Rock Critic was an impressive winner of the Racegoer's 25 Euros Package Hurdle at Fairyhouse as last year's John Smith's Grand National third Seabass made a fine return to action in second place.
The Willie Mullins-trained Make Your Mark was the 4-6 market leader for his seasonal reappearance on the strength of some smart novice form last term, with Dermot Weld's Rock Critic next best at 9-4 after winning on his hurdling bow at last year's Galway Festival.
The two disputed the running, but it was clear before the home turn that Robbie McNamara was travelling far better and Rock Critic eased clear once straightened up for home, safely negotiating the last couple of obstacles to seal victory by three and a quarter lengths to make it two from two over timber.
Ted Walsh's Seabass ran a tremendous race on his first appearance since his superb Aintree performance last spring.
The 10-year-old was predictably outpaced over this two-mile trip, but stayed on strongly in the straight to grab the runner-up spot from a rather disappointing Make Your Mark.
Rock Critic was cut to 12-1 by Stan James for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, but Weld warned he was not a certain starter at Cheltenham.
The trainer said: "He did what I thought he would do. He knows his job and he jumps well. He would much prefer better ground.
"We've no definite plan - we'll speak to the owners. He's entered in Cheltenham but at the moment I see him as a Punchestown/Fairyhouse horse.
"We didn't plan to get there so soon, but his jumping took him there - he jumped like a stag."
28 February 2015Vautour excites Mullins in workout
Festival plans fluid for Cyclone
Elliott posse work at Leopardstown
Geraghty confirmed for Master
Wayward back on right track
Investment gains Greatwood gold
Bal win delights connections
Glinger burns off Kelso rivals
Pipe proves he's a Soll man
Geraghty shines on Leave It
Walter back for another victory
Irish pair do battle in France
Geraghty: Sprinter will be fitter
Wylie lines up Cheltenham team
Twiston-Davies Blak in business
Divine Bishop on Festival trail
Irish duo set Doncaster poser
Night riding high for Grimthorpe
Glingerburn facing another battle
Pipe targets Aintree with veterans
Carlito primed for Kelso return
McCoy not planning Festival goodbye
Bridge camp praying for rain
Cook suspended from riding
27 February 2015Golantilla in Ballsbridge bid
Safety strikes in Zabeel Mile
Fehily confirms Zarkandar mount
Lieutenant bosses Purcell rivals
Dettori delights on Dubday
Many Clouds goes back to school
Maguire loses appeal
New One at ease for Faugheen clash
Foxrock still in Gold Cup picture
Apache ready to take flight in JLT
26 February 2015Higgins back in business
Cookie poised for April return
Silvi threat unsettles Riches camp
No going concerns at Cheltenham
Fry resigned to Fehily Ruby loss
Trip key to Balder success - King
McLernon gets nod for Holywell
Salsify leads Foxhunter field
Mullins unveils Bumper entry
Curtis hoping for Cross revival
Aurore misses Mares' date
25 February 2015Ton-up for in-form Pipe
Big display from George veteran
Credit to join the Premier league
Jack to duck Grimthorpe date
Tea preparing for National tilt
Geraghty rates Whisper World claims
George retains Module faith
Uramazin ready to go again
Coney team wait on Festival call
Aintree on Ceremony agenda
Silvi is all Gold - Nicholls
Bright Clouds gets serious
Puffin swoops at Leicester
Nicholls: Rheu call tough for Sam
Nicholls suffers Hinterland blow
Own on Cheltenham trail
BHA issues new anti-doping rules
Walsh hoping for a Champagne moment
That ruled out of World bid