Darlan sets out on a road which could lead back to Cheltenham in March as he lines up in today's Racing Post Hurdle at Prestbury Park.
The five-year-old is already a 12/1 shot with some bookmakers for the Champion Hurdle at the Festival after a novice campaign that saw him finish second in the Supreme Hurdle and win at Aintree.
He will have to shoulder joint top weight alongside Snap Tie in the Grade Three test.
Trainer Nicky Henderson also has a new recruit in Cash And Go, a Grade One hurdles winner for Edward O'Grady last Christmas.
Meanwhile, trainer Mouse Morris confirmed that First Lieutenant will not run in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on December 1 despite being rated highly by bookmakers for the handicap.