Alan King is targeting a tilt at the Arkle Trophy for Valdez after he made it three from three over fences in Saturday's Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster.
The Exeter and Newbury winner was sent off favourite for the Grade Two contest following the withdrawal of 2012 Champion Hurdle hero Rock On Ruby and got the job done in fine style under Robert Thornton, seeing off Irish challenger Arnaud.
King admitted on his website he was “mighty relieved” to see Valdez come home in front, his first runner in over three weeks following the well publicised problems his string has suffered over the last couple of months.
“You don’t often see Doncaster ride as soft as that, and I think Valdez will be more effective on better ground,” the trainer told www.alankingracing.co.uk.
“But I was just glad to get him back.
“He was only just ready to run after all our hold-ups, but he has gone and done the job well and it will be Cheltenham next stop.
“We have the Grand Annual as Plan B, but I would like to go for the Arkle.”