Brian Ellison ended a lean run at Cheltenham as Definitly Red ran out a convincing winner of the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase.
The native North-Easter has suffered plenty of disappointments at the home of National Hunt racing, but went on record as saying this was the best horse he had ever brought down south.
Having progressed through handicaps last year, the nine-year-old was nearly brought down in the Grand National but a performance of this nature marks him down as a real Gold Cup prospect.
The race had quickly changed in complexion turning for home, as American, who seemed to be going well in front, was passed by Definitly Red and the favourite, Bristol De Mai.
However, the grey Bristol De Mai had made a series of niggly errors and they caught up with him as Danny Cook bounded clear on the 7-1 winner, with American plugging on for second, eight lengths away.
Bristol De Mai finished third, not looking the horse who was so impressive in the Betfair Chase in November.
Cook told ITV Racing: “He stayed on really well. He got a bit lonely in front and had a good look.
“I’d like to dedicate that to my grandad, who is not very well, we don’t know how much longer he’s got, he said he’d love to see me ride a winner at Cheltenham and he has.
“This horse is going from strength to strength, he gave me a nice feel today.”