Ballyoisin successfully defended his crown in the thetote.com Fortria Chase at Navan.
Enda Bolger’s charge was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the Grade Two contest 12 months ago, but returned on something of a recovery mission following a couple of disappointing recent efforts over hurdles.
With last season’s Arkle Trophy hero Duc Des Genievres and fellow Cheltenham Festival winner A Plus Tard among his four rivals, Ballyoisin was third in the betting at 9-2 under Mark Walsh – but once again he dominated from the front.
Some fine leaps kept the pressure on those in behind – and once Duc Des Genievres weakened quickly out of contention from the home turn, it was left to 5-4 favourite A Plus Tard to throw down the challenge to the JP McManus-owned leader.
But he could never quite get on terms, and there were two and three-quarter lengths between the pair at the line.
Bolger said: “That was nice. We thought we had fitness on our side, but I was just a bit scared that the ground might be a bit too heavy for him. He bossed it all the way, and his jumping again was his forte.
“I don’t know where we’re going to go next with him. We went on to Leopardstown last year, and it didn’t work out.
“He may be just put away for the spring. We’ll see what the boss and Frank (Berry, owner’s racing manager) say.
“A place like here is up his alley, with the line of fences down the back. I thought Leopardstown would really suit him, with the good ground, but it didn’t go his way last year.
“They are good horses in behind him there today, and he had 11st 10lb as well. It was a good performance all around.”