Chacun Pour Soi and Paul Townend© Photo Healy Racing
Chacun Pour Soi justified long odds-on favouritism to make a winning return to action in the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork.
Trained by Willie Mullins, the eight-year-old does not have many miles on the clock and showed his class when beating stablemate Min in the Dublin Chase last season.
He was among the favourites for the Queen Mother Champion Chase but missed the race at the 11th hour with a minor setback and was having his first run for 309 days.
With stable jockey Paul Townend staying loyal to Chacun Pour Soi rather than riding Min in the John Durkan Memorial at Punchestown, the 1-5 market leader was settled in third as Djingle and Cash Back forced the gallop.
Just briefly Townend had to give his mount a shake of the reins to take closer order entering the straight, but he was soon back on the bridle and a good leap at the last sealed the deal.
Stablemate Cash Back looked booked for second but took a crashing fall at the last, bringing down Djingle. Thankfully both horses and jockeys escaped unhurt.
While Betfair trimmed the winner into 11-4 from 3-1 for Cheltenham in March, Coral went 3-1 from 7-2.
“It was a great start for him. He was fairly asleep early on in the race and got a good blow into himself. He had the other two well beaten when they fell at the last and was entitled to win. Thankfully he did and it's good to get him back on the track," said Townend.
Regarding his jumping he added “touch wood, he's deadly - I don't want to put the mockers on him. He's very good.
“The other two have to show their hands earlier with the way they race, he just had that bit of class.
He took a good blow and I think he'll come on plenty for it.
"It was a joint decision between myself and Willie to come here today (instead of the Grade 1 John Durkan Chase at Punchestown).”
The Mullins camp took the first at Punchestown too with Power Of Pause (David Mullins up) and Min later landed the featured Grade One John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase in the hands of Patrick Mullins.