Shanes shines in hurdles win
Star bumper horse Shaneshill made an impressive start to his jumps career with an easy win in the Fairyhouse Membership 2015 Maiden Hurdle at the County Meath venue.
The 2-11 favourite dispensed with the opposition as expected to cement his position as the 7-1 market leader with Paddy Power for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and unchanged at 10s for the Supreme.
Ruby Walsh had the Willie Mullins-trained Punchestown champion bumper winner handy as Luckynumberslevin set the pace before taking it up effortlessly at the final flight.
Wearing the colours of Andrea and Graham Wylie, Shaneshill was not hard-pressed to win by four lengths from Keppols Queen.
"I'm very pleased with that. He jumped very well apart from the third last, and given his bumper form he was entitled to do that," said Mullins.
"He could go back to two miles or up in trip, and he's certainly not restricted by trip. For his pedigree he handled the ground well."
Mullins had earlier struck with Outlander (4-9 favourite), who also looked good on his hurdles bow on his first start for 574 days.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old easily landed the odds in the Christmas Party Race Day On 20th December At Fairyhouse Maiden Hurdle.
Outlander cruised into the lead at the penultimate flight and only had to be pushed out by Bryan Cooper to score by 11 lengths from Mike McCann.
In third place was Blue Bicycle, the first runner for Sandra Hughes, who took over the licence following the death of her father Dessie over the weekend.
Mullins said: "He will probably go up in trip and I'd imagine the staying novice division will be his target.
"He jumped well and I was very pleased with that after such a long lay-off."
Outlander was introduced at 14-1 with Boylesports for the Neptune and at 12s for the Albert Bartlett.
Waxies Dargle (5-2) was a smooth winner of the Premier Jump Weekend November 29th and 30th Hurdle for trainer Noel Meade and jockey Paul Carberry.
The five-year-old jumped into the lead at the second last and soon put daylight between himself and his rivals to score eased down by two and a half lengths from Digeanta.
Meade said: "He was rated to win, and he was suited by the good gallop and soft ground. He jumps those (Easyfix) hurdles better than the other ones.
"I had thought about running him in the Greatwood Hurdle but he's rated 10lb higher in England than he is here."
Aengus (3-1) gave Meade a double when scoring under Carberry's sister, Nina, in the Follow Fairyhouse On Twitter INH Flat Race.
Broadway Twist (16-1) gave trainer Liz Doyle a present on her 39th birthday when landing the Fairyhouse Schooling Grounds Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Brian O'Connell.
"That was his first handicap and he travelled brilliant. Brian said he made a bit of a mistake at the last and he had to get after him, so he may have ended up in front a bit too soon," said her partner Barry Murphy.
Tipped Up Harry (5-1) was a ready five-length winner of the 25 Euro Punter's Pack Handicap Hurdle for trainer Denise Foster.
"I'm delighted for the owner Jules Sigler as he's won four times before but that's the first time that he's seen him win," she said.
"This horse is maturing and was very relaxed today."
Paul Nolan's Triplets Joy (7-2 favourite) battled on well for 3lb claimer Kevin Sexton to outstay long-time leader Mallards In Flight by a length and a half to take the Boylesports Irish Grand National At Fairyhouse Handicap Hurdle.
Nolan said "She was closing all the way to the line at Thurles behind Mrs Mac Veale, and she won yesterday so the form was good.
"She certainly handles the ground, and you can't beat toughness. I'd like to stick to mares races, and she jumps a fence well."
However, Sexton collected a three-day ban for using his whip with excessive frequency.