The Philip Hobbs-trained Lead On was sent off favourite but the star to emerge through the driving rain was Sizing Europe, who moved into the lead four flights from home and saw off the challenge of Osana
to win by four lengths.
In terms of tactics the race should be run to suit too as you can see Osana
going on and making the pace at a real gallop.
Formerly trained by David Pipe, Osana
(4.55) slammed Dancing Tornado by 12 lengths to record the second of his Navan victories in December.
's chasing debut win has been boosted by the subsequent success of runner-up Roberto Goldback, and O'Grady said: ''It's always nice to get your form franked but I have little doubt that on the bare bones of the form at the moment, Sizing Europe is the best horse around."
I think Osana
could turn out to be the best of them.
William Hill were suitably impressed with the 2008 Champion Hurdle runnerup and cut Osana
to 8-1 from 10s for the Arkle.
"Ashkazar was a bit lazy at Wincanton last time so hopefully they will help him and we think they will assist Osana
as well as his jockey (Andrew McNamara).
But the recent softening of the ground conditions will make this race a demanding stamina test - and play to Osana
Barr is hoping to secure the services of crack Irish jockey Andrew McNamara for all his runners, including Osana
. The classy gelding is bidding to go one better in the Champion Hurdle after finishing a brave one-length runner-up to Katchit a year ago.
Pipe confirmed: "Andrew schooled and rode work on Osana
. I'm now waiting to hear from Mr Barr."
The Triumph Hurdle winner was put in his place by Champion Hurdle favourite Binocular last time out, but managed to pick up Osana
and hold off David Pipe's runner by three and a half lengths.
Tom Scudamore had plenty of his rivals in trouble as he free-wheeled down the hill aboard Osana
, but the well-backed 2-1 favorite Sizing Europe ranged upsides swinging on the bridle for Andrew Mc-Namara.