Vision Des Flos may have given trainer Colin Tizzard plenty of headaches in the past but he looked a reformed character when posting a decisive victory in the In Play Betting At 188Bet Novices' Hurdle at Exeter.
Having been turned over at 1-4 last time out, the five-year-old showed why connections went to €270,000 for him with a 31-length victory in the Listed event on his first start since having a wind operation to form the middle leg of a treble for the Milborne Port handler.
Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father, revealed Cheltenham is on the agenda, saying: "We've just tweaked his wind. The rest got stuck in the ground and he handled the ground better than anything else. It is a good pot to win and lovely for the horse to have that experience as he was bought to do that. Off the back of that, he looks like one for the two-and-a-half-mile race (Ballymore) if he goes there, which I think he will."
Elegant Escape advanced his Festival claims when making the most of a drop down in class with a 13-length success in the Six Nations Rugby At 188Bet Graduation Chase.
Tizzard said: "The graduation race ticked all the boxes and it is a week earlier going into Cheltenham. We couldn't have been happier and it was a lovely performance.
"I would have thought we are favouring the RSA at the moment and I would have thought he was good enough to run in the RSA."
Golden Sunrise (2-1), running in the silks of leading Gold Cup contender Native River, got the ball rolling for the Tizzard team when defeating stablemate Mount Rushmoore in the 188Bet Daily Racing Specials "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
Richard Hobson hopes Allysson Monterg can put his injury problems behind him and start to fulfill his potential after the eight-year-old made a winning debut over fences on his first start for 456 days in the Bet Now At 188Bet Novices' Chase.
Hobson said of the 3-1 winner: "He sustained a tendon injury before his career started. He retweaked the same tendon injury in that Listed hurdle at Cheltenham.
"It has been a long road back but it was worth the wait as he is talented. He will go to the RSA if it is on the soft side."
Time To Move On (30-100) was left unchanged at 16-1 with Paddy Power for the Champion Bumper after making it two from two at the track in the Play Casino At 188Bet Intermediate Open NH Flat Race.
Fergal O'Brien, the winning trainer, said: "I was a bit worried there for a moment. He definitely idled but there was no pace in the race.
"He didn't look as impressive but Barry (Geraghty) said he gave him the same feel. He is entered at Cheltenham and will be at Aintree and Punchestown."
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