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."
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