Josses Hill will be targeted at the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after failing to see out three miles in the King George VI Chase.
Although the eight-year-old was only beaten seven lengths on his first try over the distance in the Kempton feature, connections were far from convinced he effectively got the trip.
Plans are now in place for the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding to be dropped back down to two miles and five furlongs for a second shot at the Grade One on March 16.
Mike Spence, son of owner Alan Spence, said: “We were thrilled with him and thought that it was probably a career best.
“Turning for home and just after two out, we still thought he was going to finish second. He certainly didn’t shape like the worst horse in the race.
“He just didn’t stay. I think he raced as well as Cue Card, but he is not in the same league as Thistlecrack.
“If he stayed he would have finished second, but he just showed in the last half-furlong that he didn’t stay. We learnt a lot, though, and he has improved again. He showed he was capable of running in that class of race.
“We will drop him back in trip and the Ryanair will be the target. I don’t know if he will race beforehand. If he does it will probably be the Ascot Chase, but he won’t run if it is heavy there.
“He liked the ground at Kempton the other day and he is fine on good to soft, but he would rather have it good. The Ryanair is tailor-made for him and all roads lead to it.”