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It took just one race of Cheltenham's new season to discover a potential Festival contender with Nigel Twiston-Davies fizzing with enthusiasm for The New One.
The evens favourite, winner of the Aintree bumper, stepped up in class for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle after an unchallenging reappearance at Newton Abbot, and came two and three-quarter lengths clear of Village Vic in the hands of the trainer's son Sam.
"As soon as we got him he was good - he was broken in in August and was winning effortlessly by November. He's very exciting - as exciting as you get. He didn't get a clean run at the Festival, otherwise he'd be near unbeaten," said Twiston-Davies snr.
"He'll probably come back here next month and two and a half miles is his trip for the time being. Who knows, Big Buck's won't be around forever, and maybe he'll be three-mile hurdling and then chasing in time."
Twiston-Davies snr completed a double when 7-2 favourite Hunters Lodge clung on to the Talk To Victor Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase, although he had a considerable slice of luck after the dangerous Romanesco crashed out at the last.
The latter's trainer Gordon Elliott invariably comes over mob-handed and his Carlito Brigante (5-1) was a narrow victor of an eventful squareintheair.com Novices' Chase under Davy Russell, beating Domtaline by a short head after long-time leader Go All The Way and Kingsmere came down two out.
Elliott said: "He seems to like Cheltenham and he has to have good ground, so I expect he'll come back here next month. He's been a good horse to have around. We moved to a new yard a month ago, just 10 minutes away from the old one outside Trim, and we've had 10 or 11 winners already."
Richard Hughes took some time out from chasing the Flat jockeys' title to leg Bryan Cooper up aboard his father Dessie's Action Master (20-1), who came from a long way back to strike in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle qualifier.
Hughes snr said: "We were sick of the heavy ground in Ireland and the horse wants good ground - he only got it once and was second, finishing fast in the Ulster Cesarewitch. He just has to creep and creep through the race. He could come back for the Festival, and we'll tip away until then."
Paul Nicholls was thrilled with the performance of Sire Collonges (4-1), who refused to yield to 11-8 favourite Sea Of Thunder and ran out a fairly convincing two-length winner of the Bruton Knowles 150th Anniversary Novices' Chase, after which the trainer said he "could be anything".