Shutthefrontdoor staked a big claim to be in owner JP McManus' Cheltenham Festival team with a gutsy victory in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at Carlisle.
The six-year-old, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, gave Tony McCoy his first winner when back in the McManus colours after riding the ill-fated Darlan at Doncaster on Monday.
The 17-times champion had to be at his strongest to get Shutthefrontdoor (9-2) to outpoint Ardkilly Witness by half a length and complete a hat-trick. The pair drew nine lengths clear of the remainder.
Shutthefrontdoor, who has had just the four runs over jumps, has several Cheltenham options, including the Pertemps Final, the Coral Cup and the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
Eduard (1-8 favourite), another Cheltenham possible, had little more than an exercise canter as he trotted up in the Exhibitions At Carlisle Racecourse Novices' Hurdle.
A creditable third to Melodic Rendezvous at Cheltenham in December, the Nicky Richards-trained five-year-old had no trouble registering his second win over hurdles.
Once Davy Russell took him to the front after the third-last, Eduard put plenty of daylight between himself and his rivals to coast home by 29 lengths to give Ireland's champion jockey a facile success on his only ride of the day.
Eduard was given quotes of 40-1 for both the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, and Russell told Racing UK: "He's a lovely horse and I'd say his future is over fences.
"He's a big, honest horse and relaxed from flag-fall - he was very professional the way he went about his job. There will be worse horses than him running at Cheltenham. I'd say he'd go for the staying novice as the Supreme might be too sharp for him. That would be up to Nicky, but he definitely wouldn't disgrace himself."
Kealigolane (11-2) made all in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Novices' Chase under James Reveley and shrugged off Vulcanite to score by three and three-quarter lengths, and Reveley completed a 109-1 double on Markadam (16-1) in the Durdar Novices' Handicap Chase.
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