Reve De Sivola made all of the running to claim back-to-back renewals of the Wessex Youth Trust Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.
Nick Williams' eight-year-old was a Grade One winner in France last month and is a formidable stayer on an easy surface, stringing his rivals out under Richard Johnson.
Reve De Sivola, though, was a 9-4 shot against last season's top novice and 8-11 At Fishers Cross, who was attempting to leave behind a curious performance on his reappearance in the Long Distance Hurdle but his jumping seemed to have deteriorated even further since Newbury.
At Fishers Cross hardly timed any of the flights well but reached a nadir at the last, which he met completely wrong and jettisoned Tony McCoy.
Reve De Sivola is now 12-1 with the sponsors for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, which he was fourth in last season.
Williams said: "He crashed through a couple of them, but on softer ground like this, he can really let himself down.
"I don't think we'll go for the Cleeve Hurdle again, but we will go for the World Hurdle.
"Perhaps if we can also find him an easier race in February, that might be the way to go."
Connections of Salubrious, who finished 10 lengths back in second, might also feel a little hard done by as the six-year-old made a costly gaffe two out when seemingly still full of running.
Trainer Nicholls said: "The jockey (Daryl Jacob) thought if he hadn't missed the second-last, he would have won.
"But it's still a decent effort and we know we've got plenty of staying options for him."