One-time Derby favourite High Definition made a successful start to his jumping career in the opening race of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown.
The Galileo colt looked every inch a Classic contender in the making after charging home to win the Beresford Stakes as a two-year-old, but had failed to get his head in front in 12 subsequent starts.
However, he has been placed in the Dante at York, the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and the Coronation Cup at Epsom and brought serious class to proceedings in the All About Sunday Maiden Hurdle.
Making his first start for Joseph O’Brien, having previously been trained by his father Aidan, High Definition (9-2) was sent straight to the lead by JJ Slevin, who appeared keen to ensure the two-mile contest was a searching test of stamina.
The four-year-old was not entirely convincing in the jumping department racing down the back straight, but remained in front turning for home and with the final flight omitted he kept up the gallop on the run-in to score by four and a quarter lengths from Jetara, with 4-5 favourite Parmenion only third.
Coral cut High Definition to 14-1 from 25-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
O’Brien said: “It was a nice start over hurdles for him. On the whole he put up a good enough round of jumping. He was a bit green at a couple and having to make the running on his first run over hurdles wasn’t ideal. He went particularly right at one in the back.
“There seemed to be plenty of well-fancied horses in the race. The second was a very good filly in bumpers and Willie’s (Mullins) was well fancied in third.
“We’ve had him since October. The plan was to come here for a maiden and we were happy with his schooling at home.
“He was a high-class Flat horse so you would be hoping he can make it into Graded company over hurdles.”
Considering future plans, the trainer added: “Obviously we would be looking at Cheltenham, but he would have to run somewhere between now and then.
“We’ll see how he is after this and speak with the owners before making a plan. The Dublin Racing Festival is an option, but whether we want to go straight into that class or take baby steps we’ll have to see.”