Apple's Jade was pulled up as Benie Des Dieux returned with an impressive 21-length triumph in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park for trainer Willie Mullins.
The evens favourite, ridden by Paul Townend, headed a top three for Mullins from Penhill and Killultagh Vic.
Mullins indicated Benie Des Dieux could run in either the Mares' Hurdle or the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
And he said she could be even better than his brilliant 2016 Champion Hurdle winner Annie Power.
"You'd seriously have to look at the Stayers' Hurdle after that performance," said Mullins.
"She went to France last summer and beat their unbeaten mare over there in the French Champion Hurdle. She could be better than any mare I've trained."
Mullins had another victory to celebrate as Total Recall, ridden by his nephew and local lad Danny, won the Thyestes Chase.
The 11-year-old Total Recall (16-1) beat stablemate Class Conti (33-1) and was introduced to betting for the Grand National at Aintree in April at odds of 25-1.
In the Galmoy Hurdle, Apple's Jade - last year's beaten Champion Hurdle favourite - disappointed having won last time out at Leopardstown while Benie Des Dieux clocked up a ninth win for Mullins.
"Apple's Jade never went at all. I've said all year that she was not working as well as last year," said Apple Jade's trainer Gordon Elliott.
"We'll have a chat with Michael and Eddie (O'Leary) and I'd imagine if she goes anywhere it will be for the Stayers' at Cheltenham and that could be her swansong if all goes well."