Made In Japan ended a barren run stretching back to 2004 at Cheltenham – the scene of his Triumph Hurdle victory in the very same year.
Aside from one novice chase that November, it has been one disappointment after another with trainers Philip Hobbs and Aaron Bateman as well as an array of jockeys failing to find a solution.
Step forward 5lb claimer Tom Molloy and new handler Nigel Twiston-Davies, who prepared him to be fifth on his first outing after a long absence at Uttoxeter before striking in the Cheltenham Business Club Handicap Hurdle.
At an astonishing 33-1, Made In Japan forged home just in front of Pertemps Final winner Kayf Aramis.
Owner Terry Evans has refused to desert the gelding and said: “He had to be put away for two years, but we have always known he has class. He has proved that, and he just loves Cheltenham.
“He was with Philip, then Aaron, who did not survive the recession. It just shows it pays to be patient!”
Paul Nicholls flagged up Tataniano as one of his potential Arkle Trophy candidates after rounding his novice hurdling career off in style.
The champion trainer is never one content to sit back and smell the roses and while there will be plenty of others in the stable holding similar aspirations, Tataniano will set off down the trail for the two-mile novice chasing crown when he returns in the autumn.
The strapping 15-8 favourite rarely looked threatened as he confined a January reversal to Diamond Harry firmly to history, taking the Messier-Dowty Landing Gear-sponsored event by 21 lengths.
“When he ran against Diamond Harry he wasn’t right – he fell apart on me after the race,” said Nicholls.
“Ruby Walsh (jockey) said he’d make some two-mile chaser and he really could be an Arkle horse – that’s what we’ll start of thinking next season anyway.”
Cashmans offer 14-1 he can give Nicholls another Arkle, with Crack Away Jack the firm’s 6-1 favourite.
How’s Business (15-2) did no harm to her stud value or to trainer Charlie Mann’s bank balance after taking the Listed raceodds.com Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
A respectable sixth at 100-1 in the David Nicholson last month, she was idling on the run-in as Hora closed to within a length and three-quarters.
“I hadn’t had a bet all season but the owners told me you could find 16-1 this morning and I couldn’t let that go,” revealed Mann.
“She did run well at Cheltenham and is a lovely big mare. She will be made for chasing next year and is worth looking after.”
However, winning rider Noel Fehily was referred to the British Horseracing Authority for using his whip with excessive frequency.
Mount Benger is starting to look a smart purchase by owner Craig Davies as his fine run continued in the Geesink Norba Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Jockey Christian Williams said of the 33-1 surprise: “Craig bought him for six grand out of a seller and he had won about eight back in two races before today.
“He and the other owners are just working boys from South Wales and he was really just a social runner but they went too quick in front and he just staying on.”
It was proving a day for Prestbury Park blasts from the pasts as last year’s Foxhunter hero Amicelli (7-2) came good over Baby Run (11-10 favourite) in the Blade Group Hunters’ Chase.
Despite jockey Oliver Greenall losing his whip, his ability was enough to prevail by a neck.
Trainer Cherry Coward said: “He could go to Punchestown now, as long as there’s a bit of juice in the ground.”
Division one of the Buy Your Winners At Brightwells Sales Mares' bumper went to Jennie Candlish's 16-1 shot Basford Lady, with the Nicky Henderson-trained Line Freedom (11-8 favourite) taking the second leg in a canter.