Arthur's Pass staked a late claim to be part of Tom George's Cheltenham Festival squad as he completed a hat-trick in the Corbett Sports Novices' Limited Handicap Chase at Ludlow.
The Slad handler is quietly preparing a decent team for the biggest meeting of the National Hunt season, with the likes of Mail De Bievre, Module and Olofi ready to strut their stuff next month.
A trip to Cheltenham will have seemed a mile away for connections of Arthur's Pass heading into the campaign after he missed last season with injury, but the absence appears to have done him no harm judged on his comeback results.
Following back-to-back triumphs at Leicester in January, the lightly-raced nine-year-old was the 5-4 favourite to beat two opponents in Shropshire and Paddy Brennan was happy to sit last of the trio for much of the two-and-a-half-mile journey.
The jockey made his move at the top of the home straight and he soon put the race to bed, safely negotiating the remaining obstacles to take the prize by an eased-down seven lengths from Kie, with Carrigmorna King third.
Arthur's Pass is a 20-1 shot for Cheltenham's Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase and could creep into that contest with a 5lb penalty for this latest win.
George said: "I'm delighted with him. He's done most of his racing over two miles, the step up to two and a half looks to have suited him and he looks as though he'll get a bit further as well.
"He had an injury a year or so ago and for that reason he's quite lightly raced. He still seems to be improving and if he gets in at Cheltenham and he comes out of this race in good form, we probably will let him take his chance."
Kellys Brow caused something of an upset when making a winning debut for the Charlie Longsdon team in the Bet At corbettsports.com "National Hunt" Novices´ Handicap Hurdle.
A dual winner for Donald McCain last summer, but pulled up on his final start for the trainer in October, Kellys Brow was a 14-1 shot on his first start for new connections. He ran out an decisive two-and-a-quarter-length winner from George's Big Society.
Longsdon said: "I must admit I am pleasantly surprised. On what he has shown me at home I thought Donald had done very well to get two wins out of him. I thought the handicapper probably had his measure, but I was obviously wrong, and he has done it well. A lot of ours tend to need the run as well, so I am surprised, but over the moon at the same time."
17 April 2014Chasing plan for As I Am
Killough does it again in Sefton
Toormore claims Craven
Hamza holds on in Abernant
Wonder-ful double for Godolphin
Maguire on the mend
Basem impresses on Ditton debut
Grugy all set for Sandown defence
Spirit strikes for Hannon
Vaughan hoping for Bay of plenty
Muir keen to make a Point in Sprint
Ertijaal bids to enhance reputation
Newmarket will suit Canarias - Leon
George prepares Irish raiding party
Module heading to Punchestown
Doyle seeking Fairyhouse pointers
True class tells at Newmarket
Sandiva strikes for Dettori
Power runs Free at Newmarket
Magnus magic for Hannon
Cantlow on track for Fairyhouse
Kingman well-being delights Gosden
Kiyoshi pleases in Newmarket spin
Judge lays down law in Sefton
Toormore on trial in Craven
16 April 2014Buywise books big-race targets
Walsh to ride out this weekend
Byron all set for Hong Kong mission
Gosden stays in winning Spirit
'Tentative' Cup entry for Zarkandar
Draw joy for Grandeur
Leather in frame for Jockey Club
Tropics warming to Abernant task
All eyes on Strauss at Newmarket
Ridge out to peak at Newmarket
Eduard camp look to the future
Mohammed outlines Educate plans
Dreaper duo on National service
Scott learns Melodic lesson
Bobs Worth unlikely for Punchestown
Williams - Buy needs to Wise up
Fly on track for more records
Arod team take cautious approach
Obliterator ready to roar for Lyons
Night camp favour French Guineas
Free and easy for 'forward' Medinah
Fahey braced for Sand storm
15 April 2014Minstrel a Punchestown possible
Joe considered for Cork encounter
Toormore the star turn in Craven
Inch edges closer to Oaks bid
Appleby backs Ring to fire
Oliver wants more from Set To Go
Double tops for Easterby
Varian - Hill in peak form
Hawk has eyes on Lingfield prize
Doyle in awe of Kingman engine
Art given Victoria target
Ground key to Thakhira Classic aim
Cyclone heading for Punchestown
Hopes still high for Hydrogen
Botti in no rush with Hawill
Soumillon booked for Spanish raider
Obliterator takes Newmarket trial
14 April 2014Taaffe ponders Argocat options
Meain machine set for Punchestown
Competitive field for Nell Gwyn
Curragh workouts delight O'Brien
Inis all the way in Listed heat
Sruthan away to winning start
Burke keen on Rivellino claims
Ground key to Cubanita plans
Derby entry Ectot shows class
Back to sprinting for Astaire
Berkshire team mull options
Millman relishing Carpenter future