The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old won at the Dublin Racing Festival and the Punchestown Festival last season, as well as filling the runner-up spot behind stablemate Sir Gerhard in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
The Stowaway gelding was a prohibitively priced 1-14 favourite to make a successful reappearance in division one of the Follow Us On Instagram Maiden Hurdle.
But having raced alongside Henry de Bromhead’s Largy Debut for much of the way, Kilcruit was ultimately left trailing in the 6-1 shot’s wake, with 10 lengths separating them at the line.
Full replay: Kilcruit is defeated on his hurdling debut
Mullins’ assistant, David Casey, said: “Sean (O’Keeffe, jockey) said he didn’t travel through the race and was beaten early. We have no other excuse than that at the moment anyway.
“He said he jumped well but then was flat at the third-last and that’s why he was missing them. We’ll have a look and see.”
Davey Roche, assistant to De Bromhead, said of the winner: “He had been working really well coming here and we thought he was a nice horse.
“It was probably an ideal race for Kilcruit getting a lead off us, but our fellow jumps and travels.
“Where we go after this, I don’t know. He is a good horse I’d say – he jumps and travels and once they do that, you’re half way there.”
Keith Donoghue reflects on Largy Debut's victory
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