Paul Nicholls' French import Fago made an impressive British debut in the Betfred Double Delight Novices' Chase at Newbury.
Although seen to good effect over longer distances in France, Graham Wylie's purchase was dropped down to two miles and a furlong here and is considered a prospect for the Arkle Trophy.
Sent off a well-backed 5-4 favourite, the dark-coloured gelding was slick over his fences and pushed out by Ruby Walsh to finish three and a half lengths clear of Ohio Gold.
Nicholls' assistant, Dan Skelton, said: "We haven't had him long and he jumped much better than you might expect for a horse that we thought could find improvement from what we've seen at home. He has done all his schooling in the school, as the weather has meant he could not go outside. He'll be entered in the Arkle and the obvious step up would be the Kingmaker at Warwick, although that's not set in stone."
Andrew Balding is a fleeting presence on the jumping scene at the moment but Chiberta King's third attempt resulted in a wide-margin victory in the Betfred "The Bonus King" Novices' Hurdle.
Balding said of the Paddy Brennan-ridden 8-1 chance: "He is my string. We have had some good ones in the past, like Scorned, Briareus and Distant Prospect, but I think I only had a bumper winner last year. This horse was Group-placed on the Flat but he was finding it hard to win. The main thing was to run him left-handed and get him to jump straight. I know he has plenty of experience but I would think Cheltenham will come a year too soon."
The Flat trainers' trend continued into the Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Chase with Mick Channon's Loch Ba.
The gelding was effectively still giving Henrietta Knight back-to-back victories in the Harwell Trophy following Glens Boy a year ago, as she used to train Loch Ba and is still deeply involved with the yard of her near-neighbour Channon. Loch Ba (8-1) was far too strong for his nearest rival, the 4-1 favourite Mountainous, and came eight lengths away.
"I didn't think he did anything wrong when he was second at Ascot last time. He didn't put a foot wrong here and he jumped great," said Channon, who deferred race plans to Knight.
She said: "I think he might go for one of the three-mile handicap chases at Cheltenham."
12 December 2013Pulses set racing at Newcastle
'Nasty cut' for Alexander
Bolger back on cross-country trail
Theatre puts on Peterborough show
Artiste draws away from rivals
National hero lined up for Wetherby
Tizzard using Hennessy as a Guide
Dr Turner to leave BHA role
Whisky out for early redemption
Spirit going for golden double
Break for Balder after Sandown run
No problems at Kempton
McCoy wants rain for Fishers
McCoy mulls Gold decision
Butler appeals five-year ban
Burgoyne to take Triumph test
Fog claims Kempton card
Honeyball upbeat despite Regal loss
Byron has more targets overseas
O'Meara considers Ascot raid
Johnson excited by Captain's return
African reverts to timber
Return to Oz is Simenon's goal
11 December 2013Kempton hope for third-time lucky
McNeile leaves Cheltenham role
Kempton to inspect again
Fog claims Lingfield card
Three held over £2.4m VAT fraud
Home Farm denied Gold run
Three held in tax probe
BHA's Brickell at corruption summit
Hills has Smart purring
McCoy praise for retired Binocular
St Nick continues recovery fight
Big guns remain in Navan feature
New course key for Attaglance
Diakali team consider Relkeel run
Ruby given chase entry
Star pair head International list
10 December 2013Binocular bows out
Rock team plan positive tactics
Gold fails to sparkle
Regal takes Hexham test
Thyestes aim for Cootamundra
Walsh sweet on Arvika switch
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Aintree aim for Busy
Grand National aim for Your Busy
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Four-star Harley at Wolverhampton
Jacob all set for Al Ferof
Sprinter prospect exciting Kempton
Winner a Strongpoint for Crawford
Hurricane honoured in HRI awards
Ground key to Topper plans
African chasing Uttoxeter spoils
Prince set for Cheltenham Gold run
Betfair goal for Trouble
9 December 2013Drowne waits on X-ray news
Swan delighted with Changer
Wolverhampton to replace surface
Russell aims for Thursday return
Bright start for New Dawn
Twin lights up Hilly Way
Durkan stroll for Arvika
Unioniste has Lexus aim
New One heading to International
Drowne in hospital after fall
Baby in running for Warwick
Moore sets sights on Kempton
Cloud and Lantern sunk in Mile