Albert Bartlett winner Vanillier claimed his first success over fences when taking the Liam & Valerie Brennan Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown.
The Grade Two contest was only a four-runner affair, with the small field then further diminished as the evens favourite Sixshooter fell at the third from home on his second outing over fences.
Ballyshannon Rose then also fell at the final flight, leaving only two contenders standing at a stage when the Gavin Cromwell-trained Vanillier was well clear of Gordon Elliott’s Fancy Foundations and could canter home 26 lengths to the good under Keith Donoghue.
“He jumped well. I would have liked if something had joined him earlier in the race just to force a bit more pace into it,” Cromwell said of the winner, who started at 13-8 having been beaten into third on his chasing debut at Down Royal last month.
“He’s just a dour stayer. With Sixshooter falling we’ll never know, but I suppose jumping is the name of the game.
“I walked the track beforehand and it’s nice safe ground. Hopefully he’s OK in the morning as he’s a big horse and wants to get his toe in.
“There are two staying chases at Christmas, one at Leopardstown and one in Limerick.
“He’ll have an entry in both of them and we’ll see what the ground is like closer to the time.”
It sadly emerged after that race the Noel Meade-trained Sixshooter suffered fatal injuries in his fall.