Garde Champetre repeated his win of 2008 in the Glenfarclass P.P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase at Punchestown this afternoon.
Sent off the 1-4 favourite for Enda Bolger and Nina Carberry, it was not all plain sailing for favourite backers.
The dual Cheltenham Festival winner tracked Lord Nellerie into the straight and had to be hard ridden to take that rival's measure before running out a three-and-a-half-length winner.
He was left unchanged as the 9-2 favourite with Paddy Power for the Cross Country Chase at the Festival in March.
Frank Berry, owner JP McManus' racing manager, said: "Garde Champetre got the job done but wasn't as sharp as usual.
"He isn't getting younger but jumped adequately and while we'll see how he comes out of this, the Cross Country race at Cheltenham will be his next step."
Gordon Elliott looks to have another smart youngster on his hands in the shape of Roi Du Mee after his easy victory in the Follow Us On Facebook Novice Chase.
Bob Lingo was sent into a huge early lead by Mark Walsh and at halfway it looked a case of how far he would win by.
However, Davy Russell had bided his time on the Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old, and he took up the running before the turn into the straight.
Russell was motionless as the 9-4 favourite eased clear for an 11-length win over Bob Lingo, who just held off Healys Bar.
Elliott said: "Roi Du Mee did it well and, like a lot of mine at the moment, seems to be improving a lot.
"He has really come on a lot in his last couple of runs and will go for Grade Two Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase at Naas on February 20 next."
Martin Brassil saddled a welcome winner when Mister Farmer (20-1) won the Eadestown Handicap Chase.
Brassil, who handled classy two-mile chaser Nickname and won the biggest race of them all at Aintree with Numbersixvalverde, has not been a frequent visitor to the winner's enclosure of late.
Given a patient ride by Niall Madden, the 10-year-old, who races in the colours of the Grand National winner, benefited from the fall of Hidden Present before beating Not A Native by four and a half lengths.
Brassil said: "Mister Farmer always threatened to win a hurdle off his mark and while I thought he would improve from his second-last start, he didn't improve in a similar type race at Leopardstown in his next race.
"The switch back to fences made the difference and he seems to enjoy chasing - we'll find something suitable again next."
Willie Mullins' So Young booked his ticket for the big festivals with a professional performance in the Punchestown.com Festival Offers Novices' Hurdle.
A winner at Leopardstown on his debut for the yard, the French import oozed class throughout.
The lasting impression of this display was some slick jumping and Paul Townend never moved a muscle as he powered away to beat Big Game Hunter by five lengths - just as a 1-6 favourite should.
Mullins was absent but winning owner Luke McMahon said: "Willie was in favour of coming here instead of taking on his Zaidpour in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle on Hennessy Day as he says it's better to win two races than one!
"He showed today that he isn't slow, but we'll more than likely go for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham. He is very exciting and Paul was impressed."
Townend added: "He'll be better in a better race than today but he couldn't have done it any easier.
"He's very neat at is hurdles and seems to be a decent horse. He's done everything right.
"He won over two and a half but that run over two miles today will have just sharpened him up. I don't think he'll have a problem with better ground."
Paddy Power cut So Young to 8-1 from 10-1 for the Neptune at Cheltenham.