Paul Nolan admits Joncol must improve if he is to defend his Hennessy Gold Cup crown at Leopardstown on February 6.
The County Wexford trainer was delighted with the eight-year-old's effort to take third place behind Pandorama in the Lexus Chase over Christmas - especially as he had had an interrupted preparation.
But Nolan admits Joncol will need to be at his best to take his revenge on Noel Meade's charge, who finished six and three-quarter lengths to the good.
"Joncol is very well. We were delighted with his run. He'd had a few setbacks before so hopefully we'll get a good clear run between now and the Hennessy," said Nolan.
"He has to improve to beat Pandorama and other good horses in there as well but we're hoping we'll have a fitter horse on Hennessy day and he'll want to be."