Klassical Dream ran the opposition into the ground under an inspired ride from Paul Townend to win the Dornan Engineering Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Townend stole a march on his rivals at the start when taking at least out six lengths out of the field.
Only Danny Mullins, riding last year’s winner Flooring Porter, tried to cover the move and roust his mount into second place behind the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old.
Klassical Dream, having his first race since winning Punchestown’s Stayers Hurdle in April, settled into a handy lead with Flooring Porter well clear of the others.
Try as he might, Flooring Porter could not mount a serious challenge to Klassical Dream (7-4 favourite), who kept on gamely to land the Grade One spoils by two lengths. Burning Victory was 21 lengths away in third place.
Klassical Dream was cut to 2-1 favourite from 7-2 for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Coral and 11-4 from 4-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair.
Mullins admitted the race had not panned out as anticipated.
He said: “It wasn’t part of the plan, we were expecting pace in the race but obviously it wasn’t there. Paul said the horse took the initiative, jumped out the gate and went.
“I said to Paul ‘you were doing well taking a breather in front’ but he said ‘it wasn’t me, it was the horse taking breathers’ and when Danny would come he would go on.
“The horse took over and did everything.
“He is hard to train, he has huge ability but doesn’t always give you confidence when he works. I was only hoping that things would come right today when he came here and it did.
“That’s better than horses that work the house down at home and go to the racecourse and don’t do it. He’s just the opposite but we’re getting to know him a lot more now and we trust him.”
When asked if he could go straight to the Stayers’ Hurdle, Mullins added “It’s a possibility he could do that, but we haven’t made any decision yet.
“I think with the race under his belt we’d have a lot more confidence in him. While he was doing everything all right at home, he didn’t show us the sparkle that he shows on the racetrack.
“He has that under his belt and we’re very happy now that we probably don’t have to go to the well again before Cheltenham.”