NOEL Meade's Ned Buntline got back on the winning trail with a stylish display in the Bookmakers Bar At Bewleys Hotel Leopardstown Maiden Hurdle.
A hugely impressive winner of a Naas bumper in early November, the four-year-old suffered a surprise defeat on his hurdling bow at Fairyhouse earlier this month.
However, sent off the 4-5 favourite to gain compensation in the opening race of Leopardstown's four-day Christmas meeting, Ned Buntline was always travelling powerfully under Paul Carberry and moved smoothly into contention in the straight.
Jumping the final flight, main market rival Urano looked a big danger, but Ned Buntline saw him off pretty readily in the end to secure a two-length verdict.
Meade said: "That is a bit of a weight off my back. The second horse is a good horse and it took a good horse to beat him the last day (Meade's Ally Cascade).
"Paul said the ground was a shade soft for him. We think he is a good horse and hopefully he is. He will improve a good bit when he learns to settle and jumps more relaxed. He is still diving a bit at hurdles.
"He will go for a novice hurdle somewhere now and it's nice to get a win on the board."