TWELVE months ago Paul Nicholls’ Irving approached the last with every chance in the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle but came to grief and presented the race to Purple Bay.

Things went much more smoothly last Saturday as he travelled smoothly in the group behind clear leader Byron Blue, followed Melodic Rendezvous through as he made his challenge, then quickly mastered him before drawing clear to score by seven lengths at 5/2. Zarib kept on well for third.