Captain Chris became the second of Philip Hobbs' star names to look right back to their old selves within a week when taking the Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot yesterday.
Just like Wishfull Thinking, which left behind a season full of difficulties at Cheltenham last weekend, Captain Chris was plagued by jumping frailties last winter but was given a fine ride by Richard Johnson as he saw off For Non Stop.
Hobbs, who had been struggling with flooded roads earlier in the week in the Minehead area, said: "The King George would be the obvious race to go for now. He'd like better ground and was third in it last year."
Nicky Henderson's Oscar Whisky, however, thrived in the conditions and was in a class of his own in the Coral Hurdle.
A faller at the last when right in contention in the race last year, the 8/15 favourite was always in command under Barry Geraghty and cruised eight lengths clear of Raya Star. "He loved the ground, and that was a very smart performance," said Henderson.
At home, it was a good day for punters at Gowran Park with favourites obliging in all seven races including three from the Willie Mullins yard.
Aupcharlie (6/4) completed Mullins' hat-trick with Andrew Lynch on board after Diakali (2/5) and Reine Angevine (1/1) had earlier collected for the champion trainer and jockey Paul Townend
And Hidden Cyclone looks set for the Lexus Chase after an all-the-way success in the day's feature, the Carlow IT Students Day At Gowran Park December 13th Chase. Shark Hanlon's 11/10 shot was given a positive ride by Andrew McNamara and Hanlon said: "He is a lot better out in front. Everyone was knocking him for his jumping but they can't after today. I am delighted with his jumping."
Paddy Power cut Hidden Cyclone from 33/1 to 25s for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.