Battleoverdoyen maintained his unbeaten record with a hard-fought victory in the Lawlor's of Naas Novice Hurdle.
Although the withdrawal of Commander Of Fleet took some of the gloss off the Grade One contest, a strong-looking field of eight runners went to post for a race which looked between leading trainers Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins.
Elliott relied on Battleoverdoyen, a £235,000 purchase after winning a point-to-point, and then victorious too in a Punchestown bumper and a Navan maiden hurdle this season.
He was the marginal favourite at 2/1 ahead of the Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer, who was third in the Champion Bumper at last season's Cheltenham Festival and won the corresponding race at Punchestown before making a winning hurdling debut at the same track.
However, Tornado Flyer was in trouble from an early stage, and Ruby Walsh eventually gave up the ghost and pulled up his mount in the back straight.
Battleoverdoyen, on the other hand, travelled strongly under Jack Kennedy - and while he had to get to work on the run to the final flight, Elliott's charge responded to score by two and three-quarter lengths.
Elliott said: "He's a nice horse and a big chaser in the making. Jack said he's only learning, and when he got to the front he didn't know what to do. He jumped his hurdles great apart from getting underneath the last.
"He'd probably prefer a little bit more ease in the ground. He's a chaser and a horse for down the road.
"I'll have to talk with Michael and Eddie (O'Leary), but I don't see why he couldn't go to Cheltenham this year. It will be hurdling this year, and chasing straightaway next year.
"He's only a baby, and we don't want to kill him , but he'll have all the entries -including at the Dublin Racing Festival (at Leopardstown).
"We'll see how he comes out of this first."
Battleoverdoyen is a general 6/1 second-favourite for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, with Nicky Henderson's Champ the marginal market leader at 5/1.
Sky Bet, who are Non Runner No Bet, went 9/2.
Sams Profile was second for Mouse Morris, with Mullins' apparent third string Getareason third.
Like Tornado Flyer, the champion trainer's other runner - the well-backed Come To Me - was bitterly disappointing.
Rest of Naas review
Articulum dominated from the front in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase at Naas.
Having opened his account over fences at Fairyhouse three weeks ago, the Gordon Elliott-trained Campeador was long odds-on to follow up when the betting opened, but strong support for Terence O'Brien's Articulum saw him challenging for favouritism come the off.
In the end Articulum was an even-money shot behind 9/10 market leader Campeador - and with the only other runner Muroor completely out of his depth, it was effectively a straight shoot-out between the top two from an early stage.
Articulum fenced beautifully in front in the hands of David Mullins, with Campeador and Mark Walsh always in his slipstream.
There was little to choose between the pair as they jumped the second fence from home, but O'Brien's charge soon asserted and passed the post seven and a half lengths to the good.
O'Brien said: "He always showed us a lot - but he's had his wind problems, and we've done a bit of touching up and doctoring over the last year or two.
"Hopefully we'll go to Leopardstown and take on Grade One company at the Dublin Racing Festival. David was very happy with him, and thought there was plenty of horse left.
"I'll probably leave him at two miles (in the Irish Arkle), and we can always go up again.
"I think there is more improvement in him, and hopefully he'll be sound in the morning."
Noel Meade has similarly high hopes for Valdieu following his impressive display in the opening I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.
After five consecutive placed efforts in bumpers, the six-year-old finally came good in that sphere at Down Royal over the Christmas period and was a 100/30 chance for his hurdling bow.
Ridden by Sean Flanagan, Valdieu eased six and a half lengths clear of fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned runner Final List.
Odds-on favourite Barrington Court finished tailed off, but was found to be lame post-race.
Meade said: "I couldn't believe this horse was getting beaten in bumpers - we thought he was the best bumper horse we had last year.
"The hurdles helped him as he attacked them. He's a smart horse.
"There is every possibility he could go to Leopardstown (for the Dublin Racing Festival)."