Total Recall took full advantage of a favourable timber mark in Leopardstown's William Fry Handicap Hurdle.
Despite a huge field, Willie Mullins' charge was sent off the 5-6 favourite, having won the Ladbrokes Trophy over fences last time out.
Running off 31lb lower, many expected him to win - but not much went right during the race.
He was ultra-keen on the way round for Paul Townend, and also had to make his own running for much of the race.
Despite using so much energy, Total Recall was still able to pull away after the last and beat Oscar Knight by three lengths.
Mullins said: "He was too keen and we didn't expect that.Total Recall exploited his lower mark over hurdles (PA)
"We were going to drop him in the middle of them and hunt away and try and win it over the last two hurdles, but the horse took control after three or four hurdles and that was it.
"Paul just had to sit and suffer in front and hope that there would be something left in the tank, and there was plenty left in the tank.
"Total Recall did it very well in the end."
Townend said: "He pulled hard but I never thought we'd go that slow.
"I was hopeful and he looked well in off his chase mark, so it's nice when it works out as it doesn't always."
Select any odd to add a bet