Ruby Walsh questioned whether Noland has the necessary pace for the Arkle after the seven-year-old’s smart comeback victory in the Folkestone Beginners’ Chase at the Kent track.
Sent off the 8-13 favourite for his first start since landing the 2006 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Paul Nicholls’ charge galloped to a nine-length success in the hands of Walsh.
Bookmakers were quick to cut him for the Arkle with Coral and Blue Square going 10-1, while totesport and Paddy Power were more impressed and offer just 8s.
But his jockey believes Noland could seen to better effect over distances in excess of two miles.
Walsh said: “Paul was fairly anxious to have a race in him whatever happened. But he couldn’t have been more impressive and he will maybe be better off over a longer trip.
“I don’t know whether he was the pace for an Arkle, he will maybe be better over further, but time will tell.
“I’ll leave it up to Paul to see what he thinks – he’s certainly going in the right direction.”
Nicholls’ assistant Dan Skelton added: “With a horse like this you have to mind their legs so we haven’t gone overboard with him at home.
“And that would have been the most serious piece of work he’s done and he’s had a good blow afterwards.
“The Kingmaker at Warwick might suit him next and that would be a tentative choice of where we go next although there are plenty of options.
“He’ll be put in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase as well as the Arkle, but on that performance you wouldn’t think he really needs to go much further.”
Nicky Henderson maintained his red-hot run of form when Dave’s Dream made a blinding start to his career over timber in division one of the Folkestone Maiden Hurdle.
The 5-6 favourite left subsequent Grade Two winner Carruthers trailing in his wake when scoring in a Uttoxeter bumper and looked a smart prospect accounting for Bremen by four lengths.
Henderson’s assistant Tom Symonds said: “He is just a shell of a horse at the moment but in a couple of years he will be a serious horse over fences.
“Plans for this season are fluid but he is a serious chaser in the making and we are really hopeful for him.”
The Million In Mind Partnership belatedly sent out their first winner of the season as 7-4 favourite Souriceau emerged well on top under Richard Johnson in division two of the maiden hurdle.
Superior Wisdom rewarded those who had supported him down to 6-1 from 10s by trouncing his rivals by upwards of 10 lengths in the arenaleisureplc.com Novices’ Hurdle.
Trainer Alex Hales said: “There are no great plans but he is an eight-year-old so we won’t hang about and he will probably go novice chasing on May 1.”
Jonjo O’Neill and Noel Fehily combined for a 149-1 double with Money Line (14-1) in the Folkestone Handicap Chase and Stradbrook (9-1) in the Folkestone Handicap Hurdle.