Invitation Only provided Willie Mullins with a seventh victory in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.
The champion trainer first won the showpiece event at his local track with Micko’s Dream in 2000 and has since added to his tally with Hedgehunter (2004), Homer Wells (2007), dual winner On His Own (2012 and 2014) and Djakadam (2015).
This year the Closutton maestro fired a formidable eight-pronged assault and Invitation Only was the 4-1 favourite in the hands of Ruby Walsh.
The eight-year-old raced close to the pace throughout the three-mile-one-furlong contest and tracked the Gordon Elliott-trained Alpha Des Obeaux into the home straight.
There was little to choose between the pair jumping the final fence, but Invitation Only soon got on top and claimed a decisive one-and-a-quarter-length win.
Mullins was also responsible for the third home Up For Review, with Elliott’s Out Sam rounding off the top four.
Mullins said: “It was a good performance. I just thought he might be ahead of the handicapper going out to three miles, and so it’s turned out. I’m very happy.
“I was a bit worried with the way a few of ours are running that he might get to the second-last and then stop. He was travelling so well with Ruby going down to the third-last he took a pull and then just waited and waited.”
Invitation Only was cut to around 33-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and his trainer added: “We’ll see what the handicapper does, but he’ll get an entry for the Gold Cup and the Grand National after that run.
“The Gold Cup will be a searching test and I think he’d be improving as he gets towards Cheltenham.”
Mullins’ powerful string have not been firing with their usual regularity in recent weeks – something the Closutton maestro puts down to the weather.
He said: “Any farmer will tell you that cattle indoors are all getting sick because there isn’t enough air going around.
“It’s extraordinary – grass is growing in January. We’ve had a short winter – we haven’t had one really – and it’s hard for those big three-mile chasers that are running there today.
“We’ve Cheltenham and the Dublin Festival in Leopardstown coming up next week. Theses horse are not getting a run.
“I think I’ve 18 runners today and it’s not that I wanted to run them, but we have the ground and it’s our local track so I said we’d get them out, get a run under their belt and see what happens.”