Off the track since Fairyhouse last Easter, the 5/4 favourite made all, dictating the pace and, after the field closed up going to the second last, stretched clear between the last two flights to slam Theophilus by ten lengths.
Winning rider Danny Mullins explained: “His form flattened out last season, but he seems a stronger horse now. I was always confident on.
"I was able to get a breather into him coming down the hill – I wanted to full him up before going again and he picked up really well.”
Speaking at Leopardstown later, Willie Mullins added: “He was a big weak horse last season but did very well over the summer.
"He handles that heavy ground well and I think he’ll be effective at anything between two and three miles.”
Henry de Bromhead and Andrew Lynch shared a double with favourites Domesday Book and Dream Road while Cork amateur Eoin O’Brien also doubled-up, on Bothar Clei and newcomer Brave Poppy in the bumper.
Domesday Book brushed aside the challenge of market rival Chatham House Rule in the Cube Beginners Chase, ultimately scoring by thirteen lengths and prompting Lynch to explain: “He’s built to be a chaser and will jump better on better ground.
"We just wanted to get him around safely today and it’s a bonus for him to win over two miles because he’ll go further.”
Deans Road got the better of Nine Stitches by a length and a quarter in the Mr.Binman Maiden Hurdle to complete the double for Lynch and de Bromhead, who nominated the Grade 2 Flyingbolt Novice Chase, at Navan on February 14, as Domesday’s Book’s probable next target.
The eleven-runner Guinness Veterans Handicap Chase developed into a duel as Bothar Clei, first leg of a double for amateur Eoin O’Brien got the better of favourite Montana Slim by a length, with the only other survivor Chestnut Charlie thirty-eight lengths adrift.
“This is his time of year,” declared winning trainer Donie Murphy. “Eoin gave him a great ride. He’s a horse that doesn’t do much in front – that’s why he waited so long on him.
“He might get into the bottom of the Thyestes now and, if he does, that’s where he’ll go.”
Eoin O’Brien completed his double when 12/1 shot Brave Poppy, tasting action for the first time, held Black Warrior by a half=length in the bumper, the pair finishing well clear of the rest.
The four-year-old Craigsteel gelding is trained by Ray Hackett, who explained: “He was bought as a point-to-pointer, but his work at home has been so good that we decided to take the bumper option and we thought he was capable of doing that first time.
“It was a good effort to get home on that ground after being a bit free early in the race. He’s only four and is a nice prospect. He might come back here for the winners’ bumper on St.Patrick’s Day.”
Gigginstown House, first and second in both Grade 1 races in leopardstown, also provided a one-two in the opening Racing Post Maiden Hurdle as the Gordon Elliott-trained Ball d’Arc, making a quick reappearance after unseating his rider at the first in Leopardstown on Saturday, made all under Kevin Sexton to beat Willie Mullins’ favourite Berry Des Aulmes (David Mullins) by a length and a quarter.
Sexton enthused: “He travelled brilliantly and had loads left at the finish. He stays well and is going the right way,” while trainer Elliott speaking in Leopardstown added: “He’s a nice horse and we’ll tip away – we’ll look for a little ‘winners of one’ for him.”