Ontheropes began to pay back some of his hefty price tag with an impressive victory in the BetVictor Free Entry April 15th Maiden Hurdle at Tramore.
Bought for £240,000 out of the point-to-point sphere, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned runner had disappointed in bumpers at Leopardstown and Wexford.
However, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old was the 6-4 favourite for his hurdling bow and made no mistake – coming home 10 lengths clear of Spyglass Hill under a confident ride from Ruby Walsh.
“He is a big, green horse. He just wasn’t sharp enough for bumpers, but jumping is his game,” said Mullins.
“He will probably run in a few more novices hurdles, and then he might get a break before going over fences.”
The champion trainer went on to complete a treble on the card, with Paul Townend steering Class Conti to a wide-margin win in the Tom Murphy Car Sales Race Day 31st May Chase and Stops A Nation taking the closing Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares (Pro/Am) Flat Race under Patrick Mullins.
Mullins snr said: “She is a nice mare and she’ll go to Punchestown now for the mares’ bumper. She has a nice pedigree and will probably go back on the flat as well. She will be a dual-purpose mare.
“Some people were wondering would she stay, but I think she will as there is plenty of stamina on the dam’s side.”
Shimmer And Shine (7-1) dominated from the front in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle for trainer Peter Croke and jockey Andrew Ring.
Croke said: “It was the plan to try to make all. She went out in front the last day at Fairyhouse and seemed to enjoy it.
“Andrew said she jumped grand and handled the ground. We will see how she comes out of the race before making a plan.”
Kilkeaskins First was another all-the-way winner in the www.tramoreraces.ie New Website Handicap Hurdle.
Representing the father-son combination of Philip and Luke Dempsey, the 9-2 chance came home 24 lengths clear.
Philip Dempsey said: “That was grand. The ground is pretty bad out there. That is his fourth win now.
“He broke down after he won at Navan and just took a while to come back. He will probably go for something similar now.”
The David Broad-trained King’s Song was an 8-1 winner of the Vee Bistro At Tramore Racecourse Handicap Chase in the hands of Denis O’Regan.
“Today was only a prep run for the La Touche Cup at Punchestown and that is where he will go next,” said Broad.
Rank outsider Bellgrove (10-1), trained by Pat Cloke, dug deep for Danny Mullins to claim top honours in the Kasbar Waterford @ Tramore Racecourse Handicap Chase.