Cheltenham Gold Cup victor, Imperial Commander made the most of his return to the track, triumphing in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock.
The same race last year saw the Nigel Twiston-Davies charge defeated by just a nose by Kauto Star, but this time out he showed he justified race favourite status.
With jockey Paddy Brennan aboard, he was always prominent, progressing well to lead at the tenth, staying on well in the run in to deny the challenging Tidal Bay by one and a half lengths, with third placed Planet Of Sound further behind by eight lengths.
The very pleased winning trainer, Twiston-Davies said, "That's just what I wanted. It was absolutely superb and I couldn't be happier.
"He will definitely come on for the race. He hasn't had a racecourse gallop or anything.
"There's only so much you can do at home, he wasn't absolutely race-fit but fit enough and his jumping was brilliant.
"He'll go to Kempton for the King George, granted everything being all right. That's the next race for him and I've no worries about Kempton."
Winning jockey Brennan continued, "He was good. I was just trying to warm him up at the first few, he took a while to get his confidence but it was very deep ground.
"He got tired but there was no Kauto Star today and he was brilliant - he really turned it on in the straight.
"The horse is a Gold Cup winner and we can dream about that again. Tidal Bay flew home but he had plenty left pulling up and I'm sure he will improve for it.
"Today the hype was all on us and it was great. And I'm sure he'll improve a lot more. I'm looking forward to another day in March in the Cotswolds."