Tidal Bay got up in the final strides to land what looked an unlikely victory in a thrilling renewal of the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
Ruby Walsh got an amazing run out of the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding to pass several rivals on the run-in to give owner Graham Wylie a second Grade One on the card after Back In Focus took the Topaz Chase.
In a bunch finish, Tidal Bay (9-2) snatched the spoils from First Lieutenant, with Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs just behind.
The Neil Mulholland-trained Midnight Chase made the running with Hidden Cyclone and Quito De La Roque on his heels and Tidal Bay held up in the rear.
Hidden Cyclone went on during the final circuit while Flemenstar appeared to be going ominously well as Peter Casey's stable star tried to take his winning sequence to eight, on his first try at three miles. China Rock led two out, but Flemenstar was still going best and landed over the last with the race to win. However, his stamina appeared to give out on the soft ground on the run to the line.
Tidal Bay still had a few lengths to make up but he found what was necessary as Walsh produced him between horses, getting up to score by a head from First Lieutenant with Flemenstar third. Sir Des Champs was just behind but his chances of success were not helped by his jumping.
Nicholls said: "The extra two furlongs at Cheltenham will suit him well. He's in the form of his life for an 11-year-old. Roll on Cheltenham."
Wylie said: "This is up there with Inglis Drever. Back In Focus and now Tidal Bay. Both looked like they were beat over the last and both came with a great run in the end and just nicked it. I thought our fella was cooked four out, but then he started to come again. He's just got guts that horse. Paul has done an amazing job with him and Ruby as well. He gave him a great ride because you have to be patient."
Walsh said: "He jumped the second-last well and I got through the gap going to the last. He was really finishing and I thought I had a chance of getting to them. He was a bit flat-footed at the last and he took time to pick up, but when he did he started to fly and I guess 100 yards down I was thinking I was going to get there.
"Everyone was in the same boat. We all knew Flemenstar's stamina had to be tested and Midnight Chase went a good honest gallop and the tempo was upped all the way. It was a real true-run contest. He's a different horse this year. He won at Wetherby, was second in the Hennessy at Newbury and has come and won today. It's brilliant."
31 January 2015Silsol plan comes to fruition
Berlais best in Scilly Isles
Morning runs rivals ragged
Contender Victoire lands knockout
Smooth success for hot Chocolat
Heavyweights wary of Shark attack
Musselburgh takes precautions
Grand news at Wetherby
Turner hit with ten-day ban
Witness back to master Sandown
Chocolat looks sweet at Sandown
Pree primed for big Towton run
Mai heads Sandown Contenders
Walters Kean for National win
Polamco aiming to be Sandown Hero
Johnson seeks Champagne celebration
Uxizandre team eye date with Grugy
30 January 2015Hopes rise for Wetherby
Newbury to stage veterans' hurdle
Dude set for two National prep runs
Leopardstown date for D'Antan
No hurry for Flemenstar return
Aigles skips Dubai trip
Wetherby announce inspection plan
Melodic in Exeter frame
Chepstow gets go-ahead
Classy display from Vercingetorix
Ffos Las blow for Carruthers
McCoy in line for Coneygree mount
Blossoming Serge in Supreme hat
Peace declared for Triumph
Hercules features in Bartlett
Games given Neptune entry
29 January 2015Good news for Burke after X-rays
Bayan handed French mission
Exciting Eagle ready for action
Ellison on Red alert
Brother sets sail for Festival date
Ferof takes Ascot acid test
Cogry has dual Festival options
Hourigan duo to duck National Trial
Salsify back in Foxhunter frame
Wintry Catterick calls inspection
Chepstow on weather watch
Musselburgh bids to beat weather
Legend in line for Kempton repeat
Henderson at Peace for Triumph
Henderson primes Betfair squad
Henderson happy with Sprinter
Unioniste set for Newbury outing
Bolger left in awe of super Sceaux
Sam set for Gold run
Denman date for Obeaux
28 January 2015Charities get O'Sullevan boost
Betway boosts sponsorship portfolio
Estrella waits on record bid
Spring not on Focus agenda
Warne on comeback trail
Warne on comeback trail
Mann planning Bleu National prep
Henderson dealt Triolo blow
Tornado blows hot at Taunton
Mann duo head to Musselburgh
Ginge given Scilly date
Cue Card goes back to basics
Eagle ready for hurdling bow
Shark angling for Punchestown prize
Nicholls retains Zarkandar faith
Ruby handed World ticket