Folsom Blue was the highlight of a Gordon Elliott treble when he came out on top in a thrilling finish to the BoyleSports Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Punchestown.
The well-backed 5-1 favourite had led between the final two fences but a hesitant jump at the last appeared to let in the Willie Mullins-trained Isleofhopendreams.
However, he was galvanised by Jack Kennedy to regain the advantage on the run-in on what was his first race over fences this season after a spell hurdling.
Folsom Blue was a length and a half in command at the line with last year's winner Baie Des Iles 13 lengths back in third place. Space Cadet was another five lengths away in fourth.
He won the race back in 2014 for Mouse Morris and had only run at Sandown last weekend when fourth in a hot handicap won by Topofthegame.
"He's a great honest horse. We sent him to England last week and they went no gallop so it was a bit of a worry coming back a week later. It was great," said Elliott.
"He kind of jammed on at the last but other than that Jack said he jumped good. He said if he had something with him he would have jumped it better but it worked out great and everyone is happy.
"I'd say he'll go for the Irish National. I'd say he'll definitely go there."
Hardline (5-2 joint-favourite) made the most of a drop in class to kick-off the Elliott trio in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle.
The six-year-old had been third in two Grade Ones since coring at Wexford and Clonmel and took this Listed opportunity with both hands under Davy Russell to beat Riders Onthe Storm by two and a quarter lengths.
"It was a nice race to win and we'll try and find something similar. He's probably just a bit below a Grade One horse but he'll be a nice chaser next year," said Elliott.
Getaway John (4-7 favourite) completed the treble with victory in the concluding bumper under Jamie Codd.
Auvergnat led home a 1-2-3 for owner J P McManus and trainer Enda Bolger in the P. P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase.
Repeating last year's success in this three-mile banks race, Auvergnat (7-2) just held a rallying Josies Orders by a short head with Blue Templar 10 lengths away.
The first two home will now head to the Cheltenham Festival along with stablemate Cantlow, who was a late absentee.
"Cheltenham is the plan for the first two and Cantlow also. Cantlow just gave a little cough this morning and we had him primed for his run," said Bolger.
"We're happy, job done, and we'll freshen them up now and maybe have a couple of days to the seaside and things."
McManus and Bolger doubled up when Gilgamboa (8-13 favourite), ridden by Nina Carberry, ran out a game winner of the www.punchestown.com Hunters Chase.
"We'll probably go to the Tetratema now and then for the Liverpool Foxhunters," said Bolger.
High Sparrow struck in a Limerick bumper over Christmas and followed up on his jumping bow, beating Caltex by a length and a half in the Michael Fitzpatrick Memorial Maiden Hurdle.
The 13-8 favourite Wood Emery (13-2) overcame a lengthy absence to take the Entire Cheltenham Festival On Racing UK Handicap Hurdle.