Sadler's Risk stars in Punchestown triumph
Sadler's Risk got the better of a protracted duel with Lord Scoundrel to claim top honours in the Irish Daily Star Chase at Punchestown.
Trainer Gordon Elliott had claimed the last five renewals of the Grade Three prize, with the last two going to sidelined Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack.
This time around the Cullentra handler fielded Galway Plate hero Lord Scoundrel, who was the 11-8 favourite to get back on the winning trail having come to grief at the second-last in the Kerry National at Listowel last month.
Ruby Walsh sent the seven-year-old straight to the lead from the off, with the Henry de Bromhead-trained 7-4 chance Sadler's Risk his closest pursuer from flag-fall.
The pair raced clear of the field throughout and Sadler's Risk and David Mullins hit the front before the home turn.
To his credit, Lord Scoundrel battled back between the final two fences, but de Bromhead's charge winged the last to seal a five-and-a-half-length success.
The Knockeen-based trainer was completing a big-race double having landed the preceding Buck House Novice Chase with Three Stars.
Former de Bromhead inmate Smashing was bitterly disappointing on his first start for Mouse Morris.
A buoyed de Bromhead said: "I'm delighted with that. He did it really nicely and it was a super ride from David.
"He was in right at the weights and the handicapper got it spot-on.
"He'll probably go for the James Nicholson (JNwine.com Champion Chase) now and we'll see how he gets on in that.
"He jumped really well. I thought he got close to a couple but that's his style. He picked up when he asked him to and he's got a lot of class.
"That was his first test today and now we'll try him in the north (Down Royal).
"Unfortunately he's better going right-handed than left. He really struggles going left-handed.
"He probably won't run on winter ground but I'll have to speak to Roger (Brookhouse, owner)."
Mullins said: "He was a great ride the whole way. He did everything right and conserved everything he could.
"He really quickened up over the last two and met them spot-on. He's in great form and credit to Henry."