Juan De Gracia opened his account at the third attempt and landed a gamble in the process in the Fairyhouse Vets promoting Equine Health Maiden Hurdle.

Henry de Bromhead's six-year-old was out with the washing on his course and distance debut, but shaped with more promise when seventh on his next appearance at Clonmel.

As big as 8-1 on Sunday morning, Juan De Gracia was sent off the 4-1 second-favourite and was travelling strongly towards the front end rounding the home turn.

Odds-on market leader Benemeade loomed up as a big threat in the straight, but Juan De Gracia was slicker at the last couple of obstacles and dug deep on the run-in under Andrew Lynch to score by a length and a half.

De Bromhead said: "That was super. He's just taken years. We bought him as a four-year-old at the Derby Sale and I thought he'd be ready to rock and roll the next spring but it's taken time.

"In fairness to Alan (Potts, owner) he said to leave him. I had decided last year that he was no good but he came back this year a stronger horse.

"He's ultimately a chaser and it's nice that he's done that.

"It didn't look the greatest maiden hurdle on form. Andrew was pleased with him the last day at Clonmel when he ran well and got a bit tired.

"We thought he'd improve from that and if he did that he'd have a chance."