Fiddlerontheroof put up an ultra-game display to open his account over fences at Exeter.
Winner of the Grade One Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle in January, Fiddlerontheroof had been beaten on his chasing debut by If The Cap Fits at Ffos Las last month, but he learnt plenty from that experience.
Robbie Power set a steady pace as he attempted to make all the running in the Racing TV HD On sky 426 Beginners’ Chase over two miles and three furlongs and he put in a good round of jumping.
Market rival Sporting John was expected to be the big danger, but he was a big disappointment and was out of contention from the third-last fence.
It was left to the Fergal O’Brien-trained Silver Hallmark to put it up to Fiddleronthehoof (11-10) and he took a narrow lead two out. There was nothing between the pair at the last, but Colin Tizzard’s charge found extra on the run-in to score by a head.
“He put his Ffos Las experience to good use,” said Tizzard.
“He’s a good, solid horse. I think we’ll see him over three miles before too long, but he got the job done.
“It’s just nice to see. Whether he needs to go up (in trip) now, I don’t know.
“The ground is only just good at the moment. In the winter we do know he handles the heavy as well. He’s a strong horse so it’s good going forward.”
He added: “They need to have three or four weeks off. We don’t want to empty him out before Cheltenham, but there are good races coming up before then.
“I suppose we’ll be looking at the one around Kempton (Kauto Star Novices’ Chase). That’s only a month on.
“It’s just nice to see him win and we can sit down and think about it in a day or two.”
Fiddlerontheroof is 25-1 for the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with Betway and was cut to that price from 33-1 with Paddy Power. Coral gave him a quotes of 20-1 for the Marsh and also the RSA Chase.
Tizzard and Power were completing a double after the win by Ofalltheginjoints (85-40 favourite) in the limited handicap chase.