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."
30 June 2015Time makes all the right moves
Canadian dream for Odeliz
Ground to dictate plans for Ribbons
Walsh remembers 'heavyweight' Kauto
Queen possible for Godolphin debut
Towcester chief facing BHA charges
Intilaaq in line for return
Down Royal proud to have seen Kauto
McCoy salutes 'amazing' Kauto
Nicholls leads Kauto tributes
Nicholls leads Kauto tributes
Sad end for super Star
Star put down after paddock fall
Doyle keen on Beau chance
Pontefract firsts for Hannon
Horn long odds-on for Eclipse
Frustration continues for Tudhope
Globetrotting Glance retired
Package heads for retirement
Falmouth caution for Integral
Stars on Leger course
Chase set for drop in class
Vintage option for Sails
29 June 2015France for Force
Karpino King George plans on hold
Firecrown out for compensation
Prat possible for Estidhkaar
Lowther in Lady's sights
Bay bypasses Eclipse date
Beach life suits red-hot Heffernan
Forever foxes sprint rivals
Diamond sparkles in Pretty Polly
Treve too good at Saint-Cloud
Aquam impresses on debut
Pilot leaves rivals toiling
Kodi has Jean Prat option
Aeolus given French targets
Ervedya to face her elders
28 June 2015Aquam impresses on debut
Aktabantay in Jean Prat mix
Believe seeking redemption
'Positive' signs for Creighton
Law ready to Rock at the Curragh
Jack's the lad for Curragh glory
Hughes reveals training ambition
O'Neill continues in fine form
Cliffs on track in Railway
Nicholls' Debt takes Celebration
Fab four for Doyle
Byron back with a bang
Quest for Plate ends in victory
Aeolus in Chipchase surprise
27 June 2015Markaz makes his mark
Diamond sparkles in Empress
Choir hits right note at Newmarket
Cookie out of Plate
Strong British raid on Pretty Polly
Lancaster aim for Mustadeem
Creighton in induced coma
Winston hoping for swift return
Grant recovering after Curragh fall
Winston taken to hospital
O'Brien pleased with Curragh ground
Buratino on path to Phoenix
Combat primed for Criterion
Wachman hopes to be sitting Pretty
Treve all set to star on Sunday
Danzeno defends Chipchase crown
Hopeful Niven to check Plate ground
Island out for Railway success