Carlo Biraghi jumps the last under Danny Mullins© Photo Healy Racing
Carlo Biraghi put in an impressive performance on his debut over flights, as he ran out a comfortable winner of the opener at Punchestown this afternoon, the Introducing Racing TV Maiden Hurdle.
A first runner under National Hunt rules for trainer Fozzy Stack, the son of Galileo was sent off an easy to back 12/1 chance under Danny Mullins.
Successful on debut at the Curragh in May, he was last seen finishing tenth in the Irish Derby.
Having raced in second, the bay gelding came through to lead before the last, and despite edging left before that flight, he was soon straightened up, staying on strongly to win by seven and a half lengths.
The Noel Meade trained Pienta (8/1) kept on nicely to take second under Sean Flanagan, while the 9/4 favourite Andalusa fared best of the Willie Mullins trio, another three lengths back in third.
Stack said afterwards: "I thought he was going to run out at the last but he jumped quite well up to that. We won't go to the Dublin Racing Festival because it's a bit too close, and we'll get another run into him before Cheltenham or Aintree or one of the Festivals.
"We will mix it over the summer with the Flat, and he could go for something like a Chester Cup or the Ebor.
"He stays well and will gallop all day. He settled quite well because in Leopardstown one day he ran quite keen and I was a bit worried in case we would light him up."
At the request of the Stewards, J.W. Kennedy, rider of Ocean Voyage trained by Gordon Elliott, reported to the Stewards' Secretaries that his mount was keen early on and jinked at the first hurdle. From thereon she settled and was kept towards the rear of the field and allowed to warm into her jumping and gain confidence. He added that the filly jumped the last three hurdles well and ran on past tired horses.
The Stewards fined Henry de Bromhead, trainer, E65 for failing to fit a tongue tie to Star Sapphire prior to entering the parade ring.
C.D. Maxwell, rider of Magic Sea trained by Sarah Dawson, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount hung right throughout this race and never went forward.
Additional reporting by Alan Magee