Elixir De Nutz was an all-the-way winner of the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The four-year-old grey, switched from Philip Hobbs’ stable to Colin Tizzard after a truncated first season over hurdles, was runner-up over course and distance last month.
But on only his fourth start over jumps, he went one better to break his duck and comfortably hold fellow 5-1 shot and four-year-old Itchy Feet by one and a quarter lengths.
In the colours of Champion Hurdle-winning owner Terry Warner, Harry Cobden always held the track advantage on Elixir De Nutz in a race, like the previous Greatwood Hurdle, reduced to five jumps because of the low sun – and they had the five-strong field covered, with even-money favourite Seddon finishing third.
Tizzard said: “It has been a long old week, but you find out how good they are up that hill.
“I was just looking for excuses if he got beat as when the hurdles came, he was making up ground. He is just a beautiful, young horse and he has got a bit of size about him.
“He will be a chaser, but we’ve got a bit of business to do over novice hurdles before then. Harry is confident he would end up in the championship races as a stayer. He said there are going to be faster horses than him over two miles.
“At the moment I would say there is not much between him and Eldorado Allen. He was massively impressive at Sandown, but that was only a maiden hurdle and this race was a good one.
“He was pretty keen last time and we gave Harry the option if it was a fast pace to sit in, and if it was slow to go in front. We let him use a bit of initiative and he has won.”
Olly Murphy already has his sights set on the Festival in March for Itchy Feet.
He said: “He ran a cracker. I think the winner got a soft lead and we were giving him 5lb. I’d like to take him on again off level terms in a good race.
“He will have one more run before coming back to Cheltenham in March, when hopefully he will come back for the Supreme. I think a fast-run two miles here will suit him.”