Esprit De Somoza put himself in contention for the JCB Triumph Hurdle after storming to a surprise success in the Smarkets Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon.
Having been held up early on, the Nick Williams-trained four-year-old came with a powerful run under Lizzie Kelly to take command over the last before claiming a five-length success.
Kelly said: “We went in there a little unconsidered, but I thought he was a really nice horse as the form of his Sandown race was pretty good as the winner (Sussex Ranger) has come out and finished second in a Grade One.”
She continued: “I’ve not forced it, the front two (Style De Garde and Gumball) were there to be beaten and I’m really pleased with the way he galloped home.
“It (Triumph Hurdle) is certainly in the notebook, he’s a lovely horse.”