Mourad motors home
The Willie Mullins-trained Mourad swooped late and fast to claim the honours in the woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The 7-4 favourite was well supported following his recent fourth in the Hatton's Grace and Paul Townend hardly gave punters a moment of worry.
Oscar Dan Dan and Powerstation dominated the early exchanges but it was the latter who was in front turning into the straight. Townend was still travelling well though and when he gave the signal, Mourad upped a gear to take command and pull two lengths clear.
Powerstation hung on for second while Rigour Back Bob was third.
Mourad is now a 14-1 chance with William Hill for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and trainer Willie Mullins has that event firmly on his agenda.
"The race conditions suited him, although I was afraid of the heavy ground," he said.
"He will go for the stayers' hurdle at Cheltenham but will maybe have one or two runs before then if I can find a race like that. Paul gave him a smashing ride and he said that the ground was very heavy which wouldn't have suited Mourad at all."