Lieutenant Colonel wins well

Neptune sixth Lieutenant Colonel ran out an impressive winner of the Grade Two Coolmore Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

It was the 5/1 chance's first start since finishing sixth to Faugheen in the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Festive Felon and Balbir Du Mathan shared pace-making duties to three out where Le Vent D'Antan went on but he was soon challenged by Lieutenant Colonel.

A mistake at the last put paid to any chance Le Vent D'Antan had and Lieutenant Colonel strode away to score by 10 lengths under Brian O'Connell.

Winning trainer Dessie Hughes said: "He's a smashing horse and he ran well in the Neptune at Cheltenham

"He was a bit green there and he ran off the last bend a bit, but we were very happy with the run.

"Coming away from Cheltenham we didn't think we'd run him again, but he's done so well physically we said we'd take a chance and he was a better horse today.

"He has enough pace for two miles and he gets two and a half.

"He's only five so we might leave him over hurdles for next year and we've got quite a few to go novice chasing, so we'll give him another year to mature.

"With his pace, he could run in the better races, something like the Hatton's Grace back here."

There was drama at the start when the well-fancied Renneti dug his toes in for the first attempted start and then flatly refused to start when the tapes went up again.

Noel Meade's talented Apache Stronghold had to settle for fourth on his first run since November.