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."
28 July 2014Options open for Approval
Star duo head Sussex field
Pallasator states case for Ebor
Custom a cut above
Harty doubles up in Galway feature
Munich Mission impossible
Cox plays it cool with Kodi
Girl given Lowther target
Burke looking to Curragh
Hanagan hails Taghrooda
Toormore drops in class for Lennox
27 July 2014Jinx on a high in France
Beacon shines over Molecomb rivals
Miss skips Galway for Goodwood
Tag crowned queen of Ascot
Muthmir delivers in Dash
Metal proves International star
Sheikh pounces for late score
Kingman poised for showdown
Kleo hits top gear for Cumani
Dettori strikes on Osaila
Bear grills Winkfield rivals
Yorkshire Oaks target for Volume
26 July 2014Taghrooda queen of Ascot
Elleval bids for Pomfret prize
Noble primed for German mission
O'Meara duo going International
Tag team happy to have a go
Telescope reaches for stars
Euro chasing dollar signs
Estimate given Goodwood entry
Pique Sous out for season
Secret chasing York success
Reason aiming to deliver in Dash
Remote on comeback trail
25 July 2014Hughes misses Newmarket rides
Bill seeks International acclaim
Tag team have a crack at George
Telescope has record in sights
Nicholls pays tribute to Business
Flintshire misses George date
Hills reveals positive test horse
Kennedy floored on Leopardstown bow
Candy sweet on hot-shot Alonsoa
Big guns in Irish Champion frame
Farraaj sidesteps York return
Classy entries for Champagne
Stars align for Sussex showdown
Kiyoshi dips in grade for Valiant
Gosden waits on Eagle call
Horsted heads International runners