Champion Bumper winner Sir Gerhard passed the obstacles smoothly with a simple victory in the Thorntons Recycling Maiden Hurdle in Leopardstown.
Victorious at the Cheltenham Festival on his first departure for Willie Mullins after being with Gordon Elliott, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding met his first career defeat at the Punchestown Festival.
Unseen since then, he was sent off as a 2-9 favorite to start his new career in a winning way and Paul Townend kept it simple, quickly taking the lead.
He jumped well into the main, and while he got a little closer to the final flight he didn’t slow him down and accelerated under minimal pressure to win by eight lengths from Highland Charge.
Betfair was impressed and cut the winner to 9-2 from 8-1 over the supreme novice hurdle, meaning Jonbon and Constitution Hill duo Nicky Henderson now have a challenge at the top of the market.
“He’s a great jumper, so I’m very happy to see him come out and do it,” said Mullins.
“I would love to climb the ranks if I could, but I may also have to participate in a classified race later, maybe at the Dublin Racing Festival, something like that. But I think it is up to it.”