Captain Conan made a good start to life over fences with victory in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
The Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old (11-10 favourite), winner of the Tolworth Hurdle last season, jumped smoothly from the outset for Barry Geraghty, but found Sire De Grugy a willing foe.
There was little in it as the pair jumped the last in unison, but Captain Conan's bigger engine gave him a two-length advantage at the line.
Henderson said: "It's hard work in this ground, but I wouldn't be too worried about him in it. I think he's a two-miler - he's got a lot of speed. It was a very pleasing start and I'm delighted.
"I don't think he touched a twig but I would have been disappointed if he had. I looked after him last season and we didn't take him to Cheltenham (in March) because this is what we had been waiting for. We've got Simonsig to come and those are the two (Arkle horses)."
Jamie Moore, rider of Sire De Grugy for his father, Gary, said: "I was delighted with the way he ran, but he wasn't good enough and there are no excuses."
Anonis (25-1) claimed a keynote victory for Ireland in the Listed Cheltenham Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. Trained by Mags Mullins, the six-year-old overcame a 605-day absence to defeat The Liquidator by five lengths under the County Kilkenny handler's son, Danny.
The winning handler said: "He's a good horse. I think a lot of him. He's a powerful galloper and has done everything I've asked from him at home. We might go for one more bumper, but it's up to Barry (Connell, owner) what we do next. It's great for Irish racing."
Double Ross (14-1) put his rivals to sleep from the front in the Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle. The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six-year-old made virtually every yard of the running under the Naunton handler's son, Sam, and continued to maintain a feisty gallop to the winning post.
Twiston-Davies snr said: "He was always in control - amazing, really. He'll go back novice chasing very soon but that was a hell of a consolation. We knew he'd love the ground."
23 April 2014No Sandown run for Oscar
Un De Sceaux to skip Punchestown
Treve among stellar Ascot entries
Charline still in Guineas mix
Big guns remain in Guineas frame
Telescope tops Richards runners
Prince in Punchestown frame
Sparrow set for Punchestown spin
Balder to take novice test
No rush for Annie target
Connell eager for Tank chase run
Cosgrave appeal set for Monday
Hughes set for Sandown return
France adds flair to Guineas
Mullins drops Vautour Champion hint
Exciting Bunker given Dante date
Culloty keen on Gold run for Heeled
Hannon triple-handed in Guineas
Resurge revived for Epsom return
Sandown option for Battalion
Johnston pair clash in Derby Trial
Reckless Abandon returns to track
22 April 2014Rizeena delights in Guineas workout
Carberry targets swift return
Williamson escapes serious injury
Rizeena thrills Brittain on gallops
Door bags National glory
Twiston-Davies hits four-timer
Joe suffers shock defeat
Scudamore hits century mark
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Thousand shows star quality
Cirrus set for Treve clash
Houblon heads Gold contenders
Guineas still on Berkshire radar
21 April 2014Door bags National glory
Wilson passes away
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Stepper set for trip drop
Richards in Telescope sights
Ladies geared for Summer repeat
Hill out of Irish National
No Dundeel at Royal Ascot
Clowance up for the Cup
Garner hit with lengthy ban
Memories in Final flourish
Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Toner hits target for Elliott
Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Mind called up for National service
20 April 2014Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Lyons backs Brackan
Brookhouse turns to Crawford
Weld and Smullen keep up good work
Whiskey shows winning spirit
Brook another for Russell team
Zurigha blossoms in Snowdrop
Planning pounces at Haydock
Escalating moving on up
Buntline bidding for more
Rebel all set for big Powers test