Recall upsets Eagle
November Handicap hero Open Eagle could finish only third on his jumping debut in the Michael Fitzpatrick Memorial Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown as the Sandra Hughes-trained Total Recall claimed victory under Bryan Cooper.
Open Eagle was unsurprisingly all the rage as the 8-13 favourite for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, making his first appearance since sauntering clear in the Doncaster mud on the final day of the last year's British Flat season.
The six-year-old travelled well for most of the two-and-a-half-mile journey, but did not jump with great fluency and although he closed on the leaders in the straight, his effort eventually petered out.
Point-to-point winner Total Recall was an 11-2 chance having finished third on his first start over hurdles before finishing fourth in a Thurles bumper and he found plenty for pressure to get the better of Oscar Knight by two and a half lengths.
"He's very tough. He needs a good gallop so Bryan went on - he stays forever," said Hughes.
"We bought him after he won his point-to-point. That was a good performance as they went a hell of a gallop and he quickened up after the last.
"He doesn't mind that ground and will have no problem stepping up in trip.
"We'll see how he is after that and then make a plan."