Grand National hero Noble Yeats made a spectacular return to Aintree in claiming the Boylesports Many Clouds Chase.
Emmet Mullins' Irish raider was a 50-1 outsider in April when he provided amateur Sam Waley-Cohen with a fairytale farewell to the saddle and also became the first seven-year-old since Bogskar in 1940 to win the world's most famous steeplechase.
However, he was much more respected in the market this time around and was gambled into 3-1 second-favourite shortly before the off.
Content to stalk the fancied Ahoy Senor for the majority of the journey, it was at the second-last when Noble Yeats was set alight by his new pilot Sean Bowen and the duo put the race to bed in a matter of strides as he recorded a taking success over the admirable Dashel Drasher, who was up with the pace alongside Lucinda Russell's well-held favourite throughout in the hands of Rex Dingle.
Bowen said: "He races a little bit lazily and never does too much, but as we all know his jumping is absolutely brilliant. Even though he was racing lazily I would wing a fence and be back on the bridle again.
"I spoke to Sam before I rode him at Wexford and he said 'if you have cover, when you pull him out he'll really go' and he did exactly that today.
"He quickened smartly from the back of two out and did it nicely, beating some good horses."
Such was the manner of victory, Betfair make Noble Yeats 10-1 from 25-1 for the Gold Cup in March and 6-1 from 25-1 for the King George at Kempton later this month. Coral went 12-1 for a second National and 16-1 for the Gold Cup.
Waley-Cohen was in attendance, and said: "That was brilliant and I can't say you don't miss it when you see it go like that. It was great to see him running so well for Sean and I'm thrilled for everyone.
"The King George is not very far away so I think we'll get him home and have a think and work it out from there.
"I don't think we expected that today - he's done it very well against some really good horses. He looks like the real deal and we'll have to work out where to go next.
"It would be great (to go for the King George) and dad (Robert Waley-Cohen) has always been up for it, but the main thing is to see if the horse is up for it first."
Mullins was delighted to be back in the Aintree winner's enclosure, but would not be pressed on future targets for his stable star.
"I managed to find the same spot in the stand to watch it. It was a bit emptier this time around, but it's very special and the horse definitely knew where he was," said the trainer.
"I'd say they went a good gallop and probably softened each other up in front. We were there then with stamina in abundance to come through and pick up the pieces I suppose.
"We were very hopeful. It was a lovely run in Wexford to get us back on track and that is another step up the ladder today. He seems to progressing all the time."
Asked whether a tilt at the King George could be a possibility, he added: "Everything is a possibility - we won't rule anything in or out here today.
"We'll get him home and see how he takes it. He can be a bit highly strung in the preliminaries and afterwards as well, but during the race he seems to know what's going on and switches off and does the business.
"We have the option (of the Gold Cup) and we'll keep both options open (Gold Cup and Grand National) for as long as we can.
"He's opened the Gold Cup door a bit wider after that. Whether we can get our heads through it is another thing, but it's a strong possibility."