Cappa Bleu delighted connections on his seasonal reappearance as last season's John Smith's Grand National fourth starts on the road to another tilt at the Aintree marathon.
The 10-year-old showed his well-being when second to Across The Bay in the Weatherbys Hamilton Graduation Chase over an extended three miles at Carlisle on Monday.
Trainer Evan Williams now wants to give Cappa Bleu a run at Christmas time, but he will not risk him on heavy ground again.
The Coral Welsh National, in which he was third last December, is an obvious target but that will depend on conditions being favourable.
"It was nice to get started. I was very happy with him and it was just an ideal first run back after running at Aintree," said Williams. "He's fine, he's sound and he's happy.
"I've certainly got no worries at all. It was exactly what I wanted to do and it blew the cobwebs away.
"He will entered for the Welsh National, but I won't run him on that ground again. It was proper heavy ground yesterday, but I had to start him somewhere.
"The horse doesn't want that ground and I don't want to be taking the stomach out of him on that kind of ground at Chepstow.
"You never know, we might have a mild spell and it might be all right.
"I wanted to get a run into him around this time and I'd like to run him somewhere over the Christmas period and then he'll need a run before Aintree somewhere.
"We have a few things in mind, but it all depends on the weather. The plan is just to build him up quietly.
"It's great to get that first run under his belt and the horse come home in one piece."