Silviniaco Conti further cemented his position as a leading contender for Cheltenham Gold Cup honours with a straightforward success in the Denman Chase at Newbury.
Rapidly progressive this season and arriving on the back of victory in the Charlie Hall Chase and a defeat of Long Run at Haydock last time out, the seven-year-old jumped three out in unison with The Giant Bolster and Mail De Bievre, who made a bold bid from the front on his British debut.
Silviniaco Conti (8-11 favourite) asserted going to the final fence and was quickly away from it, staying on well to see off last year's Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster, to whom he was giving 4lb, by seven lengths.
Winning rider Ruby Walsh said: "Through the race he travelled well and jumped well. He quickened up well and joined Paddy (Brennan, on Mail De Bievre). He did well for a horse short of full fitness on quite testing ground. Paul (Nicholls) has not got him fully wound up. He has one race in mind.
"If he improves as much from the Charlie Hall as he did to the Betfair Chase he will run a big race in the Gold Cup. He's a gem. He's got plenty of scope. There's lots to like about him."
Nicholls added: "I said he wouldn't be fully wound up today, you wouldn't expect him to be. It was just what we wanted. He galloped well and stayed on strongly. It's on to Cheltenham now.
"He's done everything right. He's won a Betfair, he's won a Charlie Hall and he's won this now. He's a young, improving horse. Let him do the talking."
David Bridgwater, trainer of The Giant Bolster, is relishing another crack at the Gold Cup, in which he was second 12 months ago to Synchronised.
He said: "I'm chuffed to bits. Cheltenham is a different track and this is the one they want to be worried about. I can guarantee I have missed more work than the other horse."
Tom George, trainer of Mail De Bievre, who was just touched off for fourth by Junior, said: "I'm very happy with him. He's very exuberant and Paddy (Brennan) said with hindsight we should have run him over two miles. He's in the Ryanair, it's something to think about."
30 March 2015Bass angling for Rainbow gold
Dreaper an Amigos ally
Maguire ruled out of National
Sirius camp ponder rise in trip
Solar powered up for Classic charge
Guest treads cautiously with Chrome
Noseda sorry for Sloane reaction
Botti aims high with Naadirr
Flemenstar pleases on comeback
Nicholls trims National team
Bolger rates Lucida highly
Angel in the Hunt for Cup honours
Mullins weighs up Aintree options
Hannon readies Classic team
McCoy rules out Punchestown
O'Brien big guns enjoy away day
Hannon aims high with Windshear
McCoy thrills on Ascot farewell
Huge shock in Park Express
Moore to step up Ballydoyle rides
Jacob ripe for Pineau ride
Varian suffers Kingston 'blow'
Aintree on God's radar
29 March 2015Hero makes his mark for O'Meara
Kristale limbers up for York return
Ferof in hunt for Aintree riches
Telescope back in focus
Clouds given National clearance
Chrome given Royal summons
Flemenstar unplaced on return
Dolniya excels in Sheema Classic
Solow gallops to Turf glory
Gabrial just divine in Lincoln
Naadirr strikes to take Trophy
Sole switches on late power
Tullius has to pull out the stops
Romsdal up and running
Panther pounces for Gold
28 March 2015Prince Bishop rules the World
Prince Bishop rules the World
Raven swoops for De Sousa
Hanagan strikes first blow
Stack harbours Lincoln doubts
Odeliz gears up for Park
Mshawish given green light for Turf
Margarson keeps faith in Guest
Havlin has high hopes with Hopkins
Togo lands another for Pakidis
Longsdon and Fehily rule with Law
Coleman picks up ride on Druids
Power out to end Meydan hoodoo
Jack firmly in Trophy hunt
McCoy honoured with Celebration
O'Brien set on Flat resumption
'Rock star' Chrome seeks World fame
27 March 2015Romsdal returns at Kempton
Solow flying high for Head
All to play for at Doncaster
Flemenstar makes Navan return
Panther primed for big Gold run
Derby Fever for Godolphin
Toast recovering from setback
Motion out to keep winning Sequence
Home comforts at Newbury
Curtis keen on Townend for Tea
Flintham upholds family honour
Newmarket moves to avoid split
Weld sweet on 'middleweight' Zawraq
Eagle poised for Curragh return
Signal to swerve Wetherby gallop
Ballydoyle brigade excites Hensey
Angel leads the way in Lincoln