Willie Mullins hopes Chacun Pour Soi will find improvement from his short-priced defeat at Leopardstown.
The seven-year-old justified his tall reputation by winning his first two starts for the champion trainer last season, including a comprehensive victory over the top-class Defi Du Seuil at the Punchestown Festival.
He was widely expected to make a successful return to action, but had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard.
Mullins said: “I was disappointed – although he was beaten by a very good horse. It was our fella’s first run and also his first run in open company.
“It’s a big jump from novice company to open company, and he would have had a lot less experience than all the other horses.
“We’ve the rest of the season to go ahead, and I hope he’ll be sharper. He jumped well, but just maybe need the run, I hope.”
Chacun Pour Soi is a best-priced 6-1 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, with his Leopardstown conqueror available at 10-1.
It was a mixed festive period for Mullins, with dual Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon getting off the mark over fences but Laurina running no sort of a race.
“Melon came out of his race well,” he said.
“I think all our horses came out of their races well, including Blue Sari.
“Laurina was disappointing, but she seems fine too. Blue Sari was probably one of the biggest disappointments.
“Footpad arrived home fine, and so did Duc Des Genievres, so we’re very happy.”