Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old was classy enough to finish second to Vautour in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March but was beaten on his chasing debut by Ptit Zig, a winner again since.
He was expected to benefit enormously from that experience but he gave Barry Geraghty a scare at a few of his fences by standing off a long way away. However, it was to his credit that he never actually looked like falling.
Solar Impulse and Cheltenian appeared to be travelling better at the second-last, but Josses Hill (4-11 favourite) dug deep and a big leap at the final fence saw him put the race to bed and he beat Solar Impulse by two and a quarter lengths.
Cheltenian, a former Cheltenham Bumper winner, found disappointingly little once again.
“He was workmanlike at the finish but he’s got so much scope,” said Geraghty.
“He made up five lengths at one or two, but the odd time he scares himself and because of that he’s just not travelling as well in his races."