Creek scores at Ascot
Rocky Creek's season may have reached its pinnacle after he made fairly hard work of landing the Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot.
Trainer Paul Nicholls may be cautious with the 8-13 favourite, who competed a hat-trick over fences in a Grade Two event marred by jumping errors from each of his four rivals.
Jockey Ruby Walsh said: "He's probably a better horse going the other way (left-handed). He jumped a bit to the left and I was in front about an hour and a half too soon."
Speaking from Wincanton, Nicholls added: "I'm not totally convinced about Cheltenham. We haven't got a plan for him as such and I need to talk to Ruby.
"I'm not in a mega rush with him and like Silviniaco Conti I think he could be next year's horse, when we would maybe look at the Hennessy."
Nicholls' Far West (8-13 favourite) completed his preparations for the Triumph Hurdle when coming out on top in what was essentially a sprint against River Maigue for the Ironspine Charity Challenge "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
"That was just what we wanted and we can now put the finishing touches on before the Triumph," said Nicholls' assistant Dan Skelton.
The reborn Vino Griego (11-4 favourite) initiated a memorable cross-country double for trainer Gary Moore ahead of Well Refreshed's Haydock success in surprisingly assured fashion in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase, having only recently scored over fences for the first time after 17 previous attempts.
"We're not training him differently, we're maybe riding him a bit differently, but his whole attitude has changed," said Gary Moore.
"He's looking like the horse we always thought he could be.
"We'll look at the novice handicap chase at Cheltenham (Pulteney Land Investments), if he qualifies."
The runner-up Cappa Bleu, as well as third-placed Saint Are and The Rainbow Hunter (fourth) are all being prepared for the John Smith's Grand National.
Cappa Bleu's trainer Evan Williams said there was only "one day" for his horse, while Tim Vaughan and Kim Bailey were satisfied with efforts from their respective horses on ground which was unsuitably soft for them.
Relentless galloper Up And Go (15-8 favourite) would not allow his rivals a look-in as he shot clear from flagfall in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.
"I pitched him into a Grade Two at Sandown on terrible ground (where he fell) but I was impressed when he won at Wetherby and I'm even more impressed today," trainer Donald McCain said.
"He's not the finished article and there's no great hurry (to go to Cheltenham), if we don't want to go."
Nick Gifford's idea for Kuilsriver to revert back to from fences worked a treat at 33-1 in the Betfair. Don't Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle.
David Pipe's much-touted Red Sherlock scrambled home to win the bumper as the 4-6 favourite but a trip to Cheltenham is far from certain.
Pipe said: "He wasn't impressive, but it was a lot to ask for a four-year-old. Whether he goes to Cheltenham is debatable."