THE great form of Dessie Hughes' string continued at Clonmel where his Deal Done landed a nice touch in the featured Wilderness Chase.
Bryan Cooper made full use of his mount's proven stamina in this two-miler as he quickly sent Deal Done to the front and the pair had most of their rivals in trouble turning for home.
Hughes' charge, without a win since March 2010, had his task eased somewhat when the challenging Gates Of Rome made a bad mistake at the final fence and Sin Palo was able to come through for the second spot, two-and-a-half lengths adrift.
"He's been struggling to win. He's a good ground horse -- that's the secret to him. Today is the best ground he's got for a while," said Hughes of the winner which started 9/4 favourite after being priced up at 5/1 earlier on. "We had him over in Cheltenham recently but he missed the cut by one to get in. We'll keep him going in those kind of races and Bryan rode him well there."
This win was the second leg of a double for Cooper who, earlier, had fortune on his side when Bill Harney's Chu Chu Thomas made the most of leader Speed Dial's fall at the final flight in the Powerstown Demesne Handicap Hurdle.
Avondhu Lady caused a 20/1 surprise when getting the better of hotly fancied Our Girl Salley in the EBF Mares' Beginners' Chase. Twice a point-to-point winner and with plenty chasing experience, she proved too tough to pass for Our Girl Salley as Mark Enright drove her right out for a neck success. "She always comes on from her first run and we'll come back here again in search of some black type in the Grade 3 mares' novice chase," trainer David Fenton said.
Charlie Swan's Sands Cove justified 5/4 favouritism in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle, while Carries Darling took the mares' equivalent for JJ Mangan.
Over in Hereford yesterday, AP McCoy clocked his 18th consecutive century when sauntering home on Nicky Henderson's Vasco Du Ronceray.