De Bromhead so thankful for the 'Days'
Veteran Days Hotel produced a fine front-running display to land the Paddy Power Over 260 Shops Nationwide Chase at Naas for the third time.
Winner of the Grade Two prize in 2013 and 2014, Henry de Bromhead's 11-year-old was a 7/2 chance to complete the hat-trick in the hands of Andrew Lynch who sent him straight to the head of affairs and some bold leaps kept the pressure on his opponents.
Nicky Richards' raider Simply Ned tried to bridge the gap from the home turn, but the 11/10 favourite was under the pump some way from home and his finish effort was disappointing.
Days Hotel meanwhile pinged the final fence and galloped clear for a seven-and-a-half-length success as Twinlight stayed on to beat Simply Ned to the runner-up spot.
"I'm delighted and Andrew gave him a super ride," De Bromhead said afterwards. "He just loves that ground and the bare two miles suits him down to the ground.
"He didn't jump as well today but he got away with it. I'd imagine he'll go to Fairyhouse (Normans Grove)."
The JP McManus colours were carried to victory by the Colm Murphy-trained Marlbrook which dominated his rivals from the front in the Woodlands 100 Club Nas Na Riogh Novice Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old was making handicap debut over fences having opened his account at Fairyhouse last month and Barry Geraghty was happy to give the 2/1 favourite his head from the drop of the flag.
Marlbrook was clear racing halfway down the back straight, and while the pack closed up before the home turn, only the hat-trick-seeking Vicangelome could sustain his challenge.
However, Colm Murphy's Marlbrook asserted once more after jumping the second fence from the finish and was kept up to his work after the last to land the €50,000 prize by six lengths.
Ball D'Arc paid a big compliment to the Willie Mullins-trained Min, whom he finished third to at Punchestown, by taking the Paddy Power Shops Better Value Novice Hurdle.
A strong field of eight runners went to post for the Grade Two contest, with Jessica Harrington's Leopardstown scorer Don't Touch It the hot favourite ahead of the Mullins-trained Au Quart De Tour. That pair travelled strongly into the straight, but so too did Ball D'Arc and Moon Over Germany from Edward Harty's stable, and it was the latter duo that went to fight out the finish, with Bryan Cooper's mount prevailing by two lengths.
Another Cheltenham novice prospect, Vigil, barely came off the bridle in landing the opening mainde hurdle
The Dermot Weld-trained seven-year-old has followed an unusual route, having run in the last two renewals of the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, finishing a creditable fifth on both occasions.
Killahara Castle quickly built up a big lead before predictably faltering and after taking over the lead in the straight, Vigil cruised clear in the hands of Davy Russell to score by just over three lengths from Coeur Joyeux.
"He did what we expected him to do," said Weld. "Obviously he's a possible for Cheltenham and he's also a possible for Fairyhouse and Punchestown."We'll see how he comes out of the race before we make a decision. He's very effective on that ground, but I'd say he'll be effective on good ground as well."
Conright claimed the two-mile handicap hurdle in the hands of the in-form Robbie Power who steered the Cathy O'Leary-trained 16/1 outsider to a comfortable success, while Willie and Patrick Mullins combined to take the bumper with Avenir D'Une Vie which easily justififed his 8/11 favourite's tag - pulling 12 lengths clear at the line.