Far West continued the good work of reigning champion trainer Paul Nicholls when taking the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial, the opening event on the second day of the Open meeting at Cheltenham.
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Nicholls and stable jockey Ruby Walsh had combined for a double on the first day of the meeting and had also taken this race 12 months ago with Hinterland.
Favourite Vasco De Ronceray, who travelled powerfully for most of the way, made the 15/8 winner work, the pair having drawn clear around the home turn. But Far West dug deep after the final flight and stretched on again to score by seven lengths, with Roc D'Apsis a further 26 lengths back in third.
"He hadn't shown a lot at home before his first run at Chepstow, bar being very green, but the form was good and he had improved a lot since," winning trainer Paul Nicholls told Racing UK.
"We knew the second was very good too and that's how it worked out. He's a good horse. He wouldn't have minded the ground. He's tough and he stays and that's what you want. He jumps well, but we spend a lot of time getting that sort of thing right."
Sky Bet make Far West the 10/1 favourite for the Triumph Hurdle in March, but Nicholls hinted that he had more bullets to fire from among his juveniles.
"Today was the target," he said. "There are a lot of good juveniles around him and we'll have to see. The way he is progressing, he's leading them at the minute, but we've only run two or three and there's a few more to come yet."