Global Citizen (5-1) came in for strong late support before the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton and it was thoroughly justified.
Transferred to Ben Pauling from Jonjo O'Neill before winning at Southwell last time out, he took a major leap forward in the Grade Two.
Up there throughout, once Daryl Jacob's mount had seen off Mont Des Avaloirs, it was plain sailing.
Smart Flat performer Scarlet Dragon, who was keen in the early stages, chased him home but was beaten nine lengths, with Michael's Mount third.
Pauling said: "We always thought he was decent, he's well related and he'd been impressing at home. That was impressive.
"We haven't got him in the Supreme or the Ballymore. We hadn't had him long when entries needed to be made and I just said to the owners it would be a bit too much to throw him in.
"He'll probably go to Aintree."
Jacob said: "He won a novice for us at Southwell and did it nicely. I told Ben he was a smart horse and then he said he was coming here, so I was delighted as we'd find out how good he was.
"I think after that performance we've got an idea of how good he is. He's very fast, very quick at his hurdles and travels well."
Pauling went on: "That was quite exciting. He jumped brilliantly. I said to Daryl to maybe try not to make it unless we had to, but we knew we wanted to go a decent gallop.
"He just put the pressure on from an early stage (which) is something we wanted to do. With a couple of smart Flat horses in behind, we didn't want them to have an opportunity to get into some sort of rhythm and then be dangerous with their speed.
"The Imperial Cup was the brave man's route. I knew he was well handicapped, but he would be odds-on favourite for that now. We will treat him like a good horse now and we won't be rushing him back to the course.
"I'd say very likely (to run over two miles at Aintree). I don't see why you would want to go any further at this time."