The experienced, 130-rated Jetara captured the listed William Hill Epic Value Mares Novice Hurdle at Punchestown for Jessica Harrington and Seán O’Keeffe.
Gerry McGrath’s home-bred Walk In The Park mare powered clear on the run-in to slam A Penny A Hundred by six lengths.
Harrington said “She might get an entry for the (Grade Three) race in Leopardstown, but that might be a bit hot. There’s one at the end of January. Or she could go to England — it might be easier over there. But her main aim is the Grade One mares’ novice in Fairyhouse at Easter.”
Willie Mullins dominated the rest of the card, completing a fine treble with Embassy Gardens, Blizzard Of Oz, and the long absent Elixir D’ainay, having his first run since the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.
The Sean Mulryan-owned Embassy Gardens, made an impressive transition to chasing when outpointing Lets Go Champ in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.
The seven-year-old Shantou gelding jumped impeccably, settled better than during his hurdling career and, after his nearest pursuer made a mistake at the final fence, went away to score by 13 lengths.
In contrast, the champion jockey admitted: “He jumped every hurdle differently but has a good jump in him and there’s plenty of room for improvement,” after Blizzard Of Oz, placed in a Grade Two bumper in Aintree, made a successful hurdling debut in the William Hill Play responsible Maiden Hurdle, digging deep to see off market rival Killaney King by two lengths.
Townend added: “It’s hard work in that ground. He went from travelling to flat out very quickly but, in fairness to him, he toughed it out. He’d definitely appreciate nicer ground.”
Mullins will take particular satisfaction from the victory, after 1,372 days off the track, of 4-5 favourite Elixir D’ainay (Mark Walsh) in the William Hill Lengthen Your Odds Hurdle.
Now a nine-year-old, he jumped to the front at the third and, ultimately, kept Whimsy at bay by two and a quarter lengths.
Frank Berry, representing owner JP McManus, said: “It’s great to get him back and full credit must go to Willie and his team. He had very good form before he got injured and, hopefully, the wheels will stay on. Willie had him entered for a beginners chase recently, so I’d say that’s the path he’ll follow now.”
Back into 9-4 favourite, Spillane’s Tower, trained by Jimmy Mangan, opened his account over fences when getting the better of Firm Footings in a good battle for the William Hill Ireland Rated Novice Chase, the pair, separated by a head, forging nine lengths clear of long-time leader Captain Conby.
He was the first leg of a double for jockey Mark Walsh and sparked a treble for owner McManus, completed when the Philip Rothwell-trained Duffys Getaway (11-2) won the 80-102 handicap by 10 lengths.
“He had two great runs and delivered today,” Mangan said of Spillane’s Tower. “It turned into a sprint. But he’s not slow and has a bit of class.”
Gordon Elliott provided another winning favourite when the Gigginstown-owned Kish Bank, winner of a Tinahely point-to-point last month, stayed on dourly for Harry Swan to take the bumper.
“He’s a grand horse,” said Elliott. “I took a bit of a risk running him back so soon, but you mightn’t see him again this season and, if you do, it’ll probably be a in grade hurdle — he’s a horse for the future.”