Fact Of The Matter emerged triumphant over My Hometown after a thrilling climax to the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham.
Jamie Snowden’s charge was narrowly denied by the Enda Bolger-trained course specialist Josies Orders at the track last month and the pair renewed rivalry four weeks on.
Josies Orders was a 7-2 joint-favourite to claim a fifth course win along with French raider Amazing Comedy, while Fact Of The Matter was a 6-1 shot in the hands of Gavin Sheehan.
My Hometown, a stablemate of Josies Orders, forced the pace for much of the three-mile-six-furlong journey and was still in a narrow lead rounding the home turn.
Fact Of The Matter soon ranged alongside and the pair fought tooth and nail up the hill, with Snowden’s charge winning the day by a neck.
Josies Orders ended up further back than ideal after some indifferent leaps, but powered home to beat Amazing Comedy to third.
“You’ve got to get emotional about it,” said Snowden.
“He has obviously improved on the back of his last run here. He jumped beautifully and Gavin got him into a beautiful rhythm. He cut every corner and dug deep and fought all the way to the line.
“To be fair I thought we were beaten coming to the last, but he winged it and got back up in front.
“I think the other horse passed us again, but he dug deep and fought all the way to the line. The good ground helped and Gavin gave him an absolute peach.”
All roads lead back to Cheltenham in March for Fact Of The Matter, but Snowden is well aware his charge will face a tougher ask in what is a conditions event – meaning he will not receive weight from higher rated rivals.
He added: “These two were handicaps and the race in March is a conditions race, so it is a different kettle of fish, but he has taken to the fences well so he probably deserves to have a go.
“Riding a winner here is one thing, but training a winner is something different.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have a few now and one at the Festival, but any winner here is incredible.”