Bachasson catches the eye in Thurles double for Mullins
Willie Mullins and Paul Townend completed a double at Thurles, where Bachasson made an impressive start to his campaign with a dominant display in the Listed Chase and Ainsi Va La Vie opened her account over obstacles by winning the Mares Maiden Hurdle.
Just four runners went to post for the feature event in Co Tipperary, but the Listed contest did not lack interest, with Bachasson taken on by Val De Ferbet, Charmix and the long-absent Apache Stronghold.
Val De Ferbet took the quartet along for the first half of the two-mile-six-furlong contest before 8/11 favourite Bachasson was given his head by Paul Townend and he quickly built up a significant lead.
Sporting the colours made famous by Un De Sceaux, the market leader rounded the home turn with his rivals well beaten off and negotiated the remaining two fences to score by 24 lengths.
Val De Ferbet was a clear second, while Grade One winner Apache Stronghold, which had been sidelined by injury since the spring of 2015, just beat Charmix for third place.
Townend said: "He was always a good jumper and I thought he was much stronger there. If he can build on that, he has a good future. Val De Ferbet isn't a bad yardstick and he beat him out of sight. I was very taken by it.
"He can go to three miles, but he's not slow and has plenty options. They'll have plenty of fun with him."
Ainsi Va La Vie, a three-time bumper winner, could finish only third when odds-on for her hurdling debut at Galway last month, but rewarded those who kept the faith with a comprehensive 13-length success over the well-backed Martello Park.
Townend said: "The further she went the happier I was getting on her. When she got a bit of room, that's when she jumped into the bridle and she put it to bed quick."
Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: "She was entitled to do that on her bumper form. The sky's the limit for her."
Mullins and Townend suffered a surprise reverse in the opening Beginners' Chase, with 2/5 favourite Asthuria having to make do with the runner-up spot behind 7/1 shot Billy's Hope and Robbie Power.
Winning trainer Jessica Harrington said: "I didn't think she'd beat the favourite, but she is a good mare on her day."
The Gordon Elliott-trained Burren Life comfortably justified 9/10 favouritism in the Novice Hurdle under Jack Kennedy.
"He jumped and travelled great and did it very easily in the end," said Kennedy. "He can go further (in trip) and he'll definitely be a nicer horse in time when he jumps a fence."