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."
31 October 2014Day to remember for Ellison
Johnson remains under observation
Conti chasing second Charlie Hall
Terror scares Newmarket rivals
Filleule faces Champion test
Terror scares off Newmarket rivals
Sgt far from Reckless at Uttoxeter
Little King wears Down Royal crown
Nicholls goes on Charm offensive
Fishers angling for Wetherby prize
Lavelle star Bec in business
Weld out to break new ground
Osborne ready to 'roll the dice'
Dank bids to sign off on a high
Turf glory in sight for Telescope
Red Ed upbeat about Cadeaux
Aktabantay out of Breeders' Cup
Tearless secures Good Friday ticket
Overnight stay for Johnson
Crawford banks on Izzini progress
Toast could make Spencer think
Road charts route to Royal riches
Grece excels at Saint-Cloud
Hawk given Greatwood option
Hannon: Early speed key for Osaila
30 October 2014Tearless takes Lingfield honours
Johnson taken to hospital
Royal summons for Apache
Bowe takes aim at WKD bullseye
Hootenanny 'smoking' for BC mission
Avenue roads lead to Newmarket
Shu to be kept busy
Scu sweet on Sensation Ascot raid
Murtagh succumbs to Cup charms
Dandino to stay in Australia
Glance denied Mackinnon defence
Bailey ace rules Supreme at Taunton
O'Brien hit by Magician blow
Diablo in big-race picture
Buckley raises Toast to Osborne
Pastille seeking four-timer
Conti all set for Charlie Hall
Barnes out to storm Saint-Cloud
Williams issues Buywise warning
Lynam reveals Slade stalls fears
29 October 2014Lame Magician out of Breeders' Cup
Diablo in big-race picture
Mullins enters strong Hennessy team
Damaged hock behind Estid reverse
Eckhart team rocked by injury blow
Hunt Ball makes Power play
Morgiana a T bone of contention
Kirby ponders Buttons French raid
Glance camp turn to Williams
Wohler trusts 'professional' Moore
Red alert to Cup challenge
Head targets more Mile glory
Mile hope Toronado in 'great form'
Telescope camp banking on Moore
Twiston-Davies link excites Moore
Flying third to Bob on hurdling bow
Harden to test top staying waters
Godolphin take share in Belardo
Mullins has big guns at Down Royal
Annacotty set for Kempton return
Powell and Bradley cleared
28 October 2014Fingal camp on weather watch
More injury woe for Popham
Dickin unveils Thomas gameplan
Power stalls in Flemington spin
Toast drawn nine in BC Classic
My Ambivalent passed fit by vets
Harry out to bring House down
Three and easy for ton-up Hanagan
Wood carves out Galway verdict
More Of That in Wetherby frame
Big guns confirmed for Charlie Hall
Byron pencilled in for Far East
Newbury reverts to original title
Magician to stay in the US