©Healy Racing Photos
By Alan Magee
Stone Hard completed a short-priced four-timer at Fairyhouse for champion trainer Willie Mullins when making a successful rules debut under his son Patrick.
The 4/7 favourite landed a point-to-point at Oldtown this spring for Gordon Elliott, and scored in good style here.
The Robin Des Champs gelding headed Rock N Rhythm over a furlong out, and was just pushed out to beat that rival by three and three quarter lengths.
Knockgraffon made a pleasing debut just a half-length further back in third.
The champion trainer was on the mark earlier on the card with the Ruby Walsh-ridden trio Un De Sceaux, Val De Ferbet and Arbre De Vie.
Willie Mullins said, "He's a real big chasing type and has a great cruising speed.
"He'll probably stick to bumpers this year. He's a real nice sort. Gordon (Elliott) had him for point-to-points and thought he was one of the best he had in that group.
"He doesn't do anything flashy but he gallops all day. That performance was good enough for me to get an entry (for Cheltenham).
"Patrick said he was idling but he was in control the whole time and had a lot in the tank."
(GC & AM)