Master Minded survived a terrible final-fence blunder to make a triumphant return from injury in the totepool Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.
The reigning Champion Chaser had been sidelined with a broken rib since November but showed no ill effects as he powered into the straight on the bridle.
However, in scenes very reminiscent of the Kauto Star of old, he smashed through the last and Ruby Walsh was lucky to maintain the partnership but had enough in hand to still come home a clear winner for Paul Nicholls.
Voy Por Ustedes provided the early toe but Walsh had still to move a muscle as Master Minded was lobbing along on the outside.
A fantastic jump four out saw him assume command and two more breathtaking leaps followed at the third-last and second-last obstacles.
However, Master Minded met the final fence all wrong and he was down on his nose while Walsh fought to stay in the plate.
Despite his complete loss of momentum, Master Minded had built up such an advantage that he could just recover his bearings to hack home by 13 lengths from Mahogany Blaze.
Walsh said: ``That (the mistake) was completely my fault, there was no need to be thinking about a big extravagant jump at the last and it would have been my fault.
“He hung a bit in the race but he’s always going to do that.
“He’s back. He’s an amazing horse and it’s great to have him back. I don’t know how he found a leg there but it shows how much horse I had left.”
Nicholls said ``That was great, he jumped and travelled well and jumped dead straight until the last.
“I wonder how long he had that (rib problem) as his form had been a bit regressive.
“He had six weeks off and we couldn’t ride him but he was on the walker for three hours a day in that time, which would have been about 15 miles.
“He’s been cantering away and he won’t have long off, he’ll probably canter on Monday and then it’s straight to Cheltenham.”
Voy Por Ustedes beat just one home and his trainer Alan King said: "He has jumped super for a long way, but he is not a two-miler any more. He needed to run and the idea was to come here and find out.
“He was staying on again and it has made the decision very easy – he will go for the Ryanair.”