Cue Card marked himself as a true contender for the King George VI Chase as he turned in a spring-heeled display of jumping in the sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
The former top bumper and two-mile novice hurdler staged an exhibition round in which he hardly touched a twig and was on occasions - such as when pinging the ditch on the far side of the track - quite spectacular to watch.
With his main market rival Menorah toiling throughout, the 5-6 favourite gradually pulled clear under Joe Tizzard as he met the four fences in the home straight spot-on. In the end, he had 26 lengths to spare as Edgardo Sol rallied past a tired Menorah after that one made a bad mistake at the last.
There was a strong bookmaker reaction to the display, with Paddy Power making Cue Card 8-1 from 16s for the King George while Victor Chandler offer 10-1 from 25s.
Trainer Colin Tizzard said: "Watching him today, it makes you wonder why you would ever think of going up to three miles, but Kempton (the King George) has been his target and if he's ever going to get three miles, it will be round there.
"Pace is just not an issue for him as he was always cruising. He used to tank but he was a lot less fizzy than he normally is on his first run back. When Joe squeezed him up, he was gone."
Tizzard added that he would give Cue Card one more outing ahead of the King George "somewhere". He explained: "I honestly haven't given that a lot of thought. He will go somewhere but I don't know where for sure. He might even go for the Betfair Chase yet."
Joe Tizzard added: "He was electric at his fences and was pricking his ears all the way up the straight. He's only a six-year-old and will hopefully carry on progressing."
Philip Hobbs had no excuses for Menorah, who will probably remain over fences for the time being despite being caught for second place.
The trainer said: "He was a bit flat, but to be fair he'd have been a clear second but for his bad mistake at the last. Nothing is being ruled out, but I think he'll stick to chasing."
24 October 2014Sir Max clinches Mercury gold
Full marks for Bangor schooling
Milky Way on another planet
O'Brien targets another Trophy
Hurricane in hat for Morgiana
Buick happy as a Star is born
King ace back in the Old routine
Ballyalton out for the season
McCoy makes Chepstow return
Hutchinson sits out weekend action
Botti seeking Astrelle celebration
Balding sweet on Park chance
Walker hoping for Glorious victory
Times out to make Newbury headlines
Cheltenham honour leading figures
Moore keen on Adelaide chance
Stevens back for Breeders'
Johnson Houghton fined
Duke lords it at Carlisle
Southwell first for O'Brien
Fenton fined over steroids
Buywise on the money at Ludlow
Lockinge the big plan for Toormore
Stone ruled out of Old Roan
Wetherby likely for First run
Elm tops Trophy octet
23 October 2014Fenton guilty of drugs possession
Williams hoping for Max power
Harty biding his time with Lane
Clonmel aim for Baily
Jezki possible for Morgiana bow
Harrington expects Naylor to shine
Gosden a Fan of Newmarket scorer
Northern aces face off in Cumbria
Murphy plagued by shoulder injury
Dynaste charts direct Haydock route
O'Brien outlines Breeders' plans
Wetherby-bound Taquin to duck Power
High hopes for Adelaide run
Gilgamboa waits on ground
Dandino misses Cup date
22 October 2014December date for Balding memorial
Deputy outgunned at Fontwell
Whisky chasing Power spoils
Burke maps out Odeliz targets
Present sights set on Power prize
New category for all-weather champs
Moviesta has sales date
National aim for O'Neill star
Cheltenham on Ginge agenda
Lewis eyeing Dubai success
Henderson handed Ascot role
Panther given Breeders' go-ahead
Plain sailing for perfect Storm
Big Easy sets sail for Open fixture
Hall monitored for Giant Bolster
Stomachion in November frame
Hughes revels in 'sweet' success
BHA moves to address small fields
Connell turns to Heskin
Integral to race on next year
21 October 2014Storm breezes to Exeter victory
Moore concedes title to Hughes
Meade maps out gameplan for stars
Pele poised to tackle Hennessy
O'Neill sure of Taquin redemption
Heron seeking Great prize
Court to go on Trial
Saviour blow for Skelton
Dan makes chase debut
Moore waits on Grugy decision
O'Neill outlines That choices
Conn possible for Auction bid
Power team weigh up options
Bangor cancel schooling card
No rushing back for Long Run
Dynaste leads Old Roan contenders
Grands Crus retired
Exciting Berlais heads to Chepstow
Force handed Hong Kong mission