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.
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Cheltenham is Big aim
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Cue primed for Betfair defence
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Avenue shows winning way
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That pleases in Newbury spin
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