Simonsig drained the pressure from a tense Nicky Henderson with a flawless novice chasing initiation at Ascot to become an even shorter-priced favourite for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.
It soon became a matter of Simonsig (2-9 favourite) against the fences, as three of his four rivals in the Grade Two Betfred Novices' Chase departed at the first two obstacles entering the final circuit, and Sulpius was soon struggling to keep pace himself.
This was Simonsig's first outing since Aintree in April and he was visibly straining at the leash, so Barry Geraghty let him loose leaving Swinley Bottom in the back straight and he had a cut at a few fences before coasting some 49 lengths clear.
Henderson said: "I suppose we haven't learned much, but we know he can do this now. He will be an awful lot better when going a shade quicker, but Barry did let him go and jump them.
"This was as good a novice hurdler as I've seen in a long time and we seriously thought about him being a Champion Hurdle horse, but after a long talk over the summer we decided to send him chasing."
The trainer stopped short of comparing Simonsig with his beloved Sprinter Sacre, last season's Arkle hero, as he said jumping came "so easily" to the Champion Chase favourite, but the grey still takes very high rank.
He went on: "He's in the Wayward Lad on the 27th (at Kempton on Thursday). I'd say it's unlikely, but I'm not ruling it in or out. Remittance Man won at Leicester on a Tuesday so easily that we ran him again at Newbury on a Saturday and he won by something like 25 lengths."
Queen Mother and Arkle winner Remittance Man actually took this very race back in 1990, as well as following up in the Wayward Lad.
Geraghty added: "That was very much mission accomplished. He got the revs up at one or two but listened to me every time, and he was foot-perfect at the last three. You couldn't ask for much better around a track like here.
"He's a two-miler, not a three-miler. I wasn't bothered he was a little bit keen, that's what you want with a good horse."
27 October 2016Rake stops play in Hong Kong
Bess Of Hardwick proves best for Listed honours at Lingfield
Land lords it over Lingfield rivals
Muffri´Ha completes hat-trick in style at Lingfield
Charlie McBride urges ground caution on Spiritual Lady run
Mittens strikes for Pat Smullen and Sir Michael Stoute at Lingfield
Promising Airlie Beach to take next step at Down Royal
Neil Mulholland expecting more from Indian Stream at Wetherby
Harry Whittington nominates Exeter for exciting Emerging Force
Mick Appleby keen to defend All-Weather title
Zawraq pleases connections after return from lengthy absence
Dartmouth given Hong Kong option by Sir Michael Stoute
Henry Candy relishing American dream and Tepin clash with Limato
David O'Meara favouring Breeders' Cup Turf for Mondialiste
Classic named as first preference for Found at Breeders' Cup
Treve's sister beaten but full of promise at Saint-Cloud
Colin Tizzard - Cheltenham next and all options open for Thistlecrack
More Of That heads market for BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham
Willie Mullins ponders Hennessy prep for big Newbury fancy Avant Tout
Faydhan 'ready to run' on belated return at Lingfield
Muffri'Ha blossoming for Fleur De Lys at Lingfield
26 October 2016Banditry grabs Chelmsford feature
Freddy Tylicki sees no Eden hazard for Lingfield-bound Tango
Willie Mullins set to unleash Bachasson over fences
Un De Sceaux could make French connection for Willie Mullins
Thistlecrack hardens as Gold Cup favourite following thrilling Chepstow return
Value At Risk comes good over fences at Bangor
All roads lead back to Aintree for Vics Canvas
Saphir Du Rheu set to take hurdles option at Wetherby
Dual Group One winner Twilight Son retired to Cheveley Park Stud
Silviniaco Conti enjoys Chepstow gallop ahead of Down Royal return
Seeyouatmidnight all set for Carlisle comeback
Simon Crisford has Breeders' Cup ambitions for Rodaini
Mark Johnston could seek Far East enlightment with Lumiere
25 October 2016Thistlecrack oozes class on chasing debut at Chepstow
Charlie Longsdon derailed by injuries to big names
Ben Pauling has Grand National designs for Becher-bound Silvergrove
Sylvester Kirk backs Salouen to go the distance next season
James Nash plots Aintree return with 'amazing' Your Busy
Aidan O'Brien expects Minding to stay in training
Silviniaco Conti booked for Chepstow workout before racing
Tea For Two in mix for Sodexo Gold Cup
Double Shuffle in BetVictor frame for Tom George
Churchill form boost pleases Aidan O'Brien
Weather frustration set to continue for Ben Pauling and Barters Hill
Neil Mulholland to consider Haldon Gold Cup option for Fox Norton
Coneygree given Charlie Hall Wetherby entry 'just in case'
Colin Tizzard has Thistlecrack sharp and ready for Chepstow chasing bow
Time called on career of dual Derby hero Harzand
24 October 2016Tawdeea to take aim at Doncaster after Leicester strike
Coologue considered for Hennessy Gold Cup by Charlie Longsdon
Forgotten Rules team cool on hurdling career
Henry Candy has sole focus on Breeders' Cup Mile with Limato
Meydan a 'potential' destination for Gordon Elliott and Commissioned
Noel Meade rules Apache Stronghold out for the season
Ben Pauling to duck Bangor mission with Barters Hill
Third Intention books Hennessy ticket with Old Roan victory
Found set to be given Breeders' Cup Classic entry
Vazirabad repeats Prix Royal-Oak success
Titus rules in Leopardstown clash
Making Light betters colts in Killavullan Stakes
Flying Fairies floors Zawraq at Leopardstown
No Charlie Hall run for Gold Cup hero Coneygree
Native River in frame for Wetherby reappearance
William Haggas keeps Rivet's Guineas options open