Carruthers, the rising star of Mark Bradstock's Letcombe Bassett stables, near Wantage, enjoyed a perfect warm-up for the Cheltenham Festival with an easy victory at Bangor.

Tackling three miles for the first time, the five-year-old made all the running in a novices' hurdle under Mattie Batchelor to romp home by 25 lengths from A Glass In Thyne.

The 2-9 favourite was following up his success in a Grade 2 hurdle at Warwick a month ago.

And afterwards Bradstock confirmed he is now on course for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle over three miles on the Friday of the Festival - rather than the Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle over a three-furlong shorter trip two days earlier.

The Letcombe Bassett handler commented: "That was straightforward. As Mattie said he was never out of second gear."

He warned though, that drying ground at Cheltenham wouldn't be in his charge's favour.

Bookmakers Coral make Carruthers - who is owned by a partnership headed by former Channel 4 presenter Lord Oaksey - the 6-1 second favourite for his Festival target behind 5-1 market leader Gone To Lunch.

Racing Demon, the star of Henrietta Knight's West Lockigne stables, near Wantage, is set to run in the Commercial First Ascot Chase tomorrow - despite the trainer's concerns about the track being watered.

Officials at the Berkshire track turned on the taps earlier this week in a bid to stop the ground becoming too fast.

Presuming Racing Demon does line-up in the Grade 1 Chase, he is set to face Kauto Star and Monet's Garden.

It will be his first outing since finishing fourth behind Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, but he should be suited by the right-handed track and the trip of two miles and five furlongs.

Meanwhile, Knight admitted to being surprised by Comber's success at Ludlow.

The six-year-old was backed down to 100-30 favourite for a two and a half mile handicap chase.

And he justified the support by grabbing Basic Fact on the line to win by a short head under a fine Robert Thornton ride.

Knight said: "Everybody knew more about the horse than I did. I would have been happy if he had finished in the first four."

Herecomestanley, from Milton Harris's Edgcote stables, near Banbury, is in the running for the Channel 4 Trophy for this season's winning-most jumper following his latest success at Kempton.

The nine-year-old, whom Harris says used to be a real headcase, posted win No 6 for the camapign when beating Briery Fox by two lengths under Charlie Poste in a three-mile handicap chase.

It left him one win adrift of top novice chaser Joe Lively's tally of seven - and Harris turned out Herecomestanley 24 hours later at Warwick in a bid to draw level.

However, he was only able to finish fourth behind Tino Tino in a handicap hurdle.

On the Flat, Chris Catlin, who lives at Kingston Lisle, near Wantage, kept up his charge for the all-weather jockeys' title with a treble at Wolverhampton.

His hat-trick of winners was made up of Alexander Hurricane, Motarjm and Rapidity.