Sam Waley-Cohen is looking forward to riding Long Run again at Kempton on Boxing Day after a satisfactory reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
The amateur felt the outing was just what was needed ahead of the William Hill King George VI Chase.
Long Run, owned by Waley-Cohen's father Robert and trained by Nicky Henderson, had to settle for second place in the Haydock feature for the second successive season, but connections hope it has not taken as much out of him as it did 12 months ago.
The target again is the King George which he won in the 2010/11 season and was runner-up to Kauto Star last Christmas.
"We were pleased with the run. We thought it was a good introduction to the season and gives us a good platform to go to the King George on," said Waley-Cohen.
"It's always disappointing not to win, but he's run up to a similar mark to his first runs of the season over the last couple of years.
"He's got to improve from there, but in all his previous seasons he has and we hope he will again. He ran a good race on Saturday and you always have to decide in one of those races whether that's the day to go to the bottom of the tank, and it wasn't.
"We were keen to avoid a repeat of his hard race against Kauto Star last year. It was very much about doing what you can but not leaving your whole season at Haydock."