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."
29 August 2015Racing lands Winter win
O'Brien family enjoys Wexford wins
Goodwood Celebration for Kodi team
Polybius takes Hopeful honours
Kodi Celebration for Cox
Twisler on the march
Rene lands Goodwood riches
Maarek shoots to Bullet victory
Hawk swoops in Prestige
Deegan hopeful of good Sho
Titania looks to 'step up' in Dance
Gosden youngster impresses at HQ
Ascot date for Dartmouth
Bolger seeking Curragh Smash n grab
Death of northern stalwart Charnock
Ground key for Weld big guns
Panther pleases in Newmarket work
Icon eyeing Prestige prize
Buratino in Middle Park frame
Cox hoping for Kodi Celebration
28 August 2015Devonshire chasing deserved success
All-American hero taking next step
Ground key for Cape
Rock ready to roll at Windsor
Suzi's seeking Goodwood gold
Maarek aiming to fire in Bullet
Treble top for Weld and Smullen
Baker tempted by Woodbine for Bill
Memory poised for Haydock chance
Treve clash possible for Queen
Hills to make French Connection
Forgotten horse up for Irish Leger
Bear a necessity in Celebration
Pallasator in Cup mix at Doncaster
Lynam sprinters Flying first class
27 August 2015Tested passes with flying colours
Tested passes with flying colours
Iffranesia shoots for Bullet glory
Burke plots Reflection Ayr raid
Fascinating entry in Winter Hill
Thumbs-up at Ffos Las
Emotionless bound for Doncaster
Ground key to Rectifier run
Second inspection at Ffos Las
Whip ban for Mulrennan
Tryster in line for September clash
All systems go for Pendleton
Palmer firming up Covert mission
Safety first for Appleby
Stevens to end training career
Cumani content with Postponed work
Storm stars in Leger list
Irish Champion excites Glen camp
26 August 2015Spear Celebration 'highly unlikely'
Williams ponders Bullet plans
Barron belief in Bing
Salvo seeks solace at lower grade
'Laid-back' Erupt ready for action
Rain pain at Ffos Las
Take Cover back in Flying form
Bookmakers agree possible merger
Big-race targets on Marjurie agenda
Oppenheimer relaxed on Horn options
Bright future forecast for Wizard
Sea charts path to Treve clash
Epsom option for Berkshire
Ranger sights set on Bullet
Irish Leger option for Brave
Point plans up in the air
Ward retains Finnegan faith