All roads lead to the Cheltenham Gold Cup for L’Homme Presse following a triumphant comeback in the Fitzdares Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield.

The nine-year-old claimed Cheltenham’s Brown Advisory as one of two Grade One novice wins two seasons ago and kicked off last term with a fine weight-carrying victory in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle.

However, he subsequently unseated Charlie Deutsch when seemingly booked for second behind Bravemansgame in the King George VI Chase at Kempton and missed the rest of the campaign through injury.

Despite an absence totalling 391 days, L’Homme Presse was the 8-11 favourite to make a successful return in Lingfield’s £165,000 Winter Million feature and proved his ability remains very much intact with a two-and-a-quarter-length win over a race-fit dual Grade One winner in Protektorat.

Winning Herefordshire trainer Venetia Williams said: “It’s been a long time coming and I’m thrilled for Andy, Pat and Peter (owners) to have been as patient as they have been.

“There were proper stayers in there today who were going to eke out any weakness and he’s a stayer of course, but you can’t expect them to plumb the depths of their stamina first time out after a long time off.

“It (injury) was enough to keep him off for a good few months and then the season was coming to an end and we wanted to give him a long, steady preparation this autumn. It’s taken a while.

“In fairness, he hasn’t had much schooling and I was going to school him this week, but wasn’t able to because of the weather. He’s an intelligent horse, though.

“We brought him here and he could possibly have run a bit earlier but the races weren’t there. We wanted him to run somewhere where it was an appropriate race and we also had enough time to get him fit. I’m sure he will improve a bit, but don’t expect masses of improvement.”