Silviniaco Conti continued his rapid progression up the ranks when outpointing Long Run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Just as his Paul Nicholls-trained stablemate Kauto Star did 12 months ago, the six-year-old made all the running in the hands of Ruby Walsh.
Silviniaco Conti (7-4) jumped well throughout and had too many guns for Long Run, the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
Nicholls said: "He is a really decent horse. He's only six, he jumps, he stays - he jumped brilliantly today. We had a chat before the race and I said if they go quick get a lead, if they don't then bowl along. He jumps and gallops.
"There's no better man to ride in front than Ruby. I'm not going to rush him and I might go straight to the Gold Cup with him.
"He wants to be fresh and I'm not going to run him through the winter in the mud. He could be really interesting, come Cheltenham.
"I thought he didn't get the credit he deserved at Wetherby (winning Charlie Hall). Long Run is a very good horse but for a six-year-old it was a good performance."
Walsh said: "The Gold Cup looks the logical step. You win the Charlie Hall, you win the Betfair, it's the obvious target for him.
"He's a good stayer, he's not slow. I'd love to ride another Gold Cup winner.
"We felt the King George would be more of a speed race this year with two-mile and two-and-a-half milers in there."
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Nash eyeing Aintree bid for Busy
Ajjaadd team seek autumn aim
Fitz fine following comeback run
Dark team to mull options
Glory in Abbaye frame
Ascot on Silk radar
Chrome beaten in Parx return
Fab Fitz back in business
Ayr raid heaven sent for Doyle
Improving Angel lifts Trophy
Hunter hits the target at Ayr
Pilot flies to Newbury glory
Close gets Silver call
Toocool too good in Mill Reef
Dark lights up in Clyde
Hill stars at Newbury
20 September 2014King Louis strikes Ayr gold
Yeenaan takes control
Wannabe Yours heads Joel list
Providence supplemented for Rockfel
That could tackle fences this year
Bell saddened by Wigmore article
Limato out of Mill Reef
Horse welfare 'priority' - BHA
Four-timer for magical McCoy
Accipiter comes good for Wall
Hawk leads treble swoop for Hughes
Bamford wants a Gold Watch
Ainippe samples joy of six at Ayr
Goldie pair on Gold run
Angel of the north heads to Newbury
Candy issues Limato Reef advisory
Glorious bids to protect Legacy
19 September 2014Perfect return for Maguire
Rebel has a cause at Listowel
Ryan quartet in Ayr raid
Varian swoops for Marshall
Simcock aims high with star duo
Bolster back on Gold trail
Fahey chasing Newmarket Millions
Time called on Dude career
Makin off to a flyer at Ayr
Festival stalwart Celestial retired
Guest banking on Memory at Ayr
Dettori sweet on World rule
Baraweez on track for Ascot
Maguire raring to go
Watchable handed low Gold draw
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18 September 2014Breathing operation for Cue Card
Early conclusion to Levy agreement
Johnson Houghton hearing date set
Walker looks to future with Moon
Red-hot Kirby in Sandown treble
Listed honours for Hadaatha
Busy bags another National
Botti lines up Newmarket raid
Vintage performance from Weld filly
Cup dreams in mind for Forever
Weld prepares Newmarket challenge
McGrath and Walton charged by BHA
Encke camp ponder next move