Davis Pipe's Ashkazar strengthened his Champion Hurdle hand after winning the Kingwell Hurdle on February 14th.
He won the race in very impressive style and surprised many by the ease with which he left 2008 Champion Hurdle 3rd, Punjabi for dead. The only threat cane for Donald McCain's, Whiteoak, who ran a big race to finish a length and a half back in second place.
It may not have been the performance of a potential Champion Hurdler, but the improvement Ashkazar has made since his seasonal reappearance was outstanding and his trainer beleives he may improve further before the Cheltenham first day feature in 3 weeks time.
The win has forced bookmakers to slash his odds to 12-1, while Whiteoak has been cut from 100-1 to 33s.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Punjabi was adamant after the race that his horse will improve significantly before the Festival and advised punters not to write him off just yet.
12 months ago this race was won by none other than Katchit, who of course went on to win the Champion Hurdle!