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."
1 April 2015Moore breaks leg in Towcester spill
Envoy and Moore beaten at Dundalk
Ferguson fine after Wincanton spill
O'Neill opens Door to Aintree glory
Morris passes century mark
O'Neill readies Aintree squad
Huge entry for Scottish National
Cookie camp up for the Cup
Warrior heads Irish National field
Hills trio in Dante contention
Chrome headlines Lockinge entry
McNamara to Lord it at Aintree
O'Neill: McCoy fairytale no given
Ramone could rock up at Curragh
Coronation up Flintshire's street
Kil lacked zip in France - Longsdon
No Classic prep for Celebrity
Culloty duo on course for Aintree
Royale seal of approval for McCoy
Consort possible for Craven
Fry lines up double Fairyhouse raid
Gatsby seeking Tattersalls gold
Merry King to miss Grand National
Moore has Dundalk ride for O'Brien
Vautour still in Fairyhouse picture
Panther plans open before Gold run
Appleby outlines Charming gameplan
31 March 2015Mac magic earns Southwell shock
Reserves added to Irish National
Punchestown an option for Bolster
Euro could be saved for Ascot
Tullius to go the distance
Bass angling for Rainbow gold
Dreaper an Amigos ally
Maguire ruled out of National
Sirius camp ponder rise in trip
Solar powered up for Classic charge
Guest treads cautiously with Chrome
30 March 2015Noseda sorry for Sloane reaction
Botti aims high with Naadirr
Flemenstar pleases on comeback
Nicholls trims National team
Bolger rates Lucida highly
Angel in the Hunt for Cup honours
Mullins weighs up Aintree options
Hannon readies Classic team
McCoy rules out Punchestown
O'Brien big guns enjoy away day
Hannon aims high with Windshear
McCoy thrills on Ascot farewell
Huge shock in Park Express
Moore to step up Ballydoyle rides
Jacob ripe for Pineau ride
Varian suffers Kingston 'blow'
Aintree on God's radar
29 March 2015Hero makes his mark for O'Meara
Kristale limbers up for York return
Ferof in hunt for Aintree riches
Telescope back in focus
Clouds given National clearance
Chrome given Royal summons
Flemenstar unplaced on return
Dolniya excels in Sheema Classic
Solow gallops to Turf glory
Gabrial just divine in Lincoln
Naadirr strikes to take Trophy
Sole switches on late power
Tullius has to pull out the stops
Romsdal up and running
Panther pounces for Gold