Does He Know stamped his class in the Bateaux London Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot.
Kim Bailey’s Grade Two-winning hurdler was thoroughly impressive in winning his first two starts over fences, but came up short when bidding for the hat-trick at Cheltenham in November.
However, with his Cheltenham conqueror Threeunderthrufive having since plundered two Grade Two prizes, Does He Know appeared to have every chance of getting back on the winning trail in Berkshire.
The three-mile contest was not for the faint-hearted, with most of the runners having to be nudged along at some stage as the testing conditions took their toll.
But 9-2 shot Does He Know grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck before the home turn and galloped all the way up the straight under David Bass to claim top honours by 14 lengths.
Doyen Breed was best of the rest in second, with his fellow Scottish challenger Corach Rambler – the 16-5 favourite – still in with every chance when unseating Derek Fox five fences from the finish.
Bailey’s assistant, Matthew Nicholls, said: “We were slightly panicking about the ground, although he has form on soft a long time ago.
“On ratings he had a favourite’s chance, it was whether the others had moved past him. He has obviously improved for the ground and goes well fresh, and it was a good staying performance.
“He can be a bit strange. He is exuberant at some fences. Even in the preliminaries you could see he can be a bit of a handful.
“But he keeps improving and one thing he does is try when he is under pressure. Impressive today, wasn’t he?”
Betfair cut Does He Know to 5-1 from 8-1 for the Ultima Handicap Chase and 8-1 from 16-1 for the National Hunt Chase at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
On which race he is likely to contest, Nicholls added: “I will speak to the main man (Bailey), who is in Sri Lanka watching his lad play cricket.”