Porticello had little trouble in landing short odds in the William Hill Super Odds Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle at Haydock.
Should conditions turn up testing at Cheltenham next month, then Gary Moore’s giant four-year-old could serve it up to the Irish-trained favourites and Coral saw fit to cut him to 11-1 from 16s for the Triumph.
Already a Grade One winner at Chepstow, Porticello was sent off the 30-100 favourite and Josh Moore kept things simple.
Approaching the second last Skycutter was the only danger but when he met the flight on the wrong stride and Porticello flew it, the race was over and he coasted to a 17-length win.
Josh Moore said: “I just thought I’d keep it simple and use his jumping and he’s done that well.
“He handles that ground as well as any horse can, down the back it’s a bit better but up the straight it’s very holding and not the nicest.
“The Triumph will depend how he comes out of this and what the ground is like, if he’s to run there he’d want plenty of ease, I would say.”
The jockey missed a large chunk of the season through injury and was only on Porticello as his brother Jamie was required to ride Goshen at Wincanton.
“He’s actually Jamie’s ride but I enjoyed riding him today, he’s a pleasure,” he said.
“The rides usually sort themselves out without much fuss but I’ve missed most of this season and it just happened to be my dad’s best ever, so Jamie has reaped the benefit”
Tom Lacey and Stan Sheppard’s good recent run continued when Adrimel carried top weight to victory in the William Hill Cheltenham Non-Runner Money Back Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
Just seven days on from winning the Betfair Hurdle with Glory And Fortune, Adrimel was made to work hard by Shaman Du Berlais to land short odds as the 4-6 favourite, eventually prevailing by a neck.
“On this ground he could probably drop back in trip because he handles it so well,” said Lacey.
“Stan said he just got lonely out in front and it is very hard work today, so any horse was entitled to get tired.
“I think he’s better than a handicapper but he’s a horse you’ve got to catch right. We’ve not had any setbacks but the races just haven’t been there to suit him and we’ve had to wait for some softer ground. He’s not been an easy horse to place in a dry winter.”
Dr Richard Newland’s Foillan (10-1) registered his third victory of the campaign in the Pertemps Qualifier, but may now be done for the season.
“It’s funny, we thought we had a chance in the National Trial with Enqarde but he was never going, yet I wasn’t expecting this lad to win,” said Newland.
“He’s won three now this year, having missed the whole of last season, but he’s had a hard race there and it could be enough for him. He’s one to look forward to chasing next year.”