Zarkandar enhanced his claims for the StanJames.com Champion Hurdle with a decisive defeat of a rejuvenated Khyber Kim in the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton to clinch a treble at his local course for champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
The 1-3 shot delighted Nicholls as he made it three wins from as many starts this season under Daryl Jacob.
He was in control from the second-last, although the four-and-a-half-length margin of victory would have been less had Khyber Kim not made a mistake at both of the last two flights.
The Champion Hurdle sponsors were impressed and cut him to 9-2 (from 5s) behind 13-8 favourite Hurricane Fly.
Nicholls said: "That was a proper job. I'm relaxed now that my horses have run well in the big trials, and they can't go quick enough for Zarkandar. The great thing about him is that he keeps finding, and we don't know how much more there is to come.
"The old course will suit him at the Festival and the softer it is, the better for him. That final hill at Cheltenham suits him, he will relish that."
Jacob said: "I gave him a nice blow before the last two and he picked up well, he's a real tiger."
Nicholls added that Jacob would ride Zarkandar unless anything happened to Ruby Walsh's mount Hurricane Fly. The trainer was also pleased with Celestial Halo, who now heads for the World Hurdle after finishing fourth.
Paddy Brennan had hopes of upsetting the winner on Khyber Kim rounding the home turn and said: "Swinging in I thought I would win. I gave him a blow and he just put down at the last. Mr Henderson has done a great job to get him back, and I think hell come on a ton for that."
Nicholls also struck with Benvolio (17-2) in the Bathwick Tyres Yeovil Handicap Hurdle and Minellahalfcentury (3-1) in the Bathwick Tyres Taunton Novices' Hurdle.
31 July 2014Intrinsic scrapes into Cup field
Gosden launches dual Nassau raid
Evans shows patience with Alexander
Road takes Plate riches
Australia preparing to return
King reigns in Sussex duel
Peculiar claims Galway honours
Reel has Vintage rivals in a spin
Sky flashes home in Gordon
Tough Teak outstays Goodwood rivals
Rich pickings for Ivawood
Estimate ready for Goodwood test
30 July 2014Morphine investigation nearing end
Peculiar claims Galway honours
King rules in Sussex
Chepstow called off
Edison out to light up Galway
Kingman all set for Sussex
Warwick to ditch Flat races
Showcase fixture avoids Ascot clash
Sous earmarked for Royal return
Injury woe for Hanagan
Bird ruled out of Nassau
Elleval team turn to Leopardstown
Zalty still in Galway frame
Tag recovering from Ascot exertions
Muthmir team eye Goodwood gold
Van driven out for Goodwood success
Love too much for Toormore
Cotai claims Molecomb glory
Leger hopefuls seek Gordon glory
Sennockian stars at Goodwood
Hannon aims to uphold family honour
He who would be King
29 July 2014Repeat Topaz victory for Vastonea
Eagle set for short break
Vulcanite spearheads Longsdon raid
Hughes launches double Plate bid
Estimate in Goodwood Cup field
Quick picks off Galway rivals
Lion could roar in Champion Stakes
Time out for Carpenter
Beckett considers Gesture gameplan
Pitt ponders Sir Stewards' run
Bird in full flight for Nassau
Beacon leads Hannon trio
Toormore on Goodwood mission
Star duo head Sussex field
28 July 2014PJA hits out at ERA Cosgrave case
Chopin team wait on softer ground
Options open for Approval
Pallasator states case for Ebor
Custom a cut above
Harty doubles up in Galway feature
Munich Mission impossible
Jinx on a high in France
Cox plays it cool with Kodi
Girl given Lowther target
Burke looking to Curragh
Hanagan hails Taghrooda
Toormore drops in class for Lennox