On his final day as a novice chaser and returning to the scene of his remarkable triumph in the Irish Grand National, I Am Maximus registered a Grade 1 success in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

The J.P. McManus-owned chaser was taking a significant drop down in trip here, but on the flip side, he was rated 158 against these novice chasers and he was always going to hold a big chance if able to keep tabs with the pace for long enough. A bad mistake at the ninth threatened to derail him, but he was able to the ground back up for Jody McGarvey.

Letsbeclearboutit had jumping well in front and led both I Am Maximus and Found A Fifty into the straight, but was overtaken by that duo going to the last and the winner always seemed likely to see it out best in the soft ground conditions from here.

“He won his maiden (over fences) in nice circumstances here and now he’s won his second race on his last day as a novice,” said Mullins, recording his first win in this race since Valseur Lido in 2014. “He’s a total character this horse. Jody gets on well with him and Paul gave him a great ride in the National. He looks a class horse now rather than just a handicapper so we might have to make different plans now.

“We were hoping that he might have a chance but it was more in hope and it was more about running here on his last day as a novice. The horse has clearly improved from the last day and has a clear liking for Fairyhouse.

“He has a funny action when you look at him head on and I’d imagine softer ground is more to his liking. He obviously likes this track as well. I thought he was beaten turning for home and to do what he did in the straight shows he’s a good horse and he has a little class when he needed it.

On future plans, Mullins added: “I imagine this year we were looking at maybe going for the English National so whether we change him to Grade 1 races now I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to Frank and JP and see what they’d like to do.”

It was a fourth Grade 1 success for McGarvey, whose first came for both this owner and trainer with Great Field. He said: “Coming here I thought I had a big chance. He’s an Irish National horse running in novice company. Obviously Mark is first rider and he opted to ride Perceval Legallois so to get the call to ride this fella for Willie and J.P. was great. We’ve had a bit of success before. Anytime you get the call to ride in a Grade 1 is great but to win is just the icing on the cake.

“He is probably not the most straightforward of characters at times but in fairness, he put his best foot forward today and I knew turning in that he’d get to the line well so I was just keen to keep a bit of company jumping the last two.

“That’s three Grade 1 winners for me with Willie Mullins and I’m just grateful to be getting on these horses.”

The winner was quoted at 33/1 for the Gold Cup and ranged between 12/1 and 25/1 for the Grand National.