Bright New Dawn claimed top honours at Navan in the Grade Two Flyingbolt Novice Chase under Bryan Cooper.
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Irish Arkle faller Mallowney bowled along for most of the contest in the hands of Andrew McNamara, jumping well although racing rather keenly at the same time
In what effectively turned into a match, the two principals jumped two out more or less together, but Dessie Hughes' charge got the better of the argument going to the last and asserted on the run-in to record a clear-cut triumph as the 5/4 favourite.
Hughes said: "I'm pleased with that, and he battled when he needed to.
"I don't know about Cheltenham, he looks an ideal horse for the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse and maybe Punchestown after that.
"I'd be happy to go up in trip with him, even three miles.
"The race suited him here and the heavy ground too. We thought he was quick enough for two miles and he showed today he is. Maybe in good ground two miles might be on top of his head.
"I think his ideal trip is two and a half, but he'll stay three and now we know he has the speed for two in this ground. He's a horse with gears and he jumps quickly."