Kauto Stone made a successful seasonal bow as he landed the Grade One JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.

Trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Daryl Jacob, Kauto Stone was sent off a 4-1 chance and was noted travelling smoothly some way out before challenging at the second last.

The front-running First Lieutenant made a battle of it, but he had no answer as Kauto Stone pulled away after the last.

Quito De La Roque finished third. 

Bryan Cooper set out to make all on First Lieutenant and he was soon joined by fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned runner and last year's winner Quito De La Roque.

He was sent off as the 2-1 favourite after his 2011 success and that pair were also joined by Chicago Grey on the front end before he departed at the end of the first circuit.

Jacob, meanwhile, was trying to get Kauto Stone settled in behind as he was racing a little keenly in company with Joncol.

The order at the head of affairs hardly changed throughout but it looked like turning into a four-horse race as the leading duo began to push on, followed by Kauto Stone and Realt Dubh, who appeared full of running.

After doing all the leg work, the early effort began to tell on the Gigginstown pair and Realt Dubh was primed to challenge on the inside with Kauto Stone sitting on the outside.

"He travelled well in the Tingle Creek Chase (last year) so he was always going to travel well today" - Daryl Jacob

However, Realt Dubh clattered the second-last fence and despite being switched to the outside to challenge again, he had lost valuable momentum and Kauto Stone assumed the lead.

Jacob had to keep pushing after the last as First Lieutenant bravely gave his all, but Kauto Stone was a length too good at the line with Quito De La Roque settling for third.

Kauto Stone was upholding the family tradition as he emulated the feat of his great half-brother Kauto Star, who won this race in 2008 and 2010.

Kauto Star also won five King George VI Chases and two Cheltenham Gold Cups before his retirement earlier this week and Paddy Power offer 20-1 about Kauto Stone hitting the Gold Cup jackpot.

Jacob told At the Races: "He did it nicely. He travelled well and we got a lovely lead through the race.

"I think he will improve from that.

"They went a nice, even gallop all the way. He travelled well in the Tingle Creek Chase (last year) so he was always going to travel well today.

"Paul is a master at keeping horses fresh and well and I'm sure he will have a nice target in mind for him at home."

Nicholls was back in the winner's enclosure when Cristal Bonus (2-1) gave him his fifth Ladbrokes Chase in a row.

The exciting six-year-old had already collared front-running market leader Bog Warrior when that one crashed out at the final fence, and Cristal Bonus strode clear under Jacob to beat Jacksonslady by nine lengths.

Jane Mangan enjoyed a decent payday after steering Beef To The Heels to the spoils in the Billecart-Salmon Handicap Hurdle.

Gordon Elliott's 8-1 chance looked a sitting duck for the strong-travelling Thomas Edison to aim at approaching the final flight, but he jumped it well and responded to all of his rider's urgings to score by four lengths.

Art Of Logistics (11-10) fought really hard for favourite-backers in the Value Cabs Maiden Hurdle, rallying gamely once headed by Toye Native to get back up by a neck.

Local hope Latin Connection (20-1) showed similar resolution to defy top-weight at the expense of the well-treated Great Oak in the Tayto Group Handicap Hurdle, while trainer Stuart Crawford followed up when Gilt Shadow (14-1) made a successful start to his career in the Allen Logistics (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.

Kyle's Turn was another to shoulder a welter burden in a thrilling finish to the Rainbow Communications Handicap Chase.

The 10-1 chance just clung on from Days Ahead, with Tarquinius a close-up third.