Tim Vaughan is already charting a route towards the Cheltenham Festival with impressive Market Rasen winner Architrave.
Much sterner challenges await the striking chestnut before dreams of the Triumph Hurdle can be realised, but he is unquestionably an animal of some potential.
Now unbeaten in three starts over hurdles, Richard Johnson’s partner made every yard of the running in the 40% Better Off On Betfair SP Juvenile Hurdle, gamely stretching clear by five lengths when pressed by Two Kisses.
To heighten Vaughan’s sense of early-season optimism, this two-mile-one-furlong affair has been of great prescience in recent years, with Barizan and Katchit featuring on the roll call of previous winners.
“The last horse we had as good as this was Ski Sunday and he finished second in the Fred Winter, but he works better at home than that one,” the Welsh handler said of the 100-30 chance.
“We’ve got the Listed race at Wetherby at the end of October in the back of our minds, but he’ll more likely go to Cheltenham in November for the Listed juvenile hurdle.
“The Fred Winter (at the Cheltenham Festival) is now out of contention, so the Triumph will be his end goal, and then possibly the four-year-old race at Aintree.
“We’re entitled to get a bit excited.”
As too were connections of Silmi, who provided Sophie Leech with the biggest success of her career in the feature race of the day.
The diminutive grey (16-1) was an accomplished winner at his beloved Cartmel late last month, and manfully stepped up to Listed level to take the Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively On Betfair “Prelude” Handicap Chase.
Having zipped clear of Qulinton when safely navigating the penultimate fence, Richie McLernon’s mount still needed to show laudable resilience so as to deny Five Dream by a length and a quarter.
“There’s a race at Cheltenham in three weeks’ time, but we’ll have to go home and have a think about that as he needs time between his races,” said Leech, born in nearby Grimsby and now in her third year as a licensed trainer in Devon.
Extreme Conviction could also be destined for Prestbury Park next month after his brave success in division one of the Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively On Betfair Handicap Hurdle.
The John Berry-trained six-year-old (13-2) handsomely set the record straight following an unforeseen reverse at Ffos Las when keeping Santera at bay by two lengths.
Ken Gibbs, spokesman for owners All Points West Partnership, declared: “We’re hoping he’ll now get into a two-mile-five-furlong handicap at Cheltenham in October.”
Palomar may also step up in class after successfully reverting to timber in the 40% Better Off On Betfair SP “Prelude” Hurdle, while Thai Vango (3-1) claimed back-to-back renewals of the Singleton Birch Handicap Chase.
The nine-year-old was putting yet another winner on the board for Nigel Twiston-Davies, whose string consistently thrive at this time of year.
Philip Hobbs has also been in decent nick this month, and has much to look forward to with the Johnson-ridden Karasenir, an easy winner of the Betfair iPhone & Android App Novices’ Hurdle.
The imposing four-year-old posted some stout efforts in bumpers last term and had little difficulty in landing the odds on his hurdling debut.
“Hopefully he’ll go on to better things,” said Hobbs.
Cubism (9-1) then put the seal on an informative afternoon in Lincolnshire when taking division two of the two-mile-three-furlong handicap hurdle.