Il Fenomeno held off the challenge of Run With The Wind to land the Buy Your 2012 Annual Badge Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown.
Sent off the 15-8 joint favourite under Davy Russell, Il Fenomeno had a real battle on his hands after the last as Run With The Wind tried to grab the glory.
Il Fenomeno proved game for the challenge, though, and Noel Meade's charge just hung on by a neck at the line.
Meade said: "He was bought at the Arc sale last year. We didn't want to win an ordinary race last season with him and lose his novice status. We took a shot at some good races with him.
"We think he's a nice horse, he's been very genuine and straight-up at home in everything he's done.
"Davy said he fought for him well. He's come back with a bit of a cut, but hopefully it's not too serious. He was probably a bit fresh and got a bit of a knock at the first I'd say."
Steps To Freedom put up an impressive performance to land the Grade Three Ryan's Cleaning Events Specialists Hurdle.
Winner of a Fairyhouse maiden event last month, the Jessica Harrington-trained Steps To Freedom was sent off the 11-8 favourite for this two-mile event.
The five-year-old was far from foot-perfect in his hurdling but jockey Robbie Power had a double handful coming down to the last.
Sailors Warn tried to make a race of it but Steps To Freedom just had too many guns and came home a comfortable victor.