Last year's Randox Health Grand National hero Tiger Roll warmed up for another ambitious spring campaign with a clear-cut victory in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle at Navan.
The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase - which he won at Cheltenham in 2018 - will be the next port of call for the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding, ahead of his attempt to become the first horse since Red Rum (in 1973-74) to land back-to-back victories in the Aintree spectacular.
Tiger Roll was sent off at 25-1 for the Grade Two hurdle over two miles and five furlongs - but the Gordon Elliott-trained nine-year-old did not travel like an outsider as he settled sweetly for Keith Donoghue.
After Coquin Mans had led the field to the third-last flight, Tiger Roll loomed large to jump the penultimate hurdle in front.
Donoghue's mount soon asserted and victory was never in doubt, as he crossed the line four lengths clear of Off You Go.
Elliott - whose charge is a three-time Chetenham Festival winner - said: "That's brilliant, I'm delighted with the way he ran. He's a great horse and never lets us down.
"The plan is the cross-country race at Cheltenham and obviously the English National, all being well."
He went on: "It was a nice surprise. I thought the two horses, Bless The Wings and him, would finish second-last and last so it was a nice surprise. He's paid for himself for the year again.
"That's arguably one of his best performances over hurdles.
"I thought he would need the run badly, and we knew there was plenty of improvement in him, but he was obviously a bit fitter than I thought. Keith said he would come on from the run.
"He's going to be some horse to go for the cross-country race now and he should taking a fair bit of beating with a clear round."