The seven-year-old jumped well and stayed close to the lead before making his move late on. Eyeballing Phillip Hobbs’ Brother Tedd over the last, his rival made a crucial mistake handing the victory to Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount.
It’s his second victory on the trot following an easy 33 length canter at this track only 11 days ago.
“We’re really happy with him," said Nicholls.
"I thought with the 7lb penalty was worth taking a chance on,
“They seemed to go pretty quick, and he jumped nicely. The ground is the most important thing for him.
“We have the option now of running in a nice handicap or keep him novice chasing.”
The Cheltenham Festival may not have his optimum quick ground, but he may take his chance in the RSA Chase which was won by Might Bite in 2017.
Alcala may feature in some of jump racing’s leading races throughout the summer period.
Nicholls hailed the prize money on offer at the Devon track, Alcala won the race with prize money in excess of £14,000.
“It’s a credit to jump racing to put on that sort of prize money at this time of the year,” said the Ditcheat maestro.
“You don’t mind supporting them, and there were some nice horses on show here.
“With novice races in the summer it’s worth bringing some good horses out for.”
Pre-race favourite Brother Tedd finished second, whilst Alan King’s Midnight Cowboy finished third.
Irish Cavalier, who won the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Haydock, was pulled-up sharply through the race.
Rebecca Curtis’ eight-year-old contested the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup but failed to finish in the Festival’s feature race.
Whilst pre-race favourite Ballybolley was withdrawn from the race in the morning by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.