Blackbow put up a smart performance to maintain his unbeaten record with success in the Grade Two Goffs Future Stars (C&G) INH Flat Race at Leopardstown.

The concluding race on a memorable opening day to the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival saw a field of nine promising bumper horses line up for this valuable two mile contest.

The Shunter took the field along from Minella Encore and this pair raced ahead of Blackbow and Dunvegan as they headed out with a circuit to race.

Heading into the back straight, The Shunter continued to bowl along in front of Minella Encore.

At halfway, six lengths covered a bunched field, with The Shunter still to the fore.

As they left the back, Minella Encore moved to the outside of The Shunter and pressed for the lead, with Rapid Escape, Blackbow and Rhinestone next.

The leader quickly dropped through the field and Minella Encore turned for home ahead of stable mate Blackbow, who soon asserted and went three lengths clear of the chasing Rhinestone.

However, Blackbow kept going although he got tired late on, to land the spoils from Rhinestone, with a gap back to Brace Yourself and Minella Encore.

The Patrick Mullins ridden Blackbow was making it three wins from as many races and completed a four-timer on the card for Willie Mullins.

Winning trainer Willie Mullins was impressed with the winner and has him firmly in his Cheltenham plans.

“He’s a decent sort. He was in front plenty far out and stayed on well. He’ll head to the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.”

Joseph O’Brien, already on the scoresheet today with Tower Bridge, was delighted with the run of runner-up Rhinestone.

“He’s a maybe (for Cheltenham). He ran really well, we’re delighted with him and we’ll see how he comes out of it.”