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.
24 April 2014Tonto strives for Sandown scalp
Telescope sights fixed on Sandown
Prize lined up for Greffulhe raid
Celebration time for super Sire
Taghrooda swerves Sandown heat
Concorde checks in for Punchestown
No Sandown run for Oscar
Un De Sceaux to skip Punchestown
Treve among stellar Ascot entries
Charline still in Guineas mix
Big guns remain in Guineas frame
Prince in Punchestown frame
Sparrow set for Punchestown spin
Balder to take novice test
Connell eager for Tank chase run
23 April 2014Telescope tops Richards runners
No rush for Annie target
Cosgrave appeal set for Monday
Hughes set for Sandown return
France adds flair to Guineas
Mullins drops Vautour Champion hint
Exciting Bunker given Dante date
Culloty keen on Gold run for Heeled
Hannon triple-handed in Guineas
Resurge revived for Epsom return
Sandown option for Battalion
Johnston pair clash in Derby Trial
Reckless Abandon returns to track
22 April 2014Rizeena delights in Guineas workout
Carberry targets swift return
Williamson escapes serious injury
Rizeena thrills Brittain on gallops
Door bags National glory
Twiston-Davies hits four-timer
Joe suffers shock defeat
Scudamore hits century mark
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Thousand shows star quality
Cirrus set for Treve clash
Houblon heads Gold contenders
Guineas still on Berkshire radar
21 April 2014Door bags National glory
Wilson passes away
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Stepper set for trip drop
Richards in Telescope sights
Ladies geared for Summer repeat
Hill out of Irish National
No Dundeel at Royal Ascot
Clowance up for the Cup
Garner hit with lengthy ban
Memories in Final flourish
Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Toner hits target for Elliott
Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Mind called up for National service