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."
20 April 2015McCoy available for Gold runners
Toes points in right direction
Ascot not Newmarket for Ward pair
Bourke facing BHA panel
Maude hails departing McCoy
Options open for Gosden's Ball
Mr Mole lined up for AP race
Own at summit for Gold rush
Judge up for the Cup
Kurland heads direct to Ascot
Lieutenant in line for Punchestown
Arod considered for Lockinge
Stobart sponsors championships
Strath to burn a trail at Ascot
Gosden remembers 'lovely' Kate
Russell praise for 'brave' Forrit
O'Brien fails alcohol test
Flight grounds Gladness rivals
Hannon optimistic for Classics
York aim for Lucky Kristale
Perfect could try longer trip
Dettori has high hopes for Osaila
Cox upbeat despite Bear setback
Gosden sets sights on Sandown
19 April 2015Mogol finished for season
Cops team mull chase option
Hootenanny shines at Keeneland
Foxrock inquiry hears evidence
Intilaaq picks up Derby quotes
Parrott hails Prince among men
Muhaarar shakes up Classic picture
Cheltenian show just Champion
Redstart shocks Tiggy and co
Spring back with a bang
18 April 2015Harrington filly takes Navan prize
Ayaar another for in-form Dettori
Gamble pays off for Lee
Ground scuppers favourite Oscar
Hatch suffers Ayr misfortune
Mullins - Aintree fallers fine
Victory giving off right signs
Milborough team eye dream result
Harrington fined at Tipperary
Balding happy with Elm spin
Junior continues on upgrade
Newmarket target for Secret
Spring back into action
Gosden has Oaks in mind for Star
Sruthan chasing Curragh repeat
'Relaxed' Tiggy raring to go
17 April 2015Forrit poised to be National hero
Irving leads Champion charge
Belardo bids for Greenham glory
Days seeking further Success
No prep plans for Malabar
McCoy's Ayr mount withdrawn
Benoist in Al Shaqab link
No Cheltenham fairytale for McCoy
Navy sinks Sefton field
Kool result for Hannon
Cape clears away to score
Fleet-footed Astaire takes Abernant
Dutch delight for Hills
Ooty Hill returns at Newbury
Stellar field declared for Greenham