Imperial Aura put in an excellent performance to land the Grade 2 Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase for Kim Bailey at Ascot.
The seven-year-old took his record over fences to four from six thanks to a wonderful round of jumping under David Bass who kept things simple on the front end.
Black Corton fell for the first time in his career and Real Steel couldn't land a blow after a mistake three from home, with Itchy Feet staying on to deny him second late on.
There were no dangers to Imperial Aura, though, who justified 13/8 favouritism impressively to run out a five-length winner.
Sky Bet cut him to 8/1 from 12s for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "That was a very impressive performance by Imperial Aura who looks like a horse on the upgrade. His Cheltenham Festival target could be the Ryanair where we now go 8/1 from 12/1."
Bailey said: “I was really pleased with the horse and what a fantastic ride. He took the race to them, and he had to. We knew he would stay and he is just a very progressive horse. He had improved at home, we knew that.
“You have to have a go and today was the right race. I’m really pleased he is going forwards and the Ryanair is now where we head, I suppose.
“His jumping as always (is what really pleased me). Those downhill fences were electric to watch. He fired them in and by taking them on it made it so much better from his point of view, as you look at it and at one stage Harry Cobden was sitting hard-held beside him (on Real Steel).
“He kept on pushing and pushing and the wheels started to fall off everybody else.”
He went on: “I don’t know where we go (next). He will probably have one run between now and Cheltenham. I thought we would get today done with and from the result of today we knew where we were going. He was either a Ryanair horse or we were going for something completely different.
“I’m not going to go that far that quickly (and try turn him into a Gold Cup horse), but he will certainly get further. He ran over three miles last season and Pym beat him, but the two were racing for a long time and he showed his inexperience.
“This is the most progressive horse I’ve had for a long time – he has never stopped improving and that’s the important thing.
“It is lovely to have horses good enough to be here, but without owners we are not here and it is important they get the credit they deserve.”
Go with the Flow
Bailey and Bass doubled up two races later as First Flow cast aside ground fears and resumed his progression with a tenacious success in the Coral Hurst Park Handicap Chase.
Having rattled up a hat-trick over fences at the end of last term, the eight-year-old gelding picked up where he left off.
Despite making plenty of mistakes throughout the two-mile-one-furlong prize, the 3/1 shot met the last on a good stride before knuckling down to defeat recent course scorer Amoola Gold by a neck.
Bailey said: “I’m staggered really. David Bass and I were trawling through the programme book half way through this afternoon to find somewhere else to go, as he wants heavy ground and (David) said he won’t be able to jump out of this. He just can’t jump at speed.
“How has he managed to win that, as he has jumped appallingly the whole way round and all he has done is stay. Quite honestly I didn’t think he had an earthly chance today, and neither did David Bass.
“I’m thrilled for his owner Tony Solomons. He is my longest serving owner – he has been with me every year, bar my second season – and he is just a fantastic man and deserves every winner he gets. I think the only fence he jumped properly was the last. It was horrendous to watch, but that’s him as he is an oddball.
“He has got no right to be as good as he is, but that is his fourth win on the trot. He is an extraordinary horse.”