Prince De Beauchene, ante-post favourite for last season's Grand National before injury intervened, made a successful reappearance in the Woodlands House Hotel Hurdle at Limerick.
The Graham Wylie-owned nine-year-old had his last start in the Bobbyjo Chase in February but despite the testing conditions, he looked in control throughout.
Trainer Willie Mullins attempted to replace his nephew Emmet Mullins in the saddle with his son, Patrick, who still needs one more victory to break the record for number of winners in a calendar year by an amateur, but the Limerick stewards vetoed the move.
Emmet Mullins tracked Clonbanan Lad for much of the race before taking up the running half a mile.
The 3-1 shot then cruised to a three-and-a-quarter-length victory over Venture Capital.
"He travelled and jumped great. He got free for the first time turning in" - Emmett Mullins
Emmet Mullins said: "He was very impressive and he was always going very easy. He travelled and jumped great. He got free for the first time turning in.
"I would imagine Aintree is the plan for him now and hopefully he will get there in one piece."
There was agony for backers of Harpsy Cord in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase as after leading all the way he came down at the last when five lengths clear.
That left course specialist Jack Absolute (16-1) in front and he had to be kept right up to his work to hold off Tullintain.
It was not what Harpsy Cord deserved as he had jumped brilliantly in the hands of Keith Donoghue but after pecking on landing at the second-last he got in too tight to the final fence to gift victory to John Walsh's nine-year-old in the hands of Brian O'Connell.
Walsh said: "That's his eighth win and his sixth around here so it's definitely a case of horses for courses.
"Today was the plan and you can't beat a bit of luck!"
Later on the card, Katie Walsh was feared to have suffered a shoulder injury when Pocketfullapennies came down at the seventh-last in the Earl of Harrington Memorial Maiden Hunters Chase but later tweeted she was "fine just sore!!".