Ashdale Bob claimed a surprise victory in the BetVictor Make Your Best Bet Novice Hurdle at Navan.

A field of seven runners went to post for a Grade Two contest better known as the Navan Novice Hurdle, with much of the pre-race attention focussing on the previously unbeaten 7-4 favourite Holymacapony, and Envoi Allen's half-brother Fighter Allen.

The latter cut out much of the running under Paul Townend, with Holymacapony close up for much of the way, before dropping out quickly before the home turn.

With Fighter Allen’s challenge petering out early in the home straight, Gabynako was left in front jumping the third flight from the finish, before Jessica Harrington’s course-and-distance winner Ashdale Bob nipped up his inside and soon opened up a commanding advantage.

A slick leap at the final-flight sealed the 14-1 shot’s six-length win, providing jockey Paddy Kennedy with the biggest success of his riding career to date.

Fakiera, partnered by the winning rider's younger brother Jack, was best of the rest in second.

Both Holymacapony and Fighter Allen were pulled up before the final obstacle.

"He was very good. He switched off lovely today, which is important with him," Kennedy said of Ashdale Bob. 

"He’s a nice horse, he improved a good bit from the last day and I think he’ll improve again on a bit of nicer ground.

"He’s a nice prospect going forward. I’d say chasing is his real game."

Sir Gerhard (4-9F) strengthened his position as ante-post favourite for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival with an impressive display in the BetVictor Flash Cashback "Future Champions" Flat Race.

A £400,000 purchase for Cheveley Park Stud after winning his only start in the point-to-point field, the five-year-old made the perfect start for his new connections when scoring by 14 lengths on his bumper debut at Down Royal in late October.

Stepping up to Listed class for a race his trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Jamie Codd had previously combined to win with the top-class pair of Samcro (2016) and Envoi Allen (2018), Sir Gerhard got the job done with relative ease.

His task appeared far from straightforward beforehand, with Letsbeclearaboutit having looked a top-class bumper horse in his own right in winning at Tipperary and Punchestown.

Gavin Cromwell's charge cut out much of the running under champion amateur Patrick Mullins, but was ultimately no match for Sir Gerhard, who took over inside the final two furlongs and passed the post with four and a half lengths in hand.

Codd said: "His work has been really good at home. You are always slightly concerned when you get to Navan in December with the ground, but he handled it. Good horses tend to handle it and he was very good.

"We’re delighted with him and we’ll roll on into the spring now."

Henry de Bromhead will consider testing the water at the highest level with Bob Olinger (1-8F) on his next start after the exciting prospect outclassed his rivals.

Impressive in winning his point-to-point and in a Gowran Park bumper last season, the five-year-old made a most encouraging start to his hurdling career when giving Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow a run for his money at Gowran last month.

On the strength of that form, the five-year-old was prohibitive odds to go one better in the Mervyn Gray Construction Maiden Hurdle and the result was never in doubt.

Sent straight to the lead by Rachael Blackmore, Bob Olinger passed the post with 14 lengths in hand, teeing him up for a potential tilt at the Grade One Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle on 10 January.

De Bromhead said: "I’m delighted with that. Obviously it’s nerve-racking when there is that kind of expectation.

"He jumped well. Rachael said ideally she would have loved a lead or a bit of company, but it’s job done.

"I’ve entered him in Naas in the two-and-a-half-mile race. We’ll see how he is, there are a few options there.

"He has a lot of pace and could drop back to two miles at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival in February, or there is also the two-mile-six-furlong race there. I’d say he is very adaptable."

Joseph O’Brien’s Fils D’oudairies (7-1) ran out an authoritative winner of the NavanRacecourse.ie Rated Novice Chase, with Donagh Meyler the winning rider.

Stoughan Cross (40-1) took the Happy Christmas And New Year To All Our Members Handicap Chase for trainer Tom Gibney and jockey Darragh O’Keeffe, while Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy landed the Irish Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle with Percy Warner (15-8).