Blackstairmountain showed his performance at Cheltenham to be all wrong with a smooth display in the Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle.

Willie Mullins' youngster was quietly fancied for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle but trailed home in 10th place that day. Second at Fairyhouse in desperate ground over Easter, he travelled sweetly throughout for Paul Townend and swept past stablemate Flat Out turning into the straight.

The 5-1 second favourite was kept up to his work to win by two and a half lengths while Flat Out held off the challenge of Sweeps Hill for second. Aintree winner General Miller was in trouble some way out while the well-backed Grey Soldier got rid of Davy Russell in the back straight.

Mullins said: 'He loves this ground. He had a really hard race at Fairyhouse and probably learned an awful lot. I was disappointed with him at Cheltenham but I think the ground has made a huge difference to him today.

'Even though he had a hard race (I decided to run him), he didn't particularly work well during the week but I thought I'd take a chance as there is no point having them well next week. Flat Out ran a fantastic race too. It's a great start.'