Lieutenant Colonel gave Bryan Cooper a timely success in the New Year Maiden Hurdle at Fairyhouse and looked a smart prospect in doing so.
Cooper, riding for Gigginstown House Stud, has been strongly linked with the top job in the maroon and white silks after Davy Russell's retainer came to an end.
The Kerry man brought the Dessie Hughes-trained five-year-old into contention round the home turn and hit the front over the second-last hurdle.
The son of Kayf Tara, who found only the useful Vautour too good on his hurdling bow, pulled well clear to win by 14 lengths from To Choose.
Hughes and Cooper completed a double courtesy of the JP McManus-owned Off The Charts, the 4-1 co-favourite who saw out the testing trip best of all in the Special Offers In Bobbyjo Bistro Handicap Hurdle.
Layla Joan (7-4) recorded a very cosy success in the Bobbyjo Bistro Mares Maiden Hurdle.
Tudor Fashion, the 5-4 favourite, took it up turning for home but Paul Carberry was typically confident on the winner, who hit the front two out and was heavily eased for a one-length verdict.
Civena sprang a 16-1 surprise when getting the better of the well-backed Talbot Road in an exciting finish to the Ratoath Community Beginners Chase.
Favourite-backers looked likely to collect when Arthur Moore's six-year-old got his head in front before the last, but Civena rallied gamely to get back up and open her chase account by half a length.
David Casey gave Thelobstercatcher (5-1) a fine ride to deny Shellys Creek by a short head in the Fairyhouse Members Handicap Chase, making it back-to-back course wins for Pat Fahy's gelding.
Casey looked set for a double as he kicked clear on Bendanella in the Start The New Year At Fairyhouse Handicap Hurdle, but Wooly Tom and Martin Mooney had other ideas and the 8-1 shot finished with a wet sail to score by two lengths.
Cillian’s Return (2-1) landed the concluding bumper after finishing second to a Willie Mullins hotpot on his last start.