Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies won the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase for a sixth time as 11-4 shot Ballyoptic mastered the muddy conditions at Wetherby.
On soft ground over three miles, the gelding saw off 6-1 shot Elegant Escape by three and three quarter lengths.
Aso (7-1) was a further six lengths back in third.
Favourite La Bague Au Roi, targeting Boxing Day's King George VI Chase, lacked fluency in her jumping before being pulled up with four fences left.
The eight-year-old French horse, trained by Warren Greatrex, won the Novices' Chase at Kempton last year during a run of four consecutive victories, but was beaten by a length and a quarter last time out at Aintree.
Ballyoptic failed to complete three of his four runs last season.
But ridden by the trainer's son Sam, who was also on board for a nine-length win on his most recent run at Chepstow last month, he pulled away after the penultimate fence in the gloomy conditions and held on impressively.
The winning trainer said: "Ballyoptic fought back well. He was unlucky last season when he fell in the Grand National and things just didn't happen for him. Hopefully this will be his year."