Home By The Lee proved his surprise victory at Navan last month was no fluke with a battling success in the Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Joseph O'Brien’s charge was a widely unconsidered 28-1 shot for the Grade Two Lismullen Hurdle in mid-November, but knuckled down to see off the strong-travelling Bob Olinger, with Ashdale Bob and dual Stayers’ Hurdle hero Flooring Porter back in third and fourth.

All four were again in action in this three-mile Grade One, with Bob Olinger the marginal favourite to provide Henry de Bromhead with victory in a race named in memory of his late son, just ahead of Flooring Porter at 2-1.

The latter adopted his customary pacesetting role under Danny Mullins, while Bob Olinger was given a more patient ride under Rachael Blackmore.

But it became clear leaving the back straight that both of the market principals were in trouble, with Flooring Porter picked up by both 7-1 shot Home By The Lee and Ashdale Bob, while Bob Olinger found little once push came to shove.

Ashdale Bob looked to be travelling best of all on the approach to the final flight, but it was Home By The Lee who saw out the distance best under JJ Slevin to score by three lengths.

Paddy Power cut the winner to 6-1 from 20-1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle, a race in which he finished sixth last season.

Danny Mullins was suspended for five days and forfeited his race fee after the stewards deemed he had stopped racing, allowing Flooring Porter to be pipped for third by Meet and Greet. Mullins said he had briefly eased off to check his mount's health after a change of stride.

O'Brien said: "I was actually worried how well he was travelling through the race because he never does travel well. I thought he was going to waste too much energy travelling and jumping well but he’s a really good stayer.

"He keeps finding and even when he got to the front, he pricked his ears again.

"I was surprised he beat Bob Olinger in Navan but he really was going well. He was discounted in the betting but we hoped he’d be placed and then come here.

"He’s always been a fairly good horse. He was a good novice chaser and then lost his confidence jumping fences and we came back hurdling.

"He’ll probably go straight to Cheltenham now for the Stayers’. He likes getting into a nice rhythm and wasn’t beaten a million miles in it last year. He looks a better horse this year."

Deep Cave had earlier lunged late to provide De Bromhead with a welcome tonic in the opening Savills Maiden Hurdle.

The Knockeen handler failed to saddle a winner across the first two days of the Christmas Festival and less than an hour before day three got under way, he was forced to withdraw his Cheltenham Gold Cup hero A Plus Tard from the featured Savills Chase on veterinary advice.

Deep Cave, a £235,000 purchase after winning an Irish point-to-point, shaped with significant promise when runner-up on his hurdling debut at Punchestown last month, though, and was an 11-4 chance to go one better.

Lot Of Joy looked likely to provide Willie Mullins with yet another winner following his Tuesday's six-timer at the Foxrock track after taking over the lead from Firm Footings.

But the 6-5 favourite wandered under pressure after the final flight and Rachael Blackmore conjured a late run from Deep Cave to get up and score by half a length.

Rachael Blackmore (L) and Henry De Bromhead after winning the Savills Maiden Hurdle

De Bromhead said: "He's a nice horse and we always liked him. I thought he was going to win in Punchestown and then he just got outbattled.

"Davy (Russell) felt he went a bit soon the last day, so we said we’d take our time. I’m delighted for the owners who are new to the game.

"We’ll look to the spring and see what is there."

Jack Kennedy and Maxxum on their way to winning the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle

Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy combined to win the following two races with Sam’s Choice and the fast-improving Maxxum respectively.

Kennedy delivered 8-1 shot Sam’s Choice with a well-timed challenge to secure top honours in the Irish Daily Star Christmas Handicap Hurdle before 11-4 favourite Maxxum routed his rivals in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle to supplement a similarly dominant success at Navan last month.

The latter was cut to 4-1 from 16-1 by Betfair for the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival.

"In fairness, Jack said to run Sam’s Choice in a big field. He followed them around and it worked out well," said Elliott.

"We thought Maxxum was well handicapped when he came to us and we’re very happy with him. He’s going the right way.

"He shouldn’t have much problem getting into the Pertemps Final now!"

Gentlemansgame (2-1) made a successful debut over regulation fences in the Ballymaloe Relish Beginners Chase under Darragh O'Keeffe, proving eight lengths too strong for 10-11 favourite I Am Maximus.

Winning trainer Mouse Morris said: "He fiddled a few which was good when he got in a bit close and the faster he was going, the better he was jumping. He'll come on plenty from that.

"Three miles is his trip and he’ll have to go into Graded races now. He might come back here for the Dublin Racing Festival.

"You only have to look at him and you can’t help loving him. He’s the kind of horse I really like."

For the second afternoon running Willie and Patrick Mullins combined to win the concluding bumper with a short-priced favourite.

Ile Atlantique, who finished third over hurdles in France on his only previous outing, was a 4-7 shot for the Midland Legal Solicitors Flat Race and knuckled down to beat Feronily by just over two lengths.

Willie Mullins said: "He’s a nice sort and is just learning on the job. He was very green turning for home and when Patrick asked him it took a while for the penny to drop up the straight.

"I think he’s championship bumper class so he’ll be heading down that road.

"He’ll probably come back here for the Dublin Racing Festival."

Meanwhile, in Limerick, Allegorie De Vassy strengthened her position as ante-post favourite for the Mares' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with a bloodless victory.

A dual winner over hurdles at Fairyhouse last season after joining Willie Mullins from France, the five-year-old was a 1-2 favourite to make a successful switch to fences in the Grade Two McMahons Builders Providers Irish EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase.

Ridden by Sean O’Keeffe on her first competitive appearance in 333 days, Allegorie De Vassy was sent straight to the lead and was particularly impressive in the jumping department for much of the race.

Malina Girl gave vain chase in the straight and the leader was a little clumsy at the final two obstacles, but was ultimately in a league of her own as she passed the post with 19 lengths in hand.

O’Keeffe said: "I’m very happy with her and she is very enthusiastic about her job. She winged the first two fences, loves to get on with it, so I said I’d let her go along in front. I was trying to slow her down all the time really.

"She has a very big jump in her, has loads of scope and is a big mare. She was brave at the second-last but will have learned a bit jumping the last two fences and that will stand to her the next day. She put in a good round of jumping other than that.

"There is a nice engine there and hopefully (she) can continue progressing over fences."

Watch the Leopardstown Christmas Festival live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 1pm until Friday