Nick Scholfield could well have earned himself a decent ride in the Gold Cup after shining aboard Taranis in the Argento Chase on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The Devon-born jockey is often used by trainer Paul Nicholls for his reserve horses and with Ruby Walsh set to partner Kauto Star in March and another top name for Denman, Scholfield had a fine opportunity to throw his name into the mix.
Taranis won the Ryanair Chase and also the Jnwine.com Champion at Down Royal in 2007 but had been off since damaging a leg in the King George of that year.
Scholfield had him settled beautifully before presenting him upsides 7/4 favourite Carruthers on the turn for home and he galloped all the way to the line at the handsome odds of 16/1.
Nicholls said: "He'll go straight for the Gold Cup now.
"It was a very bad injury after the King George and his owner Mrs Yeoman has been really patient.
"Obviously Kauto and Denman are out in front but if this fellow improves a bit, and he should, he won't be far behind them.
"Funnily enough, I had been thinking about entering him in the National, too, he jumps well and it would be interesting to see what weight he gets."