The Con McSweeney-trained Russellsway vindicated the promise of her fifth-placed debut effort behind My Whirlwind at Ballycahane last season by benefiting from a supremely-confident waiting ride from Darragh Allen to win the Beeches Stud and Winners Enclosure, Conna four-year-old mares’ maiden, a 17-runner contest which had the biggest field incidentally of the afternoon.
"We rode her wrong in Ballycahane last season, today we said that we would drop her in and that she would hopefully be doing her best work inside the final half mile. If not sold, she will go for a bumper," said McSweeney.
Sir Gerhard provided Derek O'Connor with the opening leg of a two-timer in the first division of the Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The Son of Jeremy, a close relation to former European champion miler Zaffeen that was acquired for €72,000 at last year's Goffs Land Rover sale, was well in command from two-out and he duly accounted for fellow debutant Minella Drama by a comfortable 12 lengths.
Winning handler Ellemarie Holden’s father Paul, who also owns Sir Gerhard said: "He's a horse that we have been patient with, and he will now go to the Cheltenham sales next month."
Derek O'Connor completed his two-timer by returning to the coveted number one slot aboard Sam Curling's six-year-old Aloneamongmillions in the Goffs and Glenview Stud winner-of-one.
The son of Mahler, a winner of his only previous start at Ballyragget last term, who is a close relation to his handler's admirable open campaigner B L Swagger, asserted in the closing stages to dismiss Crossing Lines by an increasing four lengths at the line.
"He's a horse that got hurt as a three-year-old. I think he's a good horse and the plan is that he will stay pointing this season. He will hopefully go hunter chasing then next season," said Curling.
Ellen Doyle, also on the mark with Acceptable Risk at Lingstown, initiated an across-the-card double by sending out French Light to oblige in the hands of John O'Neill in the second division of the Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
French Light, who ran considerably better than finishing fourth would suggest on his debut last season in the two-and-a-half mile Knockanard contest won by a subsequent, duly fought off the rallying Sunset West by a length in what was an extremely truly-run race.
The Mattie Collins-trained Upton Road initiated the opening leg of a two-timer for Johnny Barry by giving a superb round of fencing to record a game frontrunning success.
A close relation to Sir OJ that was sourced at the 2017 Tattersalls Ireland Derby sale, Upton Road was left clear at the final fence when Robert Tyner's charge, Fake Billy fell, to beat the eye-catching Brandy Harbour by one and a half lengths.
"He's very agile for such a big horse and he will probably now be sold," said Pat Collins, son of handler Matt.
Arctic Skipper, winner of the 2016 renewal of the Grade 2 Fortria Chase at Navan, once again showed his appreciation for this left-handed circuit by supplementing his two victories here last season.
Trained by the absent Vincent Halley, the ten-year-old closed relentlessly on the flat and surged past Black Hercules as the line approached with regular partner Johnny Barry to deny the former Cheltenham Festival winner by a head in what was the closest finish of the afternoon in the Kenneally Steel Open, completing Barry’s double in the process.
Arctic Skipper, also a winner at Dromahane two weeks earlier, is bound to enjoy a rewarding season between the flags.
Proceedings closed with a clear-cut success for Michael Winters' seasonal debutant Sayce Gold, racing in the familiar Many Clouds silks of Trevor Hemmings.
A fine fourth on her initial outing behind Velkera at Dromahne last April, Sayce Gold arrived from well off the pace under Chris O'Donovan, having to be switched to challenge between the final two fences, and she readily powered clear from the last to see off promising first-timer Robincollette by six lengths in the Dave Allen Engineering & McDonnell Bros five-year-old and upwards mares maiden.
Winning Handler Mick Winters said: "When you get a nice mare like her, it's like Santa Claus! She came back to me in great order two months ago and she liked the ground out there today."