Battleoverdoyen made hard work of beating two rivals to win the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
What had looked a competitive Grade One on paper overnight cut up badly on account of the ground drying out to good.
Four of the initial seven declared runners were taken out, including Henry de Bromhead’s Albert Bartlett winner Minella Indo and Willie Mullins’ Carefully Selected.
The defections meant Gordon Elliott’s Battleoverdoyen was sent off at the prohibitive odds of 4-9, and all appeared to be going to plan for Davy Russell for most of the race.
However, between the final two fences stablemate Champagne Classic emerged as a persistent challenger who would not lie down.
Battleoverdoyen began to hang markedly to his left after the last and ended up on the far rail – and once he reached it, Russell was finally able to ride a finish, keeping him up to his work to win by a length.
Betfair left the winner unchanged at 8-1 for the RSA Chase in March.
“He’ll probably come on a bit from the run – he’s having a good blow after it,” said Elliott.
“Davy said the two of them only hacked around, and it was like a nice school. He said he only did what he had to do.”
Reflecting on the small field, he added: “It’s not ideal for the sponsors who put the prize money up – but there is nothing we can do about the ground, and that’s the way it is.
“The second horse is a good horse – he’s rated 150.
“I’d imagine he could come back here for the Flogas (at the Dublin Racing Festival). He’ll be entered in it, and we’ll see.”
Battleoverdoyen was adding to a highly-successful meeting for his trainer, and owners Gigginstown House Stud.
Elliott said: “The way he jumps and travels, he’s a real nice horse, he’s a big chaser.
“He’ll go on any ground and he’s won three times on good ground. I like the way he jumps.
“The runner-up will probably go for what used to be the four-miler. I was happy with both horses.
“It’s been an unbelievable week. We’ve had 10 winners and four Grade Ones. I went home with my tail between my legs on the first day – but that’s the way it is.”