Last year's Grand National third Seabass confirmed himself a major contender for this season's renewal of the Aintree spectacular with a tremendous comeback run over hurdles at Fairyhouse.
The Ted Walsh-trained 10-year-old was a heavily supported joint-favourite for the world's most famous steeplechase last April and gave the trainer's daughter Katie Walsh a fantastic spin to be beaten just five lengths.
Making his first appearance since in a two-mile hurdle race, Seabass was hardly going to be seen to best effect but ran on strongly to fill the runner-up spot behind the impressive Rock Critic.
The Willie Mullins-trained Make Your Mark was the 4-6 market leader for the Racegoer's 25 Euros Package Hurdle on the strength of some strong novice form last term, but 9-4 shot Rock Critic was travelling much the better of the pair as they rounded the home turn as one.
Once given his head by Robbie McNamara, the Dermot Weld-trained Rock Critic scooted clear to make it two from two over obstacles by three and three-quarter lengths.
Seabass was predictably outpaced as the front pair swung into the straight, but finished well under Ruby Walsh to grab the runner-up spot from a rather disappointing Make Your Mark.
Walsh senior was delighted with the performance and with Colbert Station also Aintree-bound, the trainer now has two major contenders as he aims to win the race for a second time following the triumph of Papillon in 2000.
Walsh said: "I'm happy with him. He'll run somewhere in three weeks' time. There is the Bobbyjo Chase, the race he won in Naas last year, and also the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton. The plan is to give him another run and then go to Aintree. He has fragile old legs and you wouldn't want to be abusing him."
Stan James clipped Seabass to 16-1 from 20-1 for the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on April 6, and Rock Critic was cut to 12-1 by the same firm for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Weld 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. He jumped like a stag."
31 May 2016James Tate maps out handicap plan for Mukaabra
Aidan O'Brien leaves 10 in contention for French Derby glory
William Haggas considering Ribblesdale run with Daphne
Mark Bolger ready for action despite needing stitches in arm injury
Revolutionist strikes Redcar Gold for Mark Johnston
Aidan O'Brien plays waiting game with Epsom Derby septet
Royal Ascot the sole focus for Peter Niven and Clever Cookie
Found and Postponed confirmed for Coronation Cup at Epsom
Peter Chapple-Hyam planning trip increase for Marcel
Sammy Jo Bell begins recovery after leaving hospital
Devonshire team wait on Ascot ground before considering Royal option
Hugo Palmer savouring Classic challenge for Galileo Gold at Ascot
Ascot next on Psychedelic Funk agenda after missing Naas date
30 May 2016Haydock scorer Plata O Plomo to go under the hammer
Four added to Derby field with 18 horses still in the mix for Epsom Classic
Manatee enters Gold Cup frame following French third
Michelle Payne facing crucial period in injury recovery
Only Mine blows Lacken Stakes rivals away at Naas
Speedy Boarding gives James Fanshawe a lift-off in France
Aidan O'Brien happy with Minding after Irish Guineas mishap
No collaring Cuff as Aidan O'Brien's filly too strong for Naas rivals
Peace Envoy returns to winning ways in Rochestown Stakes
Anamba makes up for lost time with stylish win at Naas
Red Verdon set to be supplemented for the Derby at Epsom
David Barron has Pearl primed for Royal Ascot assignment
High hopes for Ribblesdale runner Chicadoro
29 May 2016Blue De Vega to take Tercentenary test at Royal Ascot
Martyn Meade mulling Belmont outing for Irish Rookie
David Griffiths expecting bold Ascot show from Take Cover
Tepin team confirm Royal Ascot is still the plan for star mare
Adrian Nicholls denied farewell ride due to Catterick ground
Grizzel books Ascot ticket with Beverley glory
Ger O'Neill taken to hospital following Beverley fall
Quiet Reflection makes memorable Haydock impression in Sandy Lane
Home Of The Brave takes Jury verdict at Haydock
Ice Slice too sharp for Clotilde at Haydock
Journey goes the distance for Gosden and Dettori at Haydock
Ger Lyons vies for Naas Listed honours with Psychedelic Funk
Godolphin's Skiffle supplemented for Oaks at Epsom
28 May 2016Tepin team mulling Royal Ascot plan following Saturday spin
Prince reigns at Beverley for Cowell and Morris
Jockey Adrian Nicholls to call it a day after Catterick ride
Anamba returns at Naas for Mick Halford
Royal Ascot beckons for Nasimi following Haydock triumph for Charlie Appleby
Michael O'Callaghan considers Royal Ascot for Naas-bound Spy Ring
Ed Walker sets his sights on France with Stormy Antarctic
Martyn Meade sweet on Aclaim at Naas
Mark Johnston retains faith in Buratino ahead of Haydock return
Godolphin's Brave buy out to strike at Haydock
John Gosden pinning his hopes on Journey at Haydock
Ann Duffield hoping Rainbow emerges from the Mist at Beverley
Mark Johnston hoping for Hilary Needler repeat with Boater