Quel Destin dug deep to outbattle Adjali and take Grade One honours in the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.
The French import dictated proceedings from flag-fall and always looked comfortable in the hands of Sam Twiston-Davies.
Of his four rivals, only Adjali kept tabs on Paul Nicholls’ 7-4 shot, and the Nicky Henderson-trained 4-6 favourite had every chance in the straight.
However, Quel Destin found extra when needed and crossed the line a neck to the good, to complete a four-timer. The first two pulled 22 lengths clear of Arverne in third.
Quel Destin was cut to 10-1 from 20-1 for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March with Paddy Power.
Speaking from Kempton, Ditcheat trainer Nicholls said: “I knew the track and ground would suit him. He had only been running on quicker ground as that is when the races for him were. He has run in the soft in France.
“He is a really tough horse, that keeps galloping and jumping – it was a real good performance today.
“The other one was having a job to get past him and he stayed on strongly from the back of the last, so I’m thrilled with him. We will work back from the Triumph Hurdle with him.
“We don’t have to prove anything now, we will just find a race somewhere that fits in well with Cheltenham really.
“He is only rated 66 on the Flat as Megan (Nicholls, daughter) keeps reminding me and we will go back to that one day. He is just a tough horse that is big and strong, which is exactly the sort of horse I like.”