River wins the last at Leopardstown
Mullaghanoe River (outside) comes to catch Wedding Present close home
(Healy Racing Photos)
The 4yo son of Beneficial won his point-to-point on his second start at Laurencetown in early May and then finished second behind Thunder And Roses at Naas on his racecourse debut in October.
Having opened at 6/1 on-course, the Patricia Hunt owned gelding was backed into 9/2 at the off.
Having raced in mid-division for much of the contest he made headway into fifth, four furlongs from home.
He came to challenge Wedding Present two furlongs out and he was ridden inside the final furlong before he kept on well to lead close home and win by half a length at the line.
< Wedding Present had to settle for second at 14/1 for trainer Sean O’Brien & jockey Eoin O'Brien while Thekingofconnemara (4/1) was a further four and three parts of a length back in third under Mikey Fogarty for Liz Doyle.
Noel Meade said afterwards: "I was disappointed with him the first day and he wouldn’t have won at any trip. Maybe it was the ground and he is probably still a bit innocent.
"I’d say he will go hurdling in the spring as he will go over fences next season."
The winner was purchased for £135,000 at the Brightwells Cheltenham National Hunt Sale on May 25th.
After the race the Stewards suspended Eoin O'Brien, rider of the runner-up Wedding Present, for ten days.
He was ajudged to have used his whip above shoulder level and failing to give his mount sufficient time to respond.
(Additional reporting by Alan Magee)
The attendance on Paddy Power Chase day at Leopardstown, day two of the four-day Christmas Festival meeting, was down over 8% at 15,130 compared to 16,507 on the same day 12 months ago.