Mikael D'Haguenet not surprisingly came to a standstill after this slither on landing at the last
If someone asked you as early as the first fence, which of the joint favourites you'd like to be on, the answer in the vast majority of cases would have been Mikael D'Haguenet over Mount Benbulben, for the Punchestown Gift Vouchers Beginners Chase, but the bookmakers got a 'result' with neither capturing the prize in a dramatic event.
Paul Townend made his intentions known from the start, letting the sweet-jumping Mikael D'Haguenet bowl along.
In contrast, Mount Benbulben didn't jump with much fluency, but he was bang there with a real chance when eventually paying the penalty at the third last.
< Mikael D'Haguenet was soon in command but he gave his supporters heart palpations with a mistake two out.
Worse was to come though for Willie Mullins' gelding as he was brought to a standstill by slithering on landing at the last (something of a case of déjà vu in relation to his exit at the final fence in the Drinmore Chase in 2010).
The fortunate El Fontan was left to pick up the pieces, coming through under Bryan Cooper to prevail by two and three parts of a length for Dessie Hughes and owner Mrs Pat Sloan.
Willie Mullins explained of Mikael D'Haguenet: "We took the bold option of making the running. He'd been schooling well at home and I was delighted with the way he jumped earlier in the race.
"I didn't dream that the going was going to be that testing. I'd say race fitness just caught him out." (AM & EM)