Colgan takes honours on Lean
Lean Araig benefited from a power-packed drive from Robbie Colgan to claim top honours in the Paddy Power Shops Better Value Novice Hurdle at Naas.
Oliver McKiernan's six-year-old was on a hat-trick following successive handicap wins over three miles at Punchestown and was a 9-2 chance coming back to the minimum trip and stepping up to Grade Two level.
Victory did not look likely for much of the journey as Lean Araig appeared slightly reluctant to head out on to the second circuit, and Colgan had to give him a couple of slaps to keep his mind on the job.
The jockey continued to earn his riding fee down the back straight, shoving his mount along and administering a couple of reminders but, to his credit, Lean Araig responded to his rider's urgings.
Modem emerged as the main threat in the straight, but McKiernan's charge would not be denied and fought him off courageously to pass the post a length in front.
Hot favourite Max Dynamite travelled well for a long way, but found little under pressure and was ultimately disappointing.
McKiernan said: "I'm happy with that - it was a bit of a battle. I think I've learned from that race that he really needs a lead. But despite that he's won and he's tough.
"Everyone knew he's a good three-mile horse and he's bred that way, too. I always felt two miles was a bit short for him.
"All being well, he'll go to Fairyhouse and Punchestown. There is a good three-mile handicap for novices and he has options now in novice races."
There was a sting in the tail for Colgan, who was suspended for four days for using his whip with excessive frequency.