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."
17 September 2014Ascot to offer Irish incentive
Ryan advises caution on Gatsby run
Goodwood work forces race changes
Cosgrave hits out at ERA decision
Twilight takes Thirsk triumph
Ayr hero Ramius set to retire
Sea The Moon forced to retire
Lantern shines in morning spin
Simcock maps out plan for star pair
Max powered up for Abbaye
16 September 2014O'Meara waits on Watchable call
Arc an option for classy Dolniya
Smurfer seeking National glory
Cosgrave put on ERA forfeit list
Belardo remains on road to Dewhurst
Cullen leads tributes to Brady
QEII beckons for Tonto
Murtagh cool on Royal Cup raid
Murtagh salutes Champions Weekend
Weighty issue for Ed's Red
Weighty issue for Ed's Red
Malabar earmarked for Boussac
Ivanhowe Arc ride in demand
Groove on for Cesarewitch bid
All-weather finals day on Channel 4
Watchable leads Gold Cup contenders
Limato leads Reef contenders
Toast confirmed for Classic chance
Classic hopes for Connection
Estimate to skip Melbourne trip
Rizeena set to race on
15 September 2014No hurry for Clever plan
Extortionist finished for this year
Cotai team consider autumn options
Belle to take drop in class
Tullow gearing up for Chase debut
Tamadhor in Park frame
Boussac not ruled out for Naamah
Arc bid unlikely for Baltic
Connections pondering Kazeem plan
Dubai on Ansgar radar
Zarkandar skips Ces date
Woodbine double for Simcock
Prowling Panther just too good
Arc shake-up after Treve eclipse
Australia in line for Ascot
Gleneagles in Dewhurst picture
Spirit pips Toronado in Moulin
Moyglare joy for Varian and Atzeni
Stepper proves his point
Tar very much in Blandford
Ectot back with smooth Niel success
14 September 2014Panther romps to Curragh glory
Dettori back on top of the World
Treve beaten in Vermeille
Watchable success for O'Meara
Kingman hit by throat infection
Mirza strikes for Guest and Dettori
Botti on weather watch for Naadirr
Botti hopes for Tac return
We Are nearing return
Dettori hoping to rule with World
Pitt hoping to turn on Max power
Chicquita makes Blandford return
Halford wary of Gleneagles threat
Moyglare glory in Glance sights
Owen looking for Panther to pounce
O'Brien dazzled by fantastic Light
Gatsby guns down Australia
Fantastic Fiesolana bags Matron
Leger glory as Kingston delivers