Last year’s runaway Triumph Hurdle hero has twice finished behind Hurricane Fly this season but got much closer in the Irish Champion Hurdle in January, being beaten just half a length.
The five-year-old worked over a mile and a quarter in company with Betfred Gold Cup-bound stablemate Lyreen Legend, with big-race jockey Danny Mullins in the saddle, and remains firmly on target for the Stan James Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the big mneeting.
Hughes said: “I was delighted with that. He travelled well, Danny said he had plenty left.
“We didn’t want to overdo it, it was just to see how well he was.
“We are bringing him over early (to Cheltenham) on Thursday, he doesn’t have to do an awful lot between now and then.
“Every day he was over there last year he seemed to be getting fresher, he was really well in himself and he enjoyed it.”
Hughes said of Lyreen Legend: “I was glad to see him sparking. I was very happy with him as he doesn’t really work that well at home.”
Willie Mullins had a group of high-profile horses in action, with Ballycasey a surprise faller but happily emerging seemingly none the worse along with Ruby Walsh.
Mullins said: “He was just going so well and knuckled on landing, he did his best to stand up and it was an inexperienced horse’s fall.
“We just went back and jumped the last to give rider and horse confidence.
“Djakadam was upsides and Boston Bob was just behind him, and he just got racing going to the fence. Hopefully he will be fine in the morning.”
Champagne Fever put in a neat round of jumping in his group, leaving Mullins and Walsh thrilled.
Mullins said: “He jumped from fence to fence, and Ruby said he was absolutely brilliant. He was very pleased with him.
“David Casey was happy with Boston Bob, he missed a bit of time and needed that badly. He’ll need two good bits of work before we decide if we go with him. We’ll see in 10 days’ time.
“I was very happy with what Djakadam did. He was on my ’b’ team due to his lack of experience, but we’ll chat with the owner and Ruby. We’ll see what else we have for the races – my fear going there is that he could lack experience and I think he is a horse with a huge future.”
Mossey Joe, a leading fancy for the CGA Foxhunter Chase, will miss the Cheltenham Festival and wait for Aintree.
Connections of the classy hunter chaser feel Friday week’s race comes a little too soon for the Enda Bolger-trained 11-year-old.
Owner Barry Connell, who paid £160,000 for Mossey Joe in January, said: “He probably just needs another week or two and, as you know, he’s changed stables recently. “We’ll have him there for all the spring festivals. He’ll probably go to Aintree.