Bold Bristol De Mai pulverises the opposition at Haydock
Bristol De Mai produced an astonishing display to floor his rivals and win the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.
The winning margin was no less than 57 lengths, a staggering achievement in a supposedly competitive Grade One steeplechase.
And after the win trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies confirmed that a £1 million bonus was in his sights with the grey Bristol De Mai, who was ridden to victory by a justifiably ecstatic Daryl Jacob.
That is the incentive for the gelding and the huge sum will go to him should he augment this mighty Haydock win with victory in the other two legs of the bonus, the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Bristol De Mai disappointed in last year's Gold Cup, but Twiston-Davies is of the opinion that the horse was not right physically that day when he finished some 20 lengths adrift of the winner Sizing John, who was withdrawn from the Betfair Chase earlier in the week because of the testing, heavy ground.
The trainer enthused: "He is just a big, strong, gorgeous horse and we always thought he would be capable of something like that - he has always been a supreme horse.
"He was not right in the Gold Cup last year. He hurt a fetlock when he ran at Newbury before the Gold Cup and it was a struggle to get him there."
The general consensus is that Bristol De Mai is more effective on flat tracks, but Twiston-Davies insists that the undulations of Cheltenham are not a concern.
"I am not worried when you have a horse with an engine like that.
"It's a shame Sizing John wasn't here so we could find out (how much he's improved)."
Jacob said of the winner: "He's a phenomenal horse, he's a beautiful horse.
"He's a fabulous horse and we've always thought the world of him."
Bristol De Mai was following up his previous win in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Twiston-Davies is making a habit of winning big races on a Saturday, as he saddled Splash Of Ginge to land the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham last weekend.
He said: "Let;s hope it continues next Saturday with Cogri in the Ladbroke Trophy (Newbury) and the Becher Chase with Blaklion (Aintree).
Cue Card failed gallantly in his bid to win the race for a fourth time as he finished a tired second, behind the out-on-his-own winner, who was sent off the 11-10 favourite.
Trainer Colin Tizzard fully accepted that Cue Card had been beaten by a horse on top of his game.
Tizzard said: "I think he's run on par with his other runs. He's just been beaten by a very good horse on the day. The winner blew the race away, really.
"He (Cue Card) jumped round and galloped on and finished second.
"We'll go back home and see how he is."