The Two Amigos continued his remarkable upward curve with a fine weight-carrying performance in the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National at Plumpton.
Somerset trainer Nicky Martin was repaid for keeping her nerve, after second thoughts about the cross-country trek because of drying ground at the Sussex course, as her seven-year-old led almost throughout over more than three and a half miles.
Top-weight and 11-8 favourite The Two Amigos, lumping round 11st 12lb, jumped especially well if slightly out to his right at times before staying on grimly under Matt Griffiths to beat Calin Du Brizais by two and a quarter lengths.
The prolific winning point-to-pointer had already gone up 25lb after two victories in three previous attempts since returning to race under rules three months ago.
Martin told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m absolutely delighted.
“We were quite confident until the ground started to dry out – because he likes heavy ground.
“It was a little bit yesterday ‘Shall we, shan’t we – it’s changed’. I don’t think he enjoyed it – but there you go.”
Martin reports The Two Amigos’ streak of victories between the flags gave him a new lease of life.
“We point-to-pointed him all last season, just to sweeten him up a bit, and he absolutely loved it – and we worked out that was the way to run him, just let him bowl on at his own speed,” she said.
“In his pointing, he never really made a mistake.
“He just gives you it all all the time. He’s very easy, very strong, and likes to run away with people.
“I never expected him to go up 30lb in three races. But I think there is still more to come, because the ground didn’t suit him today, and he’s still won a good race.”
Whether she will be tempted to even try to find a race for him at Cheltenham will depend largely on the spring weather.
“I don’t really know what to do with him now – we’ll just see what happens,” she added.
“I’d love to run him at Cheltenham, but I don’t know that the ground will be soft enough for him there.”
Brandon Castle led throughout under Bryony Frost to make it two out of two over jumps in the opening Watch Sky Sports Racing In HD Novices’ Hurdle.
Returning to the scene of his first hurdling success last month, Neil King’s seven-year-old soon had a big field strung out over two miles – and after taking a breather as Zoffany Bay briefly threatened into the back straight, went clear again to score by six lengths as a 10-11 favourite from Baddesley Prince.
Frost said: “I needed to get a good breather into him, which I did – by the lorries (turning into the back).
“He gives everything to you out there – he’s very, very tough – and he’s done it well.”
Duc Kauto is another who looks like he may be going places after his one-and-three-quarter-length win in the Download The At The Races App Handicap Hurdle.
Trainer Colin Tizzard explained, after the six-year-old’s victory in the famous colours of the late Ann and Alan Potts, that the 11-2 shot was demonstrating the benefit of a minor wind operation on his first start since July.
Duc Kauto was a revelation under Harry Cobden, having previously failed to get within 20 lengths of any winner in six attempts.
He was always going well this time, and proved too strong for closest pursuer Zante at the line.
Tizzard said: “He came over when the Potts horses arrived, and he couldn’t raise a gallop.
“At the end of last season, we thought he was one to go, he’s not any good.
“But then we thought we’d better give him the summer off and just check his wind. There was a little bit of a problem, nothing very much, then he’s won.
“He travelled well, doing too much most of the time – we’re slightly surprised really.”