Wishfull Thinking (8-11) made the most of Sprinter Sacre's absence to run out a facile winner of the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.
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Wishful thinking may have been all that the Philip Hobbs team could have hoped for when Sprinter Sacre was declared for the two mile contest but the race was left at their mercy when Nicky Henderson withdrew last year's brilliant Arkle winner after overnight rain on Friday.
The winner made an early mistake but had the race in safe keeping from a long way out although Doeslessthanme did keep him honest as Richard Johnson had to keep the nine year old up to his work.
Hobbs said: "I'm delighted.
"The main problem for a long time has been his breathing - he's had three breathing operations. But this season he has been better with his breathing.
"We had a scare at the first fence, but he did it well. The Peterborough Chase (Huntingdon, December 13) is now the obvious race - that's definitely an option."
Johnson said: "We had a big scare (at the first fence) but he jumped really well."
Sky Bet left the winner unchanged at 25-1 for the Ryanair Chase while the Leeds firm offer a standout 40/1 for the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.