Thyme Hill, whose outstanding record over hurdles includes two Grade 1 and three Grade 2 victories, switched to the larger obstacles at Exeter for the first time on Friday and ran out the decisive winner of the Betway Future Stars Silver Bowl Novices’ Chase.

The eight-year-old son of Kayf Tara was sent off as odds-on favourite for the three-mile contest, which was won in 2015 by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River. He passed the post 17 lengths clear of runner-up Flash Collonges.

Thyme Hill’s trainer Philip Hobbs said, “I’m delighted and very pleased. He was a little bit green to start with and jumped a bit big but those are the sort of things you come to expect. He will learn a lot from it.”

He added, “You are bound to [feel pressure] as we were nearly going to go novice chasing last season but we thought we could win the Stayers’ Hurdle, but we were second in that.

“He schooled over fences for the first time two years ago so we have been thinking about it for a long time, but since he was so good over hurdles we went for longer than maybe we should have done.”

Thyme Hill, who filled the runner-up spot in the G1 Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, was cut to 12-1 from 16-1 for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at next year’s Festival. In the meantime, the G1 Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton  on Boxing Day is under consideration for his next outing, through Hobbs indicated he will also look for other less lofty engagements. 

He said, “It would be nice to go to Cheltenham to get an experience over fences there and he is ready to do that after today. The Kauto Star would be one to look at but we are early November already and if he was to go there he would nearly have to go straight there. I think I’d rather go somewhere where there are fewer runners.”

Thyme Hill is a son of the Hernando mare Rosita Bay, who is also the dam of treble winner and Listed-placed chaser Storming Strumpet, a full-sister to Thyme Hill. The 21-year-old mare remains well represented in the paddocks at Overbury Stud, where she has a three-year-old filly and a two-year-old gelding by Jack Hobbs, and yearling and filly foals by Frontiersman.