Inish Island (right) heads Moyas Charm going to the last in the second at Downpatrick
©Healy Racing Photos
The Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick developed into a tactical battle and Paul Townend struck first and decisively aboard Inish Island to land the spoils.
Willie Mullins' representative, having his initial start for the Carlow yard, sat behind the pace-setter, Moyas Charm, and the attractive chestnut was always travelling well.
Townend went for home at the last and he was quickly followed by the Davy Russell-ridden favourite, Torn Asunder.
However Inish Island, conceding weight all round as a bumper winner, kept up the gallop well to triumph by three and three parts of a length.
Mullins said: "He jumped very slick. He has plenty of experience which he benefited from. He looks a nice chaser in the making and he'll stay at that sort of trip.
"He's a lot better on grass than on the gallops. The staff have done a wonderful job on the ground here, it's nice ground."
Susan and Hazel Flanagan, two of the successful owners were in attendance and they are sisters from Kildare.
Meanwhile Mullins was also looking ahead to Clonmel tomorrow and he said: "Tarla jumps well and we'll take our chance. She'll mix-it hurdling and chasing this season. It looks a good race (the Grade 3 T A Morris Memorial Mares Novice Chase)." (MG & EM)