North Hill Harvey plugged on resolutely up the hill to see off all-comers in the stanjames.com Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The Dan Skelton-trained five-year-old overcame a 219-day absence to win this prestigious prize in admirable fashion as a 6-1 shot.
Sternrubin, Cyrius Moriviere and Wind Of Windlesham helped force a decent early pace in the feature race of the day at Prestbury Park.
Wind Of Windlesham came down two out and North Hill Harvey soon went by Sternrubin under a confident Harry Skelton.
He went two lengths clear, but the challengers came thick and fast and North Hill Harvey had to knuckle down to keep Modus at bay by half a length.
Song Light was third, with A Hare Breath fourth.
The winning rider said: "He's a good horse and was fit for the race.
"I'm delighted for the owners. They really are great people.
"I'm really happy for them and the horse. It's nice to have a nice novice like him and see him go on.
"He's a chaser in the making, really."
The successful trainer said: "I thought Modus had come to beat us, but our horse stuck his head out when he needed to.
"I'll probably look to come back here for the International if he's OK, but he's a chaser for next year.
"It's a magical day."
2.30 Cheltenham (Greatwood Hurdle) result:— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) November 13, 2016
1 North Hill Harvey 6-1
2 Modus Harry 5-1
3 Song Light 16-1
4 A Hare Breath 14-1
Colin Tizzard’s new recruit Fox Norton (5-2) made the perfect start for his new trainer when coming out on top in Cheltenham's Shloer Chase in a race marred by the fatal injury sustained to Simonsig.
Aidan Coleman’s mount stormed into the lead before the second-last fence after Special Tiara had set the pace.
Simply Ned took the runner-up spot, nine lengths away, with Special Tiara the same distance away in third.
Coleman said: "He's a very straightforward and uncomplicated horse.
"He loves his racing. I think he'd be better on better ground again."
But the sense of deflation around Cheltenham was palpable after Simonsig broke a leg and had to be put down when falling at the third fence.
Tizzard said of Fox Norton: "I'm delighted and slightly embarrassed.
"This is all down to Neil Mulholland. We just put him in the system for a fortnight and have done nothing with him.
"He's just a very good horse. That's what we were hoping we were buying, and we can see that already.
"We saw him here at the last meeting when he absolutely coasted up, and again on level weights with these good horses and he's done the same.
"He's a beautiful young horse. He just travelled and jumped.
"The Tingle Creek (Sandown) is where they normally go, horses like him, so that's what we'll do."
Moon Racer (9-4) convincingly upheld form with Ballyandy when successful in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle.
The two Champion Bumper heroes clashed on their first starts over hurdles at Perth in September, with Moon Racer winning the argument by three-quarters of a length.
But this time Ballyandy could only finish a staying-on third in the Grade Two over two miles.
Mirsaale made most of the running, with Moon Racer and Ballyandy second and third respectively for a long way.
Moon Racer and Tom Scudamore then ranged up alongside the front-runner at the second-last and never looked like getting beaten from there on in.
Mirsaale creditably stuck on for second, beaten two-and-a-quarter lengths by the impressive winner.
Scudamore said: "When it all comes right it looks good.
"Fortunately, I had a very, very talented partner."
Pipe said: "It was a great performance. Both him and Ballyandy are good horses and we thought he'd improved from Perth.
"He only does just enough, but Scu was always confident.
"He's very deceiving. You'd think he'd want further, but he's got a great turn of foot.
"He's very much one to look forward to. He might come back here in December if there's a race.
"I think he might be better on better ground.
"He'll have an entry in the Champion Hurdle. Why not?
"He is turning eight so we have got to do a bit of racing.
"He always shows plenty at home and does everything very easily. He has got a great attitude.
"I would not be worried if we go straight to Cheltenham but we want to get more runs into him.
"Hopefully we can keep him in one piece and enjoy him.
"The Supreme is the number one target. He has only been beaten once in his life."
Le Prezien (8-11 favourite) cashed in on a late fall from Some Plan to win the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase.
Trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Barry Geraghty, the successful five-year-old hardly dazzled in the jumping department for a great deal of the two-mile journey.
But once Some Plan fell two fences from home, having only just forged ahead, Le Prezien seized the initiative under Geraghty.
Nearest pursuer Hammersly Lake was four lengths away in second.
Nicholls said: "He got better with his jumping as he warmed up. He was a bit like that over hurdles.
"I think slightly better ground may suit him.
"He's not the biggest in the world, but he's very athletic and is just going to keep learning.
"He is a strong stayer. Over two (miles), if the ground was good it would be quick for him, so he'd want further. On testing ground you wouldn't know.
"We've always thought he was quite nice. He's only a young horse and can only get stronger."