Farouk D’Alene outbattled Beacon Edge to claim Grade Two honours in the BetVictor Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan.
The first two home both sported the colours of Gigginstown House Stud, but it was the Gordon Elliott-trained Farouk D’Alene who took full advantage of the 7lb he was receiving from Beacon Edge, who hails from the Noel Meade yard.
The pair were locked together jumping the last but 4-11 favourite Farouk D’Alene just kept finding a little more on the run to the line, eventually prevailing by three-quarters of a length in the hands of Jack Kennedy.
Betfair make the winner a 12-1 chance from 14s for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
Elliott said: “He was entitled to do that and he only does what he has to do.
“I thought Limerick was going to happen again there and he was going to get collared on the line.
“He’s a grand horse. He’s in the Brown Advisory and the National Hunt Chase. We’ll see where we are and see what the ground is and then make our mind up. He’d need soft in it.
“He a deceiving type of horse, he’s quicker than he looks.
“He didn’t jump great in Naas the last day and it took him a while to get his confidence there. Down over the last three he was good.”
Brampton Belle (7-2) is set for a step up in class after lifting the Listed BetVictor Apple’s Jade Mares Novice Hurdle.
A Tramore maiden hurdle winner in December, Brampton Belle had found Eric Bloodaxe too good in a Grade Two heat at Limerick over Christmas, but dropping back in class and switching to mares-only company, Henry de Bromhead’s charge regained the winning thread.
Rachael Blackmore was pushing along with a couple to jump, but Brampton Belle made her challenge at the final flight and dug deep on the run to the line to hold off the staying-on favourite Lunar Deity by half a length.
De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with that, she really toughed it out and Rachael was brilliant on her. That’s her gig, she stays well, jumps well and I’d say the softer the better for her.
“The plan was always to come here and then head on to Limerick (March 13) for the mares’ novice there over two-miles-six (Grade Three Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle).”