CHIEFJustice got the better of a pulsating duel with stablemate Coeur Sublime to claim top honours in the Grade 3 30 Euros Free Bet baroneracing.com Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Having beaten subsequent Royal Ascot runner-up and St Leger third Southern France on his sole flat start before making a successful start to his jumping career at Down Royal, Coeur Sublime was the 8/11 favourite to follow up in this two-mile contest under Bryan Cooper.
The Cheveley Park Stud-owned Chief Justice had an experience edge, having won his first three starts over hurdles before finishing second in the Wensleydale Hurdle at Wetherby and he was a 5/1 shot in the hands of Davy Russell.
It was clear on the run to the final flight that Gordon Elliott’s pair had it between them and after both horses gave their all on the run-in, they flashed by the post almost as one before the judge confirmed Chief Justice the winner by a short-head.
The front-running Lever Du Soleil was best of the rest in third.
Thriller! Chief Justice and Coeur Sublime, both from the @gelliott_racing stable, flash past the line together in a fantastic finish to the Grade 3 @BarOneRacing Juvenile Hurdle at @Fairyhouse: pic.twitter.com/zvk3B221jm— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 2, 2018
Elliott said: “The other horse (Coeur Sublime) was a bit unlucky as he got a bit under the second-last and the other lad got first run on him.
“The winner gave him 7lbs so it was a fair performance.
“I thought Coeur Sublime was the horse to beat, but this lad (Chief Justice) is a bit of a monkey and obviously has plenty up his sleeve.”
RaceBets cut Chief Justice to 25/1 from 40/1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, while easing the runner-up to 20/1 from 16/1 for the same race.
READ THE FULL FAIRYHOUSE REPORT IN NEXT WEEKEND'S EDITION OF THE IRISH FIELD