Magic Saint (100/30) capitalised on a drop down in class and trip to capture the two-mile Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase, continuing a fine run of form for trainer Paul Nicholls.
Conditional Bryan Carver claimed 5lb on the 152-rated chaser, who had posted a creditable performance on his seasonal return when coming home sixth over two and a half miles in the G2 Monet's Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree on 25 October.
After tracking leader On The Slopes, Magic Saint travelled strongly into the lead approaching the second-last and had plenty in reserve to see off Fanion D’Estruval (5/1) for a two and a quarter-length victory.
Bryan Carver said: “Magic Saint travelled brilliantly. Trudy, who led him up, said he was in absolutely fantastic form beforehand. The ground this morning was a bit of a worry, it’s a little bit softer than he would like it, but he’s been absolutely brilliant and travelled throughout, jumped ecstatic — perfect.
“He absolutely winged the second last and then the last - he has gone and done it very nicely."
Carver, who is now one winner away from dropping down to a 3lb claim, added: “I’ve had a bit of a dry spell the last two weeks [with winners], but thankfully he’s put the show back on the road and hopefully I can keep kicking on.
“He has jumped brilliantly, the step back in trip today to two miles from two and a half miles has probably helped him out massively.
“His best form would be around Wincanton, Newbury, places like that, so the hill was a worry today, but I think the step back in trip to two miles and obviously as he is getting older now, he’s probably improving. He is still only six and has plenty of experience for a six-year-old.
“If he’s with anyone to manage him well, it’s Paul [Nicholls].”
Carver, for whom this was his second Cheltenham winner and first here against the professionals, added the win “means an awful lot.”
“I can’t complain with the way things are going now, hopefully just keep kicking!” he said.
Harry Derham, assistant to winning trainer Paul Nicholls, said: “He travelled great today, got in a lovely position and jumped very, very well and two good jumps up the straight sealed it.
“Paul has the horses in fantastic form at the moment, they all look very well and all the jockeys are riding excellently, so long may that continue.
"Magic Saint travelled really strongly at Aintree and didn't quite get home, but did everything right today - travelled well, jumped fantastically well, and two good jumps up the straight sealed it. He got in a great rhythm, but over two and a half miles you are always taking him back, whereas today he was jumping really well and then keep letting him run, which seemed to suit him fantastically well. As I said, he winged the last two, which made him difficult to catch. We always thought he was quite a smart horse and had fancied him for plenty of races, and it was nice to see him put on a big display like that.
"He's on the verge of Graded races, isn't he? We took weight off today because we thought we were right on the limit of where we were at, but after a good performance like that, whether we go for a Graded race, I'm not sure - I haven't spoken to Paul [Nicholls] since the race, but it was nice to see him do that. We'll make a plan now about where we go. If I know Paul, he has probably already got a plan!
"All his wins have come at two miles and I suspect we'll stay there, but we'll see what the handicapper does with him and go from there."
1.50pm Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase 1m 7f 199y
1 Magic Saint – Paul Nicholls 6-11-07 Bryan Carver (5) 100/30
2 Fanion D’Estruval – Venetia Williams 5-11-12 Charlie Deutsch 5/1
3 Beat The Judge – Gary Moore 5-11-04 Joshua Moore 9/2
3/1 fav On The Slopes (5th)
Time: 4m 7.74s
Tote Win: £4 Places: £1.60 £1.80 £1.60 Ex: £20.20