The Cyrname team of Paul Nicholls, Harry Cobden and owner Johnny de la Hey were given a timely boost at Wincanton on Thursday by the victory of Saint De Reve.
With the highest-rated chaser in trainer due to make his seasonal reappearance at Ascot on Saturday against Altior, connections could be forgiven for getting a little twitchy.
However, while victory in the Lenny Roberts Memorial Trophy Novices’ Hurdle pales into insignificance against the Christy 1965 Chase at the weekend, it helped to calm the nerves.
“It was nice to have a winner in those colours before Saturday – and of course we’re looking forward to that,” said Nicholls.
“Saint De Reve (5-4 favourite) is a lovely horse, too – a three-mile chaser of the future and he’s progressing nicely.
“We’ll get some more experience into him, he’s still green as grass so he needs more runs over hurdles, just so we can look after him.
“You never know, if he keeps progressing he might end up in a half-decent race in the spring.
“Really this year is all about experience until he goes chasing next season.”
The feature Smith & Williamson Accountancy Chase went the way of Chris Gordon’s Baddesley Knight (5-2 favourite)