Lieutenant beaten at Cork
First Lieutenant suffered a shock odds-on reverse to De Valira in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase at Cork.
Winner of the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, the Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant had made a winning debut over the bigger obstacles at Tipperary earlier this month and was sent off at 4-6 to follow up.
Davy Russell's mount was left in front when Stephanie Kate came down three out and he was far from fluent at the second-last, where Ruby Walsh seized his chance, jumping the final fence with a narrow advantage on De Valira (11-2) before holding First Lieutenant's rally by a nose.
Winning trainer James Morrissey said: "It's a shame Paul Townend, who normally rides him, couldn't be on today, but he had to go to Naas. Ruby felt he got there a bit too soon and to be honest I thought we were beaten.
"He could came back here in three weeks for another novice race, but that was his Gold Cup today and I'm delighted."
Russell felt the fall of Stephanie Kate when leading three out didn't help First Lieutenant, saying: "The one in front falling left me in front a bit too long."
King High (13-2) eased to a comfortable victory in the Follow Us On Twitter Kinsale Handicap Chase and could be sent over to the Cheltenham Open meeting for his next run.
The Eoin Doyle-trained seven-year-old had Majestic Oak for company as they jumped the second-last but soon forged clear and won by an untroubled five lengths under Shay Barry.
Doyle said: "He did it well and the first time blinkers helped him to concentrate as he idled a bit last time. I knew he'd come on a bit from the run at Gowran.
"We'll try to find something for him at Cheltenham next month as the lads (owners the B A Syndicate) are keen to go."