Ned Buntline (left) and Urano jump the last together with Grey Monk back in third
By Donal Murphy
Ned Buntline got punters off to the perfect start on this hectic St Stephen's Day, as he took the the opening race of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, the Bookmakers Bar At Bewleys Hotel Leopardstown 4yo Maiden Hurdle.
The Noel Meade trained gelded son of Refuse To Bend was expected to get off the mark on his hurdling debut at Fairyhouse earlier this month but he found Bright New Dawn too good on that occasion.
Ridden by Paul Carberry, the 4/5 favourite (was 11/10 with Paddy Powers this morning) travelled well into the straight and he hit the front on the run-in before battling off the challenge of the Willie Mullins trained Urano by two lengths.
The Henry De Bromhead trained Grey Monk finished a further three and three parts of a length back in third under Andrew Lynch at 10/1.
Noel Meade said afterwards: "That is a bit of a weight off my back. The second horse is a good horse and it took a good horse to beat him the last day (Ally Cascade beat Urano at Thurles).
"Maybe Dessie's horse (Bright New Dawn who beatNed Buntline last time out) is very good but my fellow didn’t jump well there and 2m 2f is too far for him.
"Paul said the ground was a shade soft for him. We think he is a good horse and hopefully he is. He will improve a good bit when he learns to settle and jumps more relaxed. He is still diving a bit at hurdles.
"He will go for a novice hurdle somewhere now and it’s nice to get a win on the board."
Boylesports go 20/1 (from 33's) about the winner for the Surpreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham in March while Sean Graham's have him at just 14/1.
(Additional reporting by Gary Carson)