Royal Charm 'unlikely' for Arkle after Exeter victory
Royal Charm was trimmed by Coral into 14/1 from 16s for the Arkle in March after a hard-fought victory in the AP McCoy 15 Times Champion Jockey Graduation Chase at Exeter.
Paul Nicholls' five-year-old was having only his second start over fences but was nevertheless sent off the 8/13 favourite against more experienced rivals.
David Pipe's Leo's Lucky Star emerged as the biggest threat and, despite travelling best of all into the straight, he was outbattled by the Nicholls youngster.
Daryl Jacob was the man on board as Noel Fehily was absent due to flu. While the bookmakers' quotes centred on the Arkle, Nicholls intends to step him up in trip. "He wants further than that," said Nicholls.
"If I'd had my way and we could have relied on the weather he'd have gone to Ascot on Friday over two and a half miles.
"He's unlikely to run in the Arkle and I'll find a target for him in the spring. We might look at the Pendil (Kempton, February 26) or the Scilly Isles (Sandown, February 6) next."
Jacob nearly brought up a double when the outsider Shalimar Fromentro pushed 1/2 favourite Wymott all the way in the Vote AP McCoy For BBC Sports Personality Novices' Chase.
The Donald McCain-trained winner had been prominent in the betting for the RSA Chase (20/1 from 14s with Stan James) but was given a real fright by the four-year-old.
Wymott was the second leg of a double for Jason Maguire, which was initiated when Silver Gypsy scored in the Happy Christmas Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
Jonjo O'Neill's Sway (9/2) took victory in the EBF/TBA Mares' Novices' Chase. Requin (7/1) prevailed in the South-West Racing Club Handicap Hurdle, but his jockey Denis O'Regan was hit with a three-day ban for careless riding.
Colin Tizzard's Inside Dealer (3/1 favourite) won the South-West Racing Club Handicap Chase by 12 lengths under his son, Joe.