Sizing Europe registered his third victory of the campaign with a determined performance in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown.
Henry de Bromhead's stable star was a 1-3 favourite to add to his Grade One tally and was disputing the lead with Rubi Light throughout the two-mile-one-furlong test.
Despite travelling noticeably better than his closest rival heading down the back straight, some fine leaps from Rubi Light kept him in contention. Sizing Europe and Andrew Lynch looked set to ease clear from the home turn, but it was hard work in the testing conditions and Rubi Light galloped on tenaciously to make the market leader pull out all the stops.
British raider Edgardo Sol was third.
De Bromhead said: "That was great, we're very lucky to have him, he makes training a lot easier. You wouldn't really want him to be taking a hold like he did there over two miles (but) he loves this game, he just loves it. I'm very relieved as when you are 1-3 (favourite), second is disappointing.
"It's great to win that race now and we'll work on from there to Cheltenham. I don't know what we are going to do yet. He could possibly be entered in the three big chases (Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair) at Cheltenham. For me he's looking far more like a stayer this year so we'll see, it's all a long way away yet. We'll try to get him there first.
"His performance in the Clonmel Oil was great, certainly more impressive than today, and maybe he needs two and a half miles now. He could go for something like the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park. We'll have to have a think about it."
Lynch said: "Sizing Europe has been a very good horse to me. He was very fresh in the race early on and was running a bit keen. Rubi Light was jumping great alongside us and both of them are in fact very good horses to jump.
"He started to idle a bit out in front on his own but at least he won. He felt the ground very dead, he's way better on good ground but he got away with it today. He stays well, he did it well."
Stan James and Paddy Power left Sizing Europe unchanged at 7-1 for the Queen Mother.
22 December 2014Kingdoms to swerve Leopardstown
Moore glee at Grugy canter
Victory ready for Christmas cracker
Finale countdown for young guns
No rush for Ptit plan
Walsh has Kempton Fever
Skelton seeks greater Risk rewards
Master handed Festival aim
Gowran goal for Djakadam
Nicholls retain Zarkandar faith
Monbeg team wait on jockey plans
Goodwood announce Qatar deal
High hopes for Cue
Games ready for Challow date
Condon not appealing whip ban
Mogol makes it look easy
Derby hero Chaparral put down
Saphir adds sparkle to Feltham
Mullins star among Christmas seven
Walsh thrilled with Sceaux spin
February return likely for That
Lough still in Lexus frame
Milan primed for Chepstow return
21 December 2014Billy fine after Ascot spill
Hanlon hoping Cyclone strikes
Henderson pleased with big guns
Mulholland serves up Master-class
Bayan bags big Ascot prize
Broadway proves a show-stopper
Three Long Walks for super Sivola
Queen wears Listed crown
Nicholls strikes with Saint
Sceaux puts in impressive show
Silvi the star turn in King George
20 December 2014Sceaux puts in impressive show
Geraghty enthused by Bobs work
Walsh pain at Vautour defection
Billy puffing his chest out again
Master back in the spotlight
Grugy in line to start cantering
Newland seeks more from Re
Prize money boost in HRI initiative
Zig zips to impressive victory
New steroids policy delayed
Serge states Supreme case
Exciting Sceaux out at Fairyhouse
Firebird skips National service
19 December 2014Martin readying big guns
Hobbs on Garde at Ascot
Fry excited by Activial chance
The New One in Haydock return
Reve camp not expecting a hat-trick
King issues Chatez Triumph warning
Bolger searching for Mossey key
King weighs up Karezak options
Henderson hoping Bobs makes Lexus
Simonsig camp play the long game
In-form Mole buries Exeter rivals
Sedgefield hit with heavy fine
Star names check in for Ryanair
Bobs revved up for Lexus repeat
Knott disqualified for three years
Geraghty braced for power Serge
Geraghty excited by Josses return
Activial stars in Ladbroke field