Canyon's two in row
Nichols is winner of Morgiana again as he proves his stamina
As subs go, Nichols Canyon isn't a bad one, is he? A winner of the Morgiana Hurdle last season and still only a six-year-old, Nichols Canyon was probably fourth in the pecking order of Willie Mullins' remaining entries for the race earlier in the week, but with Annie Power, Faugheen and Vroum Vroum Mag all having varying reasons for not running, Nichols Canyon duly obliged.
And it was emphatic too. Ridden by Ruby Walsh, Nichols Canyon had 12 lengths to spare over the talented Jer's Girl in the wind-up
Without trying to second guess Mullins, it would appear that the Hattons Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse might be the preference for Nichols Canyon and afterwards the trainer suggested that he would step up in trip following his win in the stamina-testing two-miler.
Visibility was poor throughout the day at Punchestown as the fog played havoc for onlookers and commentator Dessie Scahill but Henry de Bromhead was naturally thrilled with his team in the Craddockstown Novice Chase as he filled the first three places and in the order predicted by the bookmakers.
Already a fancy for the Arkle at Cheltenham, Identity Thief impressed his jockey Bryan Cooper, and although only a length separated the winner and Ordinary World at the finish, it was a snug success for the Grade One winning hurdler who was made a smooth transition to larger obstacles. Attribution was three lengths back in third.
De Bromhead also took the maiden hurdle with Monalee but he was out of luck in the other Grade Two Novice Chase as A Toi Phil instigated a double for Ruby Walsh.
Now trained by Gordon Elliott, A Toi Phil was overlooked by Bryan Cooper, Gigginstown's retained jockey, but he could only finish third as Elliott sent out a 1-2 with Jetstream Jack back in second.
Gigginstown were also responsible for a very smart winner of the bumper as Samcro lived up to his billing under Jamie Codd.
Also trained by Elliott, Samcro's only previous outing was to win a point-to-point for Colin Bowe and the four-year-old was then sold at the Tattersalls Chelteham Sale for £335,000 to Gigginstown.
Taking on previous winner Arctic Light, Samcro was getting an allowance for not being a previous winner on the track but he didn't need it as he cruised to victory and recorded a facile nine-and-a-half length success.
Despite some firms already placing Samcro into the betting for Cheltenham's novice hurdles, he is likely to be lightly raced and kept to bumpers this season.
There was a fitting victory for fledging trainer Madeleine Tylicki, who only took out her licence in the summer, as First To Boogie became her very first winner in the penultimate race of the afternoon.
Tylicki is the sister of Freddy Tylicki, who suffered life-changing injuries in a fall at Kempton three weeks ago and she was naturally thrilled with the victory.
"It's my first winner and a very special one obviously. It will put a smile on the family's face again so I'm absolutely delighted," she said.
"I'm very grateful for the support and the messages, it is very uplifting for Freddy. He's very thankful. It's only three weeks tomorrow, it's a tough time. He's very determined and tough, he showed that in his career as a jockey.
"I'm absolutely confident that he will fight through this."