Tom Scudamore guided Vision Des Flos to victory in the £80,000 National Spirit Hurdle at sunny Fontwell - and is one of a number of winners that could now go on to the Cheltenham Festival.
The Colin Tizzard-trained six-year-old (7/2) was a length-and-a-half winner of the track's richest race of the year - beating past winners Old Guard and Lil Rockerfeller in the process.
Lil Rockerfeller, who won in 2016, looked to be in with a chance, leading on the final circuit but ending third behind 13/8 favourite If The Cap Fits. The Jeremy Kyle-owned Old Guard, the 2018 winner of the race, was fourth.
Vision Des Flos was immediately made 14/1 by Paddy Power for the Coral Cup at Cheltenham, having been 20/1 before this victory, which kept up a fine National Spirit record for the Scudamore family.
A delighted Tizzard said: "I'll leave him in the Champion Hurdle in case there aren't many left in but I'd think he'll go for the Coral Cup. Two and a half miles is fine for him, he's just been getting outpaced by the likes of Buveur D'Air and Grand Sancy last week. He's had trouble with his wind and he's run three times now in a month so should be fit for Cheltenham.
"Two miles was a bit sharp around Wincanton for him last time. The fitter he is, the better he will get. He stayed on well there. He travelled really well."
Winning jockey Scudamore said: "He deserved that as he has been running good races against top horses. he only had 2lb to find with If The Cap Fits and he travelled well today. It's been a good race for the family as I have won it three times now and dad won it twice as well."
Earlier the Josh Gifford Memorial Novices' Chase, was taken by Nico de Boinville on evens favourite Whatswrongwithyou, with the trophy presented by Josh's West Sussex-based trainer son Nick. Whatswrongwithyou could be seen again in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham
The meeting, run in glorious warm spring sunshine in front of a large crowd, opened with the "Guido James Zammit" Handicap Chase going to 11/1 shot Kings Monarch, ridden by Fontwell specialist Jamie Moore for Kerry Lee.
The NetBet Boosts Novices' Hurdle was won by Oliver Sherwood-trained Tarada (9/4) under Leighton Aspell.
Meanwhile Nicholls, while not in luck in the National Spirit Hurdle, did have success in the NetBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle when Bryony Frost rode Ostuni (4/1) to a comfortabler eight-length victory.
Nicholls later completed a double when Hugos Other Horse won the NetBet Betmaker Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race with in-form Harry Cobden on board, the 9/4 shot taking it by a head in a thrilling finish with favourite Thunderstuck pushing him to the line.
Shantou Flyer, a 10//11 favourite, lived up to his name with a 35-length win in the NetBet Open Hunters' Chase for David Maxwell and trainer Richard Hobson. He is now likely to go in the Foxhunters' Chase at Cheltenham.
There's one more meeting at Fontwell before Cheltenham - that's on Wednesday, March 6. Fontwell also stages its popular St Patrick's raceday on Saturday, March 16. Ticket details for upcoming fixtures are at fontwellpark.co.uk