Mozoltov (9/4) got the better of a duel with Don Cossack in the Racing UK Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
- Related Content
Willie Mullins sent out Pont Alexandre to get the better of the highly regarded Don Cossack at Navan in December and Gordon Elliott's charge, a faller when held that day, had to play second fiddle once again.
Starkie took the field along for much of the two mile Grade Two contest and they were fairly well strung out behind with Ned Buntline the whipper-in.
The pace was sensible granted the conditions, however, and the field had bunched right up with three hurdles to jump.
Waydownsouth was the first to be ridden and he, Mumbo Jumbo and Starkie had soon backed out of it as the big three went on.
Ned Buntline couldn't quicken with the first and second favourites in the run to the last where Don Cossack was just about on terms but failed to get away from the flight as quickly as his rival.
He did battle back under Davy Russell but Mozoltov, a 24 length winner on his hurdling bow, gave no quarter and held on well to claim the spoils.
The winner can be backed with Sky Bet at 16s for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (Don Cossack 20/1 from 16s) and at 20/1 William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Mullins said: "Mozoltov has been doing good work at home and I've been waiting for a nice race to get him out instead of taking on one of our own. I didn't think he'd be taking on as good a bunch as these and he has to go into the top drawer.
"I'd imagine we're looking at the Supreme Novices' Hurdle with him and he can only be better on better ground - Ruby said he wasn't at home on that ground today."