Fox Norton looked like a horse jumping into the big time when he made a mockery of his rating to come home unchallenged in the Randox Health Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
Having shown some of his best form at Prestbury Park, including when third in the Arkle Trophy at the Festival in March, Fox Norton looked happy and assured throughout his first venture into a handicap.
In front at the top of the hill, Noel Fehily was just doing the steering over the last three fences as the heavily-backed 5-2 favourite landed some substantial bets to score by 11 lengths from Sizing Platinum.
Trainer Neil Mulholland said: "We felt there was big improvement in him through the summer and I've been very happy with him in all departments, especially in his work.
"I'd say that could be it for handicaps and we can look at the Shloer Chase back here."
Mulholland and Fehily made it a double when Shantou Village (4-6 favourite) was an odds-on winner of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase.
A mistake at the fence at the top of the hill temporarily checked the favourite's momentum but in spite of getting into a minor bumping match with Brother Tedd coming down the hill, he was soon back in control.
Mulholland said: "He was struck into in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival but we have always known fences would bring out the best in him.
"Apart from that one blip, I was pleased with his jumping and in the end he's done it really well.
"Noel was delighted and so am I - it's been a good day."
Philip Hobbs landed a one-two in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle as Golden Doyen (11-1) held For Good Measure by a short head.
Will 'O The West looked set to come home alone when he raced into a clear lead rounding the home bend, but both the Hobbs horses reeled in the leader in a race that emphasised how things can change so dramatically at this course.
Hobbs said: "Golden Doyen won't be seen again until the Festival in March as he must have good ground.
"For Good Measure is a nice, young horse, too, and a full brother to Balthazar King."
Alan King is looking at turning Sceau Royal (9-2) out again quickly after blitzing his rivals by 11 lengths in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle.
The Barbury Castle handler said: "I'm not getting carried away at this stage but we will certainly get together and discuss the big handicap at Ascot next Saturday because normally he doesn't take long to get over his races."
Coologue (8-1) has clearly benefitted from a wind operation as he recorded a battling triumph in the Randox Handicap Chase.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Wholestone (2-1F) won a steadily-run renewal of the Richard Allen, Waters & The Brittons Novices' Hurdle.
The race may prove an informative trial for the Albert Bartlett at the Festival in March and it was no surprise to hear Twiston-Davies saying that both his winner and third home Ballymalin could be aimed at that contest.
Paul Nicholls' maintained his hot streak when Brahms De Clermont (7-2) won the concluding bumper by a neck from Brillare Momento in the hands of Stan Sheppard.