For the second day in a row, the big race at Galway was won by a late change of jockey with rider Paddy Flood substituting for Barry Geraghty on Cuan Na Grai, winner of the Guinness Galway Hurdle, in front of an Irish record crowd figure of 48,120.
Geraghty, who received a fall from Limerick Lord in the opening
beginners' chase, was taken to Galway University Hospital with fracture to his cheek and nose, providing Flood, 20, with the chance to ride his biggest career winner.
Trained by Paul Nolan, Cuan Na Grai made all the running and according to Flood 'never saw another horse thank god!', staying on strongly for a clear-cut 4l win over Shandon Star.
Afterwards, Nolan, who was recording his third win in the race in just five years, reported 'we always thought an awful lot of Cuan Na Grai but he has been a revelation on fast ground.'
He added 'we entered him for both novice hurdles at Cheltenham and he looks like being a very good horse; he still has more maturing to do.'
'I have no immediate plans but the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November is a possibility.'
Jockey Paddy Flood, 20 from Cutbush, Co Kildare and attached to the Edward O'Grady yard, was gaining just rewards for some solid riding displays in recent seasons, describing Cuan Na Grai as 'a top class horse.'
Trainer Pat Fahy recorded a double on the day, opening with Arc Lemanique who became this year's first two-time winner at the Festival when adding the St James's Gate Novice Hurdle to a maiden hurdle win on Tuesday.
Ridden by Adrian Lane, the German bred son of Hernando led from the sixth hurdle and was never headed after, although the fast finishing Coin Man failed by half-a-length win peg back the winner.
Fahy later mentioned 'Arc Lemanique is a very tough horse and seems like a real Galway horse.'
Fahy's second winner came when his Dani's Girl landed the Guinness And Oysters EBF Fillies Handicap, under Declan McDonogh.
Jessica Harrington's Gemini Lucy, out of a full sister to Jodami, has jumping in the blood and completed a hat-trick of wins in the Guinness Novice Chase, under promising 5lb claimer Andrew Leigh.
Afterwards, Harrington reported 'she is a big mare and it is a little
unusual that she likes fast ground. I've no immediate plans but she will be kept going now and may, in time, handle heavy ground.'
The opening Guinness Beginners Chase went to Frances Crowley's Nonchalant, under Ruby Walsh, who held the late challenge of Crossbarry Boy by a short head.
Afterwards, Crowley reported 'Nonchalant was entitled to win and loves that ground. I am delighted for his local owner Phillip Duffy as it is his first winner at Galway.'
David Casey was another rider to suffer an injury in this race and was taken to Galway University Hospital for x-rays on his left shoulder and collarbone.
Jockey Danny Grant lost his right to claim and gained plenty more
supporters, following his 95th career win, on board Pat Flynn's Galistic in the Guinness Toucan Brew Handicap.
Jockey Kieren Fallon rode his second winner in two days at the track, partnering Richard Fahey's well backed Bolodenka (7/2 - 3/1) to win the Arthur Guinness Handicap.