CLEVER Cookie continued his climb to prominence with an impressive display in the £1.25 Million Scoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle.
After consecutive handicap wins at Musselburgh, he stepped up to Grade 2 in style under regular jockey Wilson Renwick to beat Fergall by eight lengths.
Peter Niven, the winning trainer, said: "He was bred by my mother and this will have been a great tonic as she's had a little operation recently.
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"He's not just the best I've had, he's the best I've sat on as I ride him out every morning.
"He's got a few gears and, though he was happy to rip from the front over hurdles, we've had to do a bit of work with him over fences, and he settles really well. He's a slow learner but he's getting the hang of it now.
"Who knows what he could end up being but I'd say he's more likely to go to Aintree than Cheltenham. I'm even tempted to run him on the Flat, that's how talented I think he is."
Renwick went on to complete a 20-1 double on the Rose Dobbin-trained Rocking Blues in the 2m 5f Chase.
Maggio, trained in Ireland by Patrick Griffin but a regular visitor to Britain, sprang a minor surprise in the Best Odds Guaranteed At totepool.com Premier Chase.
Sue Smith's Mr Moonshine went off favourite and was supposed to enhance Grand National claims but was made to look one-paced by 8-1 chance Maggio.
Winning at the track for the fourth time, the nine-year-old was spring-heeled throughout and pulled clear in the last half mile. Brian Hughes fired him at the final two fences and Maggio responded, beating Mr Moonshine by four-and-a-half lengths.
Griffin's son and assistant James said: "This was the plan and this is our Gold Cup. I'd love to win an Irish Grand National and hopefully he will go close in a race like that.
"He loves it at Kelso where he has also won three times over hurdles and I'm delighted to give Brian a winner as I've known him since he was a 10lb claimer in Ireland. There are a couple of races at Aintree for him so that's where he could go next."
Jet Master and Lucy Alexander were appropriate winners of the Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices' Limited Handicap Chase as the combination saw off Smadynium by 11 lengths.
Winning trainer Nick Alexander said: "This race is in memory of my late father and I've been trying to win it for 21 years."
At Doncaster, Night In Milan had his day in the sunshine with a bold jumping performance to take the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase.
Keith Reveley's eight-year-old won on Town Moor on his penultimate start but was pulled up in the Sky Bet Chase there a month later in soft ground.
On a sound surface, he was in front on his own from the third-last and jumped superbly in the hands of the trainer's son, James, as he saw off Storm Survivor and Renard by five lengths and a short head.
Night In Milan was cut to 50-1 from 66-1 for the Crabbie's Grand National with Ladbrokes, but needs more than 30 horses to come out to get a run in the Aintree showpiece.
Leading National fancy Monbeg Dude made good late headway to finish a satisfactory fifth. His trainer Michael Scudamore said "The dream is still alive … We wanted to get a good blow into him and it's all systems going forward."