Mastermind, right, hits the front over the last
©Healy Racing Photos
By Michael Graham
Mastermind stayed on best in tough conditions at Gowran Park to reward his backers at 20/1 in the opening three-year-old maiden hurdle.
He looked to be travelling best as he closed on Randalls Ur Poet between the final two flights.
The son of Nathaniel hit the front under Denis O'Regan at the last and kept on well to post a victory by five lengths.
Randalls Ur Poet, who had gone for home approaching the home straight, had to settle for second at 9/1.<Mastermind overturned Fairyhouse form with Randalls Ur Poet earlier in the month when they finished sixth and third respectively.
Kuraka, the 8/11 favourite, could make no impression on the winner in third having been less than fluent in his hurdling in the early stages. He was beaten 10 and a half lengths by Mastermind.
Davy Russell, rider of Kuraka, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount did not handle the ground.
Trainer Charles O'Brien said: "That was nice and he had a good first run (over hurdles) at Fairyhouse. He was a little bit free in Fairyhouse so we put the hood on him and it seems to have worked well and he switched off well today.
"He's not a bad horse but I was a bit concerned about the ground and Denis (O'Regan) said if it was the last race, he might have been in a bit of trouble but was able to find fresh ground all the way around today.
"There aren't a huge range of options for the three year olds but we'll look to the usual sort of programme and go for a winners' race next."
Denis O'Regan added: "The ground is actually too deep for him. He had a lovely run in Fairyhouse the last day - he was very keen and we tried to switch him off and it took at least three furlongs to switch him off the last day.
"Charles has taken his time with him, he has done a good job with him. He jumped well the last day and I was confident enough to sit that bit closer today and he had a hood on which kind of made the difference. He switched off well today.
"They did go quick and I thought he could get very tired late on so I kind of kept sitting on him and he kind of stayed on and the rest of them died. He winged the last and I think he has won well enough in the end. It was nice that he ran on well from two out. He could be a nice enough horse.
"It's very, very heavy and it is tough going on them and they are only three-year-olds. He might not get away with it again on such heavy ground but it was great he won today."<Mastermind was a first winner over jumps for sire Nathaniel who was a double Group One winner on the flat.
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes