The rench import Le Rocher made the perfect start to his career in Britain as he justified the regard in which he is held by trainer Nick Williias by outpointing Kentucky Hyden.
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The 11/2 shot, ridden by Richard Johnson, prevailed by two and a half lengths after a decent battle in the testing conditions.
Williams said: "We'd have been disappointed if he hadn't won.
"This has been the plan for some time and it has been quite difficult having to keep him under wraps.
"He's an exciting horse. He might need soft ground but I'm not saying he won't go for the Triumph.
"There's a temptation to go to France later on as the prize money is so much better."
Johnson said: "It was tough out there, but he was a very willing partner."
Le Rocher was cut to 16/1 from 25/1 for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham by Sky Bet.
Spokesman Michael Shinners commented: "If conditions were to come up soft at the Festival, you couldn't see him going off at those odds - but that could be a big 'if'."