HENRY de Bromhead’s Inthepocket displayed class and courage when winning the rearranged Tote Navan Novice Hurdle at Naas.

Owned by JP McManus, the five-year-old had made a very stylish winning debut at Wexford but faced a hike in class to Grade 2 company.

Gordon Elliott fielded three likely contenders in Three Card Brag, Absolute Notions and Deeply Superficial and along with the eventual winner, the four had it between them from a long way out.

Rachael Blackmore always looked to have the Elliott trio covered on Inthepocket (9/4), and after finding a gap between Three Card Brag and Absolute Notions when they bypassed the last flight due to low sun, she looked sure to win easily.

Inthepocket went several lengths clear on the bridle but Blackmore could feel his stride shortening, giving Three Card Brag another chance.

The gap was closing with every stride as the line approached in tiring ground, but Inthepocket clung on to win by a neck.

Paddy Power cut the winner to 12/1 from 25s for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in March.

“He jumps well and the last two hurdles being out wasn’t a help, but maybe it wasn’t a help to any of them. That was a good performance,” said Frank Berry, McManus’ racing manager.

“He’s entered in the Lawlors Novice Hurdle back here on January 8th, so we’ll see how he is.”