Capodanno upset better-fancied stablemate Gaillard Du Mesnil to complete a Naas treble for champion trainer Willie Mullins on Thursday.
A dual Grade 1 winner over hurdles last season, Gaillard Du Mesnil was a short-priced favourite for his reappearance and fencing debut in the BetVictor Beginners Chase.
The 4/11 shot jumped well and travelled comfortably for much of the race, but came under pressure in the home straight and ultimately had to make do with minor honours in third.
The J.P McManus-owned Capodanno was a 4/1 shot for his first appearance since winning a handicap hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in April.
And considering he made a huge mistake and nearly came down two fences from the finish, Jody McGarvey’s mount did extremely well to rally and get up to beat Embrun Mitja by a length and a quarter.
Mullins said: “It was a tremendous performance after making a mistake at the second-last fence, to do what he did against what looked like a very good beginners’ chase field. He seems like he’s going to be a much better chaser than hurdler.”
Of Gaillard Du Mesnil, the trainer added: “He was a little disappointing and he might have just needed the run. He’ll come on from that.”
Mullins had earlier unleashed two exciting recruits to the jumping game in Hawai Game and Brandy Love.
Hawai Game, also carrying the McManus silks, justified odds of 8/11 BetVictor Maiden Hurdle under Paul Townend – his first and only start since winning a bumper in France last year.
Frank Berry, the owner’s racing manager said: “He did it the hard way, I suppose. He was a bit keen and he’ll learn a good bit from today. It was a nice performance.
“He jumped reasonably well and you couldn’t ask for any better. We’ll see what Willie wants to do with him now and see where he goes.”
Mullins and Townend were also on the mark with point-to-point and bumper winner Brandy Love (4/5 favourite), who cruised to a 10-length verdict in the BetVictor Mares Maiden Hurdle.
“She was a point winner and she jumps and gallops,” said Townend. “She had a blow there, but she was pretty keen the whole way. She went around the bend to pull up so she’s very tough.
“I’m sure she’ll have a nice future. She enjoys jumping and she’ll be good fun.”
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