The Giant Bolster bounced back to form in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham under Tom Scudamore.
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David Bridgwater's stable star was something of a forgotten horse despite having finished second and fourth in two Cheltenham Gold Cups but he recaptured his top form in a new combination of headgear to record a thrilling success in the Grade Two contest.
Scudamore had been in action at Doncaster before taking a helicopter to Prestbury Park in time to partner his old ally and his journey was not in vani.
None of the leading sextet could be ruled out with any confidence with a mile to run although neither The Giant Bolster nor Harry Topper had jumped with great fluency.
Restless Harry was the first to cry enough and then Champion Court's suspect stamina ebbed away as Rocky Creek and The Giant Bolster pulled clear of Harry Topper and Houblon Des Obeaux.
The pair weren't separated by a great deal jumping the last but the nine-year-old gradually began to assert as the Hennessy second's legs turned to jelly and Rocky Creek was all out to hold on for second as the winner passed the line seven lengths clear.
Scudamore said: "I'm delighted for Bridgy and all the owners, they never lost faith in him. They wanted to try something different, we've talked about headgear for a while and it's worked. We always knew he was good it was about getting his head right. He's a bit like his trainer - he's a bit odd!"
Bridgwater said: "If you looked at his form you'd say he was a certainty. He's got so much ability but he got beaten in a handicap hurdle off 145 and I don't know how that happened.
"It's emotional stuff and he's got to be back in the mix for the Gold Cup. Someone has got to finish third or fourth and we'll be happy with that."
Paul Nicholls said of Rocky Creek: "He's run like he's needed it, I had a bit of a problem with him after the Hennessy and where we go now I'm not sure. Daryl (Jacob) got off and said go for the National so we'll have to think about it."
Sky Bet make The Giant Bolster a 33/1 shot for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, while Rocky Creek is 25/1 for the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree on April 5.