BRISTOL De Mai continued his love affair with Haydock when springing a surprise in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Successful by 57 lengths in this race 12 months, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey upstaged the first two in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Native River and Might Bite, as he ran his rivals into the ground.
The 13/2 shot jumped superbly for Daryl Jacob and he kept pulling out more to hold the challenge of Native River in game fashion. Thistlecrack was third with Clan Des Obeaux fourth.
It was Bristol De Mai’s fourth win at the Merseyside track from four runs there.
The disappointment of the race was the evens favourite Might Bite, who weakened into last place after holding every chance.
Jacob said: “He’s unbelievable. Everybody was building this up as a two-horse race, but our camp had different ideas.
“We’ve believed in this horse a long time. This horse has won a Grade 1 every year he’s been over here. We’ve nurtured him.
“That was a big moment. He’s a great horse. It obviously was a disadvantage it not being soft ground, but at this track, there’s something about it he just loves and he feels a lot better.
“They were big fences and took some jumping. I got him into a lovely rhythm. He jumped super and you needed to jump today to win and that’s exactly what this lad did.”