Sir Erec maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles with an impressive pillar-to-post success in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.
A high-class stayer on the Flat last year, Joseph O'Brien's recruit has taken to timber well and improved on his narrow maiden hurdle success at Leopardstown's big Christmas meeting to run out a ready winner.
Mark Walsh was allowed to set his own tempo on the 13/8 favourite but he pulled out plenty when asked for an effort and a taking leap at the last saw him scoot clear of the chasing pack.
Stablemate Gardens Of Babylon (5/1) emerged to chase the favourite down but he was six lengths down at the line.
The disappointment of the race was Willie Mullins' Tiger Tap Tap who failed to build on his close second to Sir Erec at the previous meeting.
Sky Bet cut the winner to 3/1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle and representative Michael Shinners said: "Joseph O'Brien has won the Triumph Hurdle in the past and he looks to have the division by the horns with Fakir D'oudairies winning so well at Cheltenham on Trials Day.
"It'll be interesting to see if they both head for the Triumph now as the latter has the Sky Bet Supreme as an option and we make him 10/1 for the Festival curtain-raiser and 5/1 second-favourite for the Triumph. All prices are obviously Non Runner, No Bet so punters have plenty of options too."
Walsh said: "He was good and he had to do it the hard way. I would have liked a lead, but he'll learn from it and hopefully he'll show up in Cheltenham in as good form.
"He's won on soft on the Flat as well, so he's versatile that way."
O'Brien confirmed Cheltenham is the likely next port of call for Sir Erec.
He said: "He jumped well today. Making the running wasn't ideal, but he's uncomplicated and Mark gave him a lovely ride. He got him into a great rhythm and he said he jumped on the bridle at the second last. He's hugely exciting.
"He's two out of two (over hurdles) and while you would love to have more experience, he'll probably head to the Triumph Hurdle now.
"He sprinted from the back of the last. You would have said stamina would always have been his forte, but he showed plenty of speed today. He's won on testing ground (on the Flat) at Limerick so he's versatile.
"Fakir D'Oudairies (O'Brien's recent Cheltenham winner) had three runs over hurdles and two runs over fences in France and this fella is only having his second run over hurdles, so experience wise there is a big difference but I don't know if he'd have the engine of this fella.
"Looking at him (Gardens of Babylon) today you would say he might want further. He didn't travel as well as some of the others but seemed to gallop out well. We'll see what the handicapper does."