Jazz sends out timely message
Jazz Messenger provided Noel Meade with a much-needed tonic by landing a game victory in the Grade One Maplewood Developments Hurdle at Punchestown.
With Iktitaf fighting for his life following a schooling injury and Harchibald a late defector, Jazz Messenger took the chance to show his worth.
Tracking the pacesetting Newmill, Jazz Messenger (4-1) made his move on the turn for home and led at the final flight.
Driven out by Paul Carberry, the seven-year-old kept on strongly to beat Farmer Brown by a length and a quarter. Macs Joy, the 9-4 favourite, was third.
Meade, who also struck with Corskeagh Royale in the bumper and bagged a double at Cork, said: "He wasn't going to run as I didn't want to take on Iktitaf and the plan was to go straight for the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle. He might still go for it, depending on how he comes out of this.
"We really want to go back to try and win another Christmas Hurdle at Kempton with him.
"Harchibald will also run in the Fighting Fifth if it is good ground as he has to get a run in, but he could also go to the Bula (Boylesports International) at Cheltenham.
"I always knew Jazz was up with the best if he sorted his jumping out and that is the best he has ever jumped today."
William Hill, Paddy Power, Cashmans and VC Bet all go 20-1 about his Champion Hurdle chance, with Totesport shorter at 16-1.
Paul Nolan is another trainer in form and his good run continued with the victory of Escrea in the Volkswagen Craddockstown Novice Chase.
However, her task was made far easier by the early exit of hot favourite Rindoon, who sadly suffered a fatal fall at the third fence.
Nolan also ran Savitha, who was travelling equally as well as the winner half a mile out but made a bad mistake at the fourth-last.
The main challenge was from the pace-setting For A Song and Escrea (11-2) only got the upper hand after the last to win by one and three-quarter lengths under John Cullen.
Savitha had to settle for third.
Nolan's brother James said of the stable's one-three: "I couldn't split them beforehand and I still can't now. We will see where we go with them.
"Escrea deserved that and it was important as her owner John Crean wants to breed from her.
"Both of them could be possibles for a Listed mares' chase at Cork on December 16 rather than take on the boys at Christmas."