RACEGOERS at Cork yesterday were treated to a grandstand finish by two veterans of the game.
Former Cheltenham heroes Sublimity and Newmill slugged it out in the McCarthy Insurance Group Hurdle, and it was the former who made the most of a significant drop in class as he got back to winning ways with a workmanlike victory.
Winner of the Champion Hurdle in 2007 but successful only once since, the Robbie Hennessy-trained veteran travelled with his old dash at the rear of the four-runner field as Newmill opened up a huge early advantage.
Ridden for the first time by Andrew Lynch, the 11-year-old had closed the gap going to the third-last but 2006 Champion Chase winner Newmill proved game in front and the pair were upsides jumping the last.
Sublimity had to fight from there but just had the extra edge in speed on the run to the line, prevailing by half a length as the 11/10 favourite.
"Today was one of my best successes despite having won a Grade One," Hennessy said. "It's nearly as good as winning at Cheltenham as he had a bad suspensory injury last year and we weren't sure if he would run again.
"These type of races are his future. There is a race at Naas in a few weeks for him (Limestone Lad Hurdle) although it's over two miles, three. The Irish Champion Hurdle is also a possibility."
Should Sublimity run in the Limestone Lad there is a strong possibility he will clash with Dunguib.
Lynch doubled up as Byerley Bear ran out a smooth winner of the McCarthy Insurance Group Maiden Hurdle on his jumping debut. The winner looks another nice prospect for Henry de Bromhead and had little trouble in accounting for well-backed 6/4 favourite King Of The Refs by a length and a quarter.
"I'm delighted with that. I recommended him to the owner (Herb Stanley) after he won his bumper here," said De Bromhead. "He stays well, jumps great and will want further in time."
Morning Supreme, fifth in the 2009 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, got off the mark at the second time of asking over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare had held every chance when coming down at Thurles on her debut over the bigger obstacles and, again bowling along in front for Paul Townend, she made no mistake this time. Winner of three of her four starts over hurdles, the 4/6 favourite cruised home a distance clear of runner-up Clever Creation.
"She appeared to learn from the last day, but she did get things very much her own way today," said Mullins. "I'll keep her to mares' contests if I can and she'll go for a winners' race next. She's a young man's ride!"
The action got under way with a mares' handicap hurdle which proved a real family affair as it went the way of Kylebeg Krystle -- trained and ridden by Denis Hogan and owned by his father Martin.
Instant Pur sprang a surprise to take the other maiden hurdle on the card for former Irish international showjumper Paddy Quinlan, who trains near Ballymore Eustace in Co Kildare, while the Liam Cusack-trained Majestic Oak showed his battling qualities to take the handicap chase in the hands of Paddy Flood.
The in-form Nina Carberry rode her fourth winner in as many days when guiding Charlie Swan's Fasolo to a hard-fought success in the closing bumper.