Sprinter Sacre ran out a hugely-impressive winner of the the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase on his seasonal bow at Sandown.
Nicky Henderson's charge arrived unbeaten in five chase starts last term and he extended that run to six in the hands of Barry Geraghty.
Assuming control from the Pond Fence, the 4-11 favourite accelerated away to claim the Grade One prize by 15 lengths. Much had been made of the expected showdown but it turned into a one-horse race and last season's Arkle hero excelled when it mattered.
Ruby Walsh set out to make all aboard Sanctuaire and the winner was a little keen early on, pulling into second as the pair built up a healthy advantage over the rest of the field.
Geraghty soon had Sprinter Sacre lobbing along nicely in second and was happy to let Sanctuaire build up an eight-length lead early on before starting to reel him back in with the minimum of effort.
When he made his move, the response was immediate and Sprinter Sacre barely extended as he pulled away from the toiling Sanctuaire.
Two excellent leaps at the final couple of fences merely enhanced the distance and Sprinter Sacre was allowed to gallop home a comfortable wide-margin winner.
Sanctuaire paid for his early exploits as he was eventually caught for second by the fast-finishing Kumbeshwar.