Rolling Star mastered Irish Saint close home to make a winning British debut in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham.
Irish Saint and Ruby Walsh cut out much of the running in the Grade Two contest, but Barry Geraghty shadowed his every move aboard Rolling Star and it was clear heading down the hill the pair were a cut above their rivals.
Walsh's mount still held a narrow advantage approaching the final flight and jumped it the better, but Geraghty had not gone for everything and when he did Rolling Star picked up well to go on and score by two and a quarter lengths. Roc D'Apsis was some 30 lengths further back in third.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Irish Saint was sent off the odds-on favourite on the strength of a runaway victory at Kempton on his first start on these shores, with fellow French recruit Rolling Star next best at 5-2 for Nicky Henderson.
The Seven Barrows handler said: "They are obviously two nice four-year-olds who've come a long way clear of the rest.
"It's only his second run over hurdles and his first for us, so it's good to see him win.
"He was due to go to Ascot (before it was abandoned) and this was the next obvious place to come."
Asked whether he thought Rolling Star was a Triumph Hurdle horse, he said: "I suppose he looks like one."
Paddy Power make Rolling Star their new 6-1 favourite (from 10-1) for the Triumph Hurdle back at Cheltenham in March.
Nicholls said of the runner-up: "The winner is probably a Flat horse and we're more a chaser. I think it would be unlikely he'll run in the Triumph as he's more of a future horse."
2 September 2014ARC "committed" to Newcastle plan
Panther primed for Leger mission
Noble on Champion Mission
Danzeno to enter big league
Story set for Dubai return
Ruler in line for Foy return
BHA turn down Newcastle bid
Towcester not "turning its back"
Demuro booked for Moon Arc prep
Chicquita nears return
Murphy excited by Purse
Surprise Matron aim for Tapestry
Maguire nearing racecourse return
Estimate among bumper Cup entry
Maguire hails 'fantastic' Peddlers
Balding staying grounded with Park
Culloty joins Leger Legends
Regard among September possibles
Cox takes Haydock plunge with Love
Paddy gunning for Chepstow
Athenian has sales date
No hurry for Cape call
Mirza on Abbaye trail
1 September 2014McCain salutes retiring Peddlers
Seven Towcester meetings go to ARC
Further checks for Condon
Due set to miss Sprint date
Condon 'stable' after Cork fall
Queen rules supreme for Smith
River eases to debut success
Carla tops it up to four
Atzeni strikes on Cappella
Ocean team want Haydock rain
Big time beckons for Orange
Palmer aims high with Aktabantay
Hills ponders Dutch gameplan
31 August 2014Atzeni strikes on Cappella
Imminent return Likely
Logic on comeback trail
Dan edges closer to Mile high
Keane error costly for Unrequited
Notarfbad makes all in Mildmay
Orange enjoys Big win
Fabre strikes with Fintry
Akta in late Solario swoop
Icon takes starring role
Pearl fires home in Bullet
Shortall suffers injury setback
Tent team consider chasing
30 August 2014Keane error costly for Unrequited
Shepherd's sent to Tower
Time will tell for Charlton
Stack filly Alive to chance
Sansevero sent to Tower
Palmer plots Solario success
Fabre has high hopes for Fintry
Belardo team keen on Champagne
Rigueur targets Chester consolation
Native in hunt for Bullet gains
Arc still target for Taghrooda