Hi Cloy won his third Grade One prize of the season when leading home an Irish-trained clean sweep in the John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree.
Hi Cloy was set to run in the Grand National
Andrew McNamara hit the front turning for home aboard the 14-1 winner but the pair were made to dig deep as Fota Island stayed on under Tony McCoy.
However, the Michael Hourigan-trained winner prevailed by three-quarters of a length. Mariah Rollins finished third.
Favourite Impek was pulled up along with 6-1 shot Fondmart.
Hourigan said: "The plan was the National but at 11st 9lb I thought he had too much weight. I changed my mind at the last minute but we might run him in it next year.
"I want to run him again at three miles now and he'll probably run in the Heineken Gold Cup at Punchestown later this month."
Sam Waley-Cohen completed a double over the National fences when he steered 16-1 shot Liberthine to success in the John Smith's and Spar Topham Chase.
Waley-Cohen took the Fox Hunters' Chase on the opening day and Liberthine stayed on well to win by one and a half lengths from favourite Hakim.
Star De Mohaison galloped his rivals into the ground to complete a big-race double in the John Smith's Mildmay Novices' Chase.
Paul Nicholls' 11-4 favourite also won the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Barry Geraghty took it up at the 11th fence and he held off the late challenge of Turpin Green by two lengths.
And Black Jack Ketchum became the second dual Festival winner of the afternoon as he destroyed his rivals in the Citroen C6 Sefton Novices' Hurdle.
Jonjo O'Neill's runner strolled home in the Brit Insurance Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham and the seven-year-old repeated the trick under Tony McCoy.
Although the 8-13 favourite clattered the second-last flight, McCoy only had to push him out for a five-length success over Money Trix.