Nicky Henderson's horses are in rude health at present, and while the Lambourn trainer has narrowly missed out on the Open Meeting's feature chase and hurdle he took this prize with a highly-impressive young horse.
Punchestowns, a French-bred five-year-old who won twice last season, took the Cotswold Style Intermediate Handicap Hurdle with his head in his chest, despite carrying top-weight and making his seasonal debut.
This performance could well mean that he might go for the Ladbroke World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Punchestowns is certainly a formidable-looking horse now, and a chaser in the making. Henderson said: "I was worried I had got the horse to the point where he might blow up [through carrying too much condition], but he's a lovely horse. "He's half-schooled over fences, but after that performance we might have to review that plan. We'll have to look and see, but he's probably won that too well for further handicaps - we might keep him to hurdles to protect him for fences next season. It was a good performance."