LOSTINTRANSLATION moved to the head of ante-post lists for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup after getting the better of defending champion Bristol De Mai in a thrilling climax to the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock.

A brilliant winner of the three-mile, one-and-a-half-furlong contest in each of the past two seasons, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai was aiming to become the third three-time winner on Merseyside, following on from the great Kauto Star, who won four renewals, and the popular Cue Card.

The grey faced just three rivals for his hat-trick bid and was the 5/4 joint-favourite along with the up-and-coming Losintranslation, who had made a fine start to his season at Carlisle three weeks ago, albeit in lesser company.

As is his wont, Bristol De Mai was soon bowling along at the head of affairs and some prodigious leaps kept the pressure on those in behind.

His Charlie Hall Chase-winning stablemate Ballyoptic and the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon were both under pressure before the home turn, but having been ridden patiently at the rear for much of the journey by Robbie Power, Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation moved ominously into contention early in the straight.

Bristol De Mai, unbeaten in four previous visits to Haydock, did not give up his crown without a fight, but Lostintranslation dug deep on the run-in to emerge victorious by a length and a half under a jubilant Power.

Paddy Power cut the winner to 3/1 from 5/1 for the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, and he is the 5/1 favourite from 8/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Jamie Snowden described Thebannerkingrebel as “a bit of a freak” after the six-year-old got back to winning ways in the Listed Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively At Betfair Newton Novices’ Hurdle.

This was a retrieval mission for Snowden’s charge following his final flight fall when holding every chance at Wetherby three weeks ago, and Thebannerkingrebel redeemed himself to stake an early claim for the Cheltenham Festival.

Leading after three out, he hit the second last, but it did not stop his momentum, and, after a fine leap over the final obstacle, the 5/4 favourite went on to win by five lengths from Calva D’Auge under Gavin Sheehan.

“It was a real shame at Wetherby, but it did him no harm because he’s jumped really cleanly today. I know he clipped the second last out of the ground, but on the whole he’s made a far better shape over his hurdles and he’s quickened away in the manner of a good horse,” said Snowden.

“He’s got a serious engine – he’s a bit of a freak. He’s got gears, he can go a good gallop and he can quicken off it. I think he’s very good. His wind was really bad after the Cheltenham bumper (in 2018) and he had a year off. I thought the horse had gone, but finally all came right.

“We gave him a couple of easy runs over hurdles at Warwick and Newton Abbot and came back to Wetherby, where he looked the winner jumping the last, and then came here today.

“There’s the Rossington Main back here. I know it’s a fair way away, but that’s what I’ve got my eyes on. It would be nice to have that as a springboard to Cheltenham. We’d have to think Supreme (Novices’ Hurdle).”