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."
30 January 2015Walters Kean for National win
Newbury to stage veterans' hurdle
Polamco aiming to be Sandown Hero
Johnson seeks Champagne celebration
Dude set for two National prep runs
Leopardstown date for D'Antan
No hurry for Flemenstar return
Aigles skips Dubai trip
Uxizandre team eye date with Grugy
Wetherby announce inspection plan
Melodic in Exeter frame
Chepstow gets go-ahead
Classy display from Vercingetorix
Ffos Las blow for Carruthers
McCoy in line for Coneygree mount
Blossoming Serge in Supreme hat
Peace declared for Triumph
Hercules features in Bartlett
Games given Neptune entry
29 January 2015Good news for Burke after X-rays
Bayan handed French mission
Exciting Eagle ready for action
Ellison on Red alert
Brother sets sail for Festival date
Ferof takes Ascot acid test
Cogry has dual Festival options
Hourigan duo to duck National Trial
Salsify back in Foxhunter frame
Wintry Catterick calls inspection
Chepstow on weather watch
Musselburgh bids to beat weather
Legend in line for Kempton repeat
Henderson at Peace for Triumph
Henderson primes Betfair squad
Henderson happy with Sprinter
Unioniste set for Newbury outing
Bolger left in awe of super Sceaux
Sam set for Gold run
Denman date for Obeaux
28 January 2015Charities get O'Sullevan boost
Betway boosts sponsorship portfolio
Estrella waits on record bid
Spring not on Focus agenda
Warne on comeback trail
Warne on comeback trail
Mann planning Bleu National prep
Henderson dealt Triolo blow
Tornado blows hot at Taunton
Mann duo head to Musselburgh
Ginge given Scilly date
Cue Card goes back to basics
Eagle ready for hurdling bow
Shark angling for Punchestown prize
Nicholls retains Zarkandar faith
Ruby handed World ticket
27 January 2015No worries at Wetherby
Fry issue Puzzle warning
Grimthorpe goal for Milan
Ellison duo primed for Supreme test
Mulholland maps out Festival plans
Master retains Festival options
Doubt team seek jumping improvement
Dettori possible for National role
Uttoxeter bid appeals for Murphy
Ryanair defence likely for Dynaste
Palace stars in Towton fifteen
Gilgamboa set for longer trip
Jezki 'fine' after Hurricane defeat
Sire satisfies in schooling session
Sceaux leaves Mullins purring
Faugheen fancied for Walsh mount