Baltimore Rock (7-1) won a third William Hill Imperial Cup for David Pipe in good style under Tom Scudamore at Sandown on Saturday.
Settled off the pace set by Little Jon, the improving five-year-old scythed through the field with a raft of challengers approaching the second last.
However, it was the winner and Gassin Golf (14-1) that pulled away from the rest of the field, with the 3-1 favourite Vibrato Valtat just holding off Regal Encore for third.
The first two home jumped the last together, with Baltimore Rock drifting a little across to the rail on the run in, forcing Gassin Golf to switch to the outside.
However, no stewards inquiry was called.
Pipe said: "It's a very sweet victory. He's always showed us a fair bit and jumps really well.
"We always thought he was better than he showed but when Tom schooled him in his latest piece of work, he jumped the best we've ever seen.
"He had to improve on the bare form but he's a handicapper's nightmare because he only just does enough.''
Pipe won the Imperial Cup in 2007 and 2008 with Gaspara and Ashkazar respectively, the former going on to complete a notable double at the Cheltenham Festival which landed the bonus.
There is another £100,000 bonus on offer from the sponsors if Baltimore Rock goes on to win at Cheltenham next week, but he would need 26 horses to come out of the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle to get a run.
And Pipe is not certain his charge will make the cut regardless of the penalty he incurs for winning here.
He added: "He travels well but I'm not sure he will get in. We will enter him and see and it will be disappointing if he doesn't."
Sky Bet cut him to 7-1 from 14s for the County Hurdle following the Imperial Cup.