Harry Fry matched his rookie season tally of 20 when Mendip Express sluiced through the conditions to post a five-length defeat of Alfie Spinner in the Foundation Developments Ltd Handicap Chase.
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His first Cheltenham winner "in my own right" [he was credited with much of the training of 2012 Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby], Fry has the Festival in his sights but is uncertain whether it will be the four-mile National Hunt Chase or the RSA Chase for the Will Biddick-ridden 7/1 shot.
The Seaborough trainer said: "He travelled into the race well and did it nicely.
"We came here to find out where we should go for the rest of the season. It was plenty soft enough and he did make a couple of mistakes.
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"It was either coming here or Warwick on Saturday week, but he would have had to give weight to some smart novices had we done that.
"As to the Festival, I would fully expect Will to press for a run in the amateurs' race here in March while Noel Fehily will be saying we should take the novice route and go for the RSA, although there is the JLT Specialty Chase too."
Mendip Express is owned by the Mendip Syndicate of whom Paul Barber has a share.
Owing to standing water on the course, fences five, six, eight, 14 and 15 were omitted from this race, meaning that only 13 of the 22 intended obstacles were jumped.
Sky Bet installed the winner at 7/1 in their betting for the National Hunt Chase.