry sent the eight-year-old into the lead some way out and he looked as though he might he beaten when he slowed up going to the last.
That appeared to let in Big Shu, but Arabella Boy found more for his rider to pull away and win by a length.
Arabella Boy was trimmed to 5/1 favourite from 7/1 with Paddy Power to give Bolger a fifth triumph in nine years in the cross country race at the Cheltenham Festival but Sky Bet are a point bigger at 6/1.
Bolger said: "Arabella Boy travelled well all the way and he'll go for the Cross Country Chase, on the Tuesday, at Cheltenham next. This is his track and he'll be back here at the Festival for the La Touche."
Trainer Arthur Moore landed an apt success when Lastoftheleaders (12-1) won the Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase, named after his late father.
The Naas handler took this prize in 2004 with Fadoudal Du Cochet at its traditional Fairyhouse home and was given a lift with this victory after his 2011 Irish National winner Organisedconfusion was ruled out with injury for the rest of the season just a couple of days ago.
Russell, completing a double, brought Lastoftheleaders to challenge at the final fence and the 10-year-old galloped on strongly to beat Alderwood by two and a quarter lengths in a competitive contest.
The trainer was in France but his son J.D. Moore said: "We are delighted to win this race and it's a lovely pot to win. Lastoftheleaders' owners have been very good and have stuck with him even though he's had a lot of niggly problems."
Spot The Boss (8-1) gamely outstayed the opposition in the Michael Fitzpatrick Memorial Grand National Trial Handicap Chase for trainer Oliver McKiernan and jockey Robbie Colgan.
Peter Fahey's Railway Tommy (10-1), ridden by 7lb claimer Shane Butler, floored the Mullins-trained 4-6 shot Rough Justice in the ITM Promoting Irish Bloodstock (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.