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."
23 November 2014Followme poised for Drinmore date
Balbriggan lands Troytown gamble
Vautour impresses on chasing debut
Balbriggan all the way
Un De Sceaux set for Thurles
Vautour off to impressive start
Melodic team face tough choice
Henderson aims at Listed prize
Croco in frame for Topham
Belle set for hurdling campaign
Deputy in Kempton firing line
McBratney banks on Boy progress
Silvi scraps to Betfair glory
Bally sparkles on Mullins' big day
Kelly's a Fixed Brush hero
Faugheen turns on the style
Fenton banned for three years
Amlin double for fab Ferof
New One excels in Haydock romp
Flyer grounds Ascot rivals
Vasco a cut above opposition
22 November 2014Conti strikes Betfair Chase gold
Taken seeking Listed gold
Mogol facing Monksfield test
Vautour makes chasing bow
Gordon enjoys Dundalk spin
McCoy: Landmark swayed judgment
Jacob warms up with brace
Hill peaking for Troytown return
Billy back on winning track
Walsh back for Ferof ride
New ready for Haydock Rush
Cheltenham is Big aim
Mullins eager for Faugheen run
Cue primed for Betfair defence
21 November 2014Geraghty snapped up for Seuil
Volnay aiming for quick repeat
Argocat camp play it cool
Leading Light retired
Frankel filly breaks Irish record
Linton loses Listed place
Doubles for Pipe and Scudamore
Nasty spill for Insole
McCoy targets midweek return
Farm comes Home to roost at Thurles
Flemenstar future dictated by scan
Cue lined up for Haydock return
20 November 2014McNamara joy at turning pro
Volnay seeking Mersey paradise
Sloane Avenue books Dubai date
Spencer reveals Qatar riding snub
Doyle ready for Godolphin challenge
Good news at Huntingdon
BHA hear Linton case
Avenue shows winning way
Grugy diagnosed with hip issue
Meade plots Monksland comeback
Ptit secures swift double
Shanes shines in hurdles win
Mullins' stars set for weekend runs
Haydock aim for Aurore
Medermit in Betfair contention