Paddy Wallace, Neil Best, Andrew Trimble (2) and Bryn Cunningham all touched down as Ulster proved too hot to handle for the Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, October 14
ULSTER 32 CARDIFF BLUES 12, Ravenhill (Att: 9,979)
Scorers: Ulster: Paddy Wallace, Neil Best, Andrew Trimble 2, Bryn Cunningham; Cons: David Humphreys 2; Pen: Humphreys
Cardiff: Tries: Chris Czekaj, Wayne Evans; Con: Nick Macleod
Ulster's thumping five-try bonus point win over the Blues gave coach Mark McCall double reason to celebrate on Saturday night. A perfect prelude to next weekend's Heineken Cup opener with Toulouse at Ravenhill, it also took the province clear of Llanelli at the top of the Magners League.
Ulster's try haul left Cardiff, who had come into this game with eight changes from the side which defeated Saracens in the EDF Cup last weekend, bewildered and demoralised.
Dai Young's men had little chance of recording their first ever win at Ravenhill by having three players binned, one of whom was replacement flanker Martyn Williams, in what proved to be a shambolic display ahead of their Heineken Cup trip to Bourgoin next Saturday.
Ulster, after a shaky start, ground their opponents down and a second half which saw them score 29 points sent an albeit weakened Blues packing.
With Ulster looking a bit stale, and David Humphreys having difficulty finding touch, it was hardly surprising that the Blues took an early lead. From a long drop out, in the seventh minute, number eight Mark Lewis crashed through some non-existent Ulster tackling and looked to finish the move he had begun by wriggling over the line - he was stopped but winger Chris Czekaj was on hand to dot down.
Nicky Robinson, as with his fourth-minute penalty attempt, was unable to bisect the posts.
Ulster needed to steady the ship and Humphreys landed an immediate penalty from the restart but the home side were soon in trouble again. Only the speed of Andrew Maxwell saved the situation after Ed Fairhurst broke with ease from a scrum and chipped the struggling Ulster cover.
However, Maxwell then set off from under the posts and nearly gifted Jamie Robinson the softest of tries with a wild attempted pass to Wallace.
A missed touch from Nicky Robinson, four minutes before the half-hour, gave Ulster their chance and Ireland winger Trimble's strong running saw him brush off Tom Shanklin with ease to begin a sweeping move which ended with Wallace getting the try.
Humphreys ended up pole-axed in giving the scoring pass and Wallace then failed to add the points while Humphreys was eventually hauled to his feet.
Still, Ulster now led 8-5 and 32 minutes in, with Cardiff being increasingly penalised, Ulster's pack took charge at a lineout near the Blues' line to maul their way over. Flanker Best got the score in the mayhem which saw Matt McCullough forced to leave the field for attention to a head wound and Justin Harrison square up to James Goode.
Humphreys missed the extras and his team-mates then failed to build on their 13-5 lead for the remainder of the half against a Blues outfit reduced to 14 men after 38 minutes due to the binning of prop John Yapp for persistently killing the ball.
The second half was all about Ulster turning the screw. With the Blues barely restored to 15, Scott Morgan was binned after a sizeable brawl.
Two minutes later and after a knock on in the lineout, Trimble ran a great line and took a pass from Humphreys which put him clean through.
At 20-5 it looked game over and Ulster piled on the pain with a Maxwell 80-metre kick and chase ending up with full-back Cunningham grabbing the bonus point try - his fourth of the campaign.
Cunningham's score also resulted in the Blues being reduced to 13 men as Welsh international Williams was sent packing for an infringement while Maxwell was kicking ahead.
Unsurprisingly, Ulster quickly scored again, this time Trimble gathering from another kick and chase. Wayne Evans's injury-time try was scant consolation for the visitors.
Ulster: Bryn Cunningham; Andrew Maxwell, Kevin Maggs, Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble; David Humphreys, Isaac Boss; Justin Fitzpatrick, Rory Best, Bryan Young, Justin Harrison (capt), Matt McCullough, Neil Best, Stephen Ferris, Roger Wilson.
Replacements used: Tim Barker for McCullough (32-40 mins), Neil McMillan for Ferris, Kieran Campbell for Boss (both 69), Scott Young for Humphreys, Paul Shields for R Best, Barker for Harrison (both 70), Declan Fitzpatrick for Fitzpatrick (71), Adam Larkin for Trimble (77).
Cardiff: Nick Macleod; Chris Czekaj, Jamie Robinson, Marc Stcherbina, Rhys Williams; Nicky Robinson, Ed Fairhurst; John Yapp, Duane Goodfield, Gary Powell, Deiniol Jones, James Goode, Scott Morgan, Ben White, Mark Lewis.
Replacements used: Tom Shanklin for R Williams (7 mins), Gethin Jenkins for White (40-48), Gareth Williams for Goodfield (46), Martyn Williams for White (55), Bradley Davies for Goode (64), Wayne Evans for Fairhurst (73). Not used: David Flannigan.
Gethin Jenkins, Gareth Williams, Bradley Davies, Martyn Williams, Wayne Evans, Tom Shanklin, David Flannigan.
Referee: Andy Ireland (Scotland)