Sunday's Punchestown programme appeared to produce not just one potentially outstanding novice talent but two.
The headline act Bob Olinger’s second start over fences duly ended up in a silky smooth Grade 3 success in the Kildare Novice Chase.
However Dysart Dynamo’s 19 length rout in the opening Grade 2 Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Hurdle proved a real eye-opener.
The 4-9 favourite maintained his unbeaten record in style with an all the way victory that saw him slashed for two of the Cheltenham festival’s three Grade 1 novice hurdles.
Two of Willie Mullins’s seven previous winners of the race, Vautour and Douvan, subsequently landed the Supreme. Another, Mikael D’Hauguent, scored in the longer Ballymore.
Dysart Dynamo is a 4-1 favourite for the Ballymore with some firms but such was the impression made by the strapping six year old that he edged out his stable companion Sir Gerhard in many Supreme markets.
"I think he'd gallop out through a wall for you if you asked him!" said a clearly smitten Paul Townend who described the winner as "a very exciting horse."
Given Mullins’s habit of postponing plans until as late as possible the champion jockey was also stating the obvious when adding that any decisions about festival targets are unlikely to be made until “closer to the time.”
However with Sir Gerhard due to line up at the Dublin Racing Festival, and Nicky Henderson’s pair, Jonbon and Constitution Hill, also in the mix, the likely composition of the big novice heats is set to consume much of the focus on the run up to Cheltenham.
The layers already reckon Bob Olinger is all but certain to line up in the Turners Novice Chase (formerly called the Marsh and JLT) and is generally evens to follow up his brilliant Ballymore victory last season.
Henry De Bromhead’s star had his jumping criticised after his chase debut at Gowran but there was little to quibble with here after an authoritative defeat of the 1-2 favourite’s market rival, Capodanno.
If the removal of three fences down the back straight due to a low-lying sun was regrettable then Bob Olinger’s performance was also in the context of overall stable form perhaps best described as mixed.
De Bromhead was certainly a relieved man afterwards and revealed how extensive schooling had gone into Bob Olinger since Gowran.
“There was a lot of stomach churning there but I was delighted with his jumping and really happy with how happy Rachael (Blackmore) was with him as well,” he said.
“He jumped fine at Gowran. You could argue he didn’t take to it like a duck to water but we’ve done a lot of schooling - a lot more than we usually would with him - and he’s really taken to it well,” De Bromhead added.
Intriguingly he opened up the possibility of a mouth-watering pre-Cheltenham clash with Galopin Des Champs in the Ladbrokes Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival in three weeks.
Willie Mullins’ charge tops the betting for the longer Brown Advisory Chase (formerly the RSA) at Cheltenham but has the option of the Leopardstown race beforehand too.
“The Dublin Racing Festival is the plan subject to ground. There would want to be a good ease in the ground.
“It seems our best option. It is three weeks and I think that’s the plan at the moment. He’s got a lot of class and a great attitude,” De Bromhead said.
“He’d come on a hell of a lot since Gowran and I think the experience he got there has really stood to him. The second (Capodanno) is obviously a good horse and the pair of them have pulled clear. Thankfully our man kept going,” he added.
The focus remains at Punchestown on Monday where more high-class novice form-lines get put to the test.
Minella Crooner divided Journey With Me and Kilcruit at Leopardstown over Christmas in a performance that suggests stepping up to three miles should help him secure a maiden victory.
The Willie Mullins team has opted to give Brookline a first start for him in a bumper.
She was placed twice over hurdles for Padraig Roche before switching to the champion trainer. Reine Machine looks the threat on the back of a good third to Dorans Weir at Thurles on her last start.