Irish hopes for next March's Cheltenham Gold Cup suffered a major setback at Leopardstown, but Ruby Walsh still showed why he remains the most in-demand jump-jockey either side of the Irish Sea.
Yesterday's Lexus Chase was supposed to be a duel between our two big Gold Cup candidates – Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs – but there was disappointment as the winner's prize went for export after Walsh delivered Paul Nicholls' Tidal Bay with a late run between eventual second First Lieutenant and Flemenstar to win by a head.
Walsh's victory in the feature was the final leg of a near 82/1 treble for the Kildare-born rider.
The six-times champion jockey had earlier shone when getting a renewed run from Back In Focus to pip Aupcharlie in a photo-finish to make it a 1-2 for trainer Willie Mullins in the Topaz Novice Chase.
Walsh also collected aboard the Mullins-trained Supreme Carolina in the conditions hurdle.