Smashing result for Henry de Bromhead at Thurles
Henry de Bromhead's Smashing survived a late scare to reward favourite-backers in the Thurles Racecourse Supporters Club Chase.
Making his first appearance since impressing at Gowran Park in November, the seven-year-old grey was the 9-10 market leader to see off three talented opponents in the Listed feature.
Davy Russell sent his mount straight to the lead and for much of the two-and-a-quarter-mile journey his jumping was assured.
His task was made easier when the improving Avant Tout crashed out three fences from the finish, but he made a mess of the next fence himself.
However, Smashing soon recomposed himself and was good value for his five-length victory over Tennis Cap, with Nearly Nama'd last of three finishers.
Russell was replacing Jonathan Burke in the saddle after he was stood down for the day following a fall in the opening race.
"Its a shame Johnny missed the ride and hopefully he'll be OK, but Davy was a great sub and gave him a great ride," said De Bromhead.
"I was delighted with the way he did it, apart from the last two, but it was a competitive race. We've waited for the race since Christmas and I'm delighted we did wait as it was cancelled twice.
"We'll look at the options, but the Ryanair Chase looks a bit steep. I ran him in the wrong race last year in the Arkle, as he was lost on the better ground.
"He had previously finished fourth in the Coral Cup and I might look at the two-mile-five-furlong handicap chase (at Cheltenham).
"The handicaps at Cheltenham are almost like conditions chases now and we'll stick to either Grade Twos or Threes or handicaps."
Russell went on to secure a treble on the afternoon, scoring aboard Jimmy Mangan's Montys Meadow (5-2) in the Rock Of Cashel (C & G) Beginners Chase before completing his hat-trick on 14-1 shot Mr Eko in the Templemore Handicap Chase.
Mangan said of his winner: "He deserved that and Davy said he'd have gone round again.
"This is definitely not a bad horse and has speed and stamina. Davy said he did quicken today and three miles will also be no problem for him.
"I'll wait for next year before running him in those big handicaps and will look for a winners of one next.
"I'll also look for black type seeing as I bred him and have the mare; I might make a few bob for myself!"
Carrigmoorna Rock proved too good for Uranna in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
The betting suggested the two-and-a-half-mile heat was a match and that was the way it proved, with Robert Tyner's 7-4 chance coming home two and a quarter lengths clear of 11-8 favourite Uranna.
Tyner said: "She didn't do a whole lot out in front but she was helped by the other horse's (Uranna) mistake at the second-last.
"After riding in the first race Phillip (Enright) said the ground was very tough and she seemed to travel better when she got a bit of light on the better ground on the outer.
"She's probably the first mare to win three of those 5,000 euro bonuses (mares' bumper, mares' maiden hurdle and mares' beginners chase) and she could come back here in a fortnight for a winners' race.
"The graded race at Limerick in March is her aim and she also has a preference for nice ground."