Thurles glee for Mikael
Mikael D'Haguenet stamped his class on the Thurles Racecourse Hurdle to secure his first victory of the season in the hands of Mikey Fogarty.
Fogarty secured his first Cheltenham Festival winner aboard Don Poli for Willie Mullins last week and the conditional jockey teamed up with the yard again in this three-mile conditions hurdle.
It is five years since Mikael D'Haguenet claimed his Cheltenham Festival triumph in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and it has not been plain sailing for the 10-year-old since.
Making his first appearance since finishing a close third behind esteemed stable companion Hurricane Fly in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November, the veteran was trading at odds-on this morning but drifted out to 7-4 following support for his stablemate Mourad.
Mourad, sent off the 11-8 favourite, cut out much of the running under David Casey but it was clear rounding the home turn Mikael D'Haguenet had his measure and he eased clear under a confident Fogarty.
Gold Patrol was also in the mix in the straight, but while he mastered Mourad after the last, he had to be content with the runner-up spot, beaten two and a half lengths.
Mourad disappointed for the third time this season in third, with The Bishop Looney finishing last of the four runners.