Donald McCain was reluctant to nominate firm targets for Peddlers Cross after his stable star made a reasonably satisfying comeback in a jumpers' bumper at Kempton.
Entitled to be rusty as he had not competed since his disappointing effort in the Jewson Novices' Chase at the last Cheltenham Festival, the previous year's Champion Hurdle runner-up looked in rude health as the field swung into the home straight of a BetVictor-sponsored two-miler designed for chasers.
Jason Maguire was forced to switch the 5-4 favourite at a vital moment and Peddlers Cross was unable to resist a challenge on the outside from Sam Winner (7-1) and ended up finishing two lengths adrift in second.
"Don't ask me where he goes next," said McCain, who has entered the eight-year-old in both the Champion and Ladbrokes World Hurdle later on.
"Jason was happy with everything. He was going to pick up and he has taken a blow and flattened out a bit, which is fine. He missed a couple of pieces of work this week. He's relaxing better but still showing plenty of boot.
"What we need to do is find out where it's possible to go racing. I'll have a long talk with the owner, but I want to try him over further and we'll go wherever we have to (to run)."
Sam Winner, who was fourth in the 2011 Triumph, had a disastrous spell novice chasing last term and Dan Skelton, assistant to trainer Paul Nicholls, said: "He had an operation on his knee and needed plenty of recuperation time. He'll go straight to Cheltenham now for the Pertemps."
Fair Trade (5-1) remembered his Flat speed of old as he sprinted an impressive two and a half lengths away from Pearl Swan in a jumpers' bumper for hurdlers.
Trainer Alan King said: "He was good enough to run in a 2000 Guineas years ago. His two hurdle runs have been on very testing ground and it was the ideal opportunity to get a gallop. He'll have an entry at Cheltenham (Supreme) and I'd like to see him on better ground. He'll need another run over hurdles first."
The 5-4 favourite Pearl Swan had been absent for 315 days and Charlie Liverton, representing owner Robin Geffen, said: "He was always vulnerable for being tapped for toe over two miles on the Flat, but it's good to see him back and hopefully it's all systems go for the Betfair Hurdle."
29 August 2016Snow Falcon freezes out Roscommon rivals
Jamie Codd savours Amateur Derby glory at Epsom
Four-star Silvestre de Sousa back in pole position in championship race
Alicante Dawn makes it a Ripon season to remember for Bryan Smart
Irish ace Jamie Codd sparkles in Amateur Derby at Epsom
Limato back in Sprint Cup picture as Quiet Reflection primed
All-the-way Alicante Dawn too hot for Ripon rivals
Careless riding ban for Joe Fanning in amended Newcastle result
Owen Burrows plots path for Markaz after German delight
Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan strike at Ripon
Four-star De Sousa fires Hurricane warning at Epsom
Trainer David Wachman to retire at the end of the season
Dancing Star and Mehronissa added to Sprint Cup field at Haydock
Time Test to swerve Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown
Frankel colt Seven Heavens ready for Goodwood test
Unlucky break for Andrew Lynch at Cork
5 things you might not know about Jim Crowley
Title-chasing jockey Jim Crowley living the 'dream'
Henry Candy could draw stumps with Windsor winner Chain Of Daisies
Charlie Appleby to choose between Leopardstown and Ascot for Hawkbill
Ger Lyons set to bid farewell to Australia-bound Endless Drama
Henry Candy puts Limato back in Haydock Sprint Cup contention
32Red continues support of All-Weather Championships
Pulled muscle could derail Middle Park plans for Caravaggio
Intelligence Cross towers above Curragh rivals
Opal Tiara sparkles in Supreme Stakes at Goodwood
Somehow far too good in Snow Fairy waltz at the Curragh
Sea Of Grace battles to Flame Of Tara success for John Oxx
Ruby Walsh back in business at Cork
Dermot Weld on weather watch for Harzand in Irish Champion
Muthmir team 'disappointed' as classy sprinter misfires in Beverley Bullet
Thikriyaat to undergo tests after Goodwood reverse
28 August 2016Robbie Hennessy stalwart Rubi Light retired
Regally-bred Yucatan off the mark at the Curragh
Richard Fahey feels Queen Kindly can savour mile high
Ground key to Boynton as Charlie Appleby ponders Curragh raid
Roger Charlton ponders Newmarket challenge with Frankel filly Fair Eva
Richard Fahey expects Ribchester progress in QEII at Ascot
Marco Botti has Gowran in mind for Haydock scorer Aljazzi
Jim Crowley takes the lead in jockeys' championship battle
Chain Of Daisies too strong in Winter Hill test
Lightning strikes in Celebration Mile
Wind too fast for Hopeful opponents at Newmarket
Platitude a class apart from March Stakes rivals
Alpha Delphini hits the target in Beverley Bullet for Bryan Smart
Certificate stamps authority on Goodwood handicap
Kilmah battles hard to land Prestige prize
Australian jaunt confirmed for Scottish after Strensall win
27 August 2016No comment from Hayley Turner's team on reports of ITV Racing role
Tara Celeb stars for Mick Channon at Goodwood
Khafoo Shememi claims opening honours at Newmarket for Richard Hannon
Aidan O'Brien takes aim at Round Tower with Intelligence Cross
John Oxx hoping Sea Of Grace can fire him back to the big time
Michael Bell leaning away from Irish Leger tilt with Big Orange
Hundred not out for triumphant Whozthecat
Frankel youngster Seven Heavens set for Goodwood run
Ryan Moore back with a winner but not looking at jockeys' title challenge
Quiet Reflection progressing nicely to Sprint Cup at Haydock
Matron Stakes favoured for upwardly-mobile Persuasive
Certificate in the frame for Revival honours at Goodwood
Beverley rain a 'nightmare' for William Haggas and Muthmir
Charlie Appleby backs Grecian Light to shine in Prestige Stakes at Goodwood
Celebration Mile at Goodwood the 'logical' target for Thikriyaat
26 August 2016Ruby Walsh set for Cork return on Sunday after Bellewstown spill
Early Morning in line for Ascot return
Owen Burrows lines up Goldene shot with Markaz
Ryan Moore returns with a winner at Newmarket
Charlie Appleby wary of more rain for Curragh-bound Skiffle
Charlie Appleby wary of more rain for Curragh-bound Skiffle
Charlie Appleby to chart Newmarket route with classy Blue Point
Marco Botti hopeful of big Naadirr run at Newmarket
Ulysses and Foundation ready for action in Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor
Jack Hobbs pleasing John Gosden as he nears return to action
Adam McNamara keeps up Ebor momentum with Leicester win
Sylvester Kirk aiming high with Solario runner-up Salouen
Disqualification of Any Currency makes Martin Keighley determined for success
'All systems go' for Litigant and Ascot return
Massaat display still a 'head-scratcher' for Owen Burrows
Awtaad aiming to bounce back in Boomerang outing
Alexios Komnenos on course for Churchill rematch in National Stakes