Paul Nicholls is confident McFabulous will continue to improve with the Stayers’ Hurdle a potential target.

Trainer Paul Nicholls is hopeful he has a future Stayers’ Hurdle contender on his hands in McFabulous following his impressive victory at Kempton on Saturday.

The six-year-old was sent off as the 5/2 favourite for the Grade 3 European Breeders Fund Paddy Power “National Hunt” EBF Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and made good on pre-race expectations, travelling well throughout.

At the turn for home, jockey Harry Cobden guided him to the front of the field and despite a late challenge from Sevarano, he moved clear to take the honours by six-and-a-half lengths.

That was his second win in succession having made light work of a four-runner affair at Market Rasen at the start of last month and he appears to have put any early season doubts about his potential behind him.

He had been shocked when the odds-on favourite to win at Chepstow on his bow over hurdles in November and followed that up with a poor showing at Ascot.

He came home fourth of four at Ascot as he found Master Debonair too hot to handle on that occasion.

However, his recent showings have given Nicholls cause for optimism and he believes McFabulous could be a Stayers’ Hurdle contender at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.

“He got a lovely mark at Market Rasen; he jumped great today and should shape up into a very good staying hurdler,” said Nicholls.

“We’ll look for a Grade One over two and a half miles, but he could be a Stayers’ Hurdle horse one day.”

Nicholls hasn’t had a Stayers’ Hurdle winner since the legendary Big Buck’s, who won the Festival feature four times on the spin between 2009 and 2012.

The Ditcheat handler didn’t have a runner in this year’s renewal of the Grade 1 as 50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar sprung a major surprise to claim the prize.

The Rebecca Curtis-trained winner is 25/1 with Betfred to repeat his triumph next year, with Paisley Park 7/1 to bounce back after flopping badly in defence of his title.

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