Blue Lord provided Ireland’s champion jockey Paul Townend with the perfect comeback on his first mount back from injury when winning Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse.
Townend had been out of action since dislocating his shoulder in a fall at Listowel in September.
He had hoped to be back last weekend for a host of Willie Mullins-trained big guns but gave himself an extra week just to be on the safe side.
Blue Lord (8-11 favourite), who would have been second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival but for falling at the last when well clear of the eventual runner-up, had clearly done plenty of schooling at home.
He barely put a foot wrong on his way to winning, seeing off stablemate El Barra by five and a half lengths.
“It’s nice to be back and especially on the likes of him,” said Townend.
“He was very straightforward and he loves a fence. He’s matured a lot both physically and mentally.
“He did very well during the summer and he’s looking for the next fence to take it on.”