Cue Card claimed Grade One honours for the second time in his career after a mistake at the penultimate fence cost Captain Chris any chance in the Betfair Ascot Chase.
Colin Tizzard's Cue Card was reckless himself on occasions, surviving a couple of errors in the course of the extended two miles and five furlongs, but his boundless enthusiasm and the cruising speed which won him a Cheltenham Champion Bumper enabled him to stay in the hunt.
King George runner-up Captain Chris had drawn alongside by the home straight, but lost valuable ground when taking off too early at the second-last fence and the 15-8 favourite was able to finish six lengths clear.
Tizzard's son Joe, Cue Card's jockey, believed he had matters in hand and the pair can head to the Cheltenham Festival full of confidence - where the trainer hinted he would be likely to contest the Ryanair Chase unless red-hot favourite Sprinter Sacre failed to appear in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
"Joe thought he had two or three more gears, maybe that's just him talking," said Colin Tizzard about circumstances at the second-last.
"He's a very good horse. He ran well in the King George (fifth), but I wasn't sure he was quite himself that day, even though I couldn't find anything wrong.
"I expect we'll leave a decision (about Cheltenham) nearer the time. If Sprinter Sacre wasn't in the Queen Mother, that would be very tempting, but if Sprinter Sacre's there on his A-game, I'd imagine we'll go the other way."
Richard Johnson said of Captain Chris: "I think it would have been very close. I don't know what Joe was thinking, but I thought we were going as well as him.
"He can be too brave sometimes, but he has still run well. Hopefully we'll get better ground at Cheltenham and I'd like to ride him in the Gold Cup."
31 October 2014Osborne ready to 'roll the dice'
Dank bids to sign off on a high
Turf glory in sight for Telescope
Red Ed upbeat about Cadeaux
Aktabantay out of Breeders' Cup
Tearless secures Good Friday ticket
Overnight stay for Johnson
Crawford banks on Izzini progress
Toast could make Spencer think
Road charts route to Royal riches
Grece excels at Saint-Cloud
Hawk given Greatwood option
Hannon: Early speed key for Osaila
30 October 2014Tearless takes Lingfield honours
Johnson taken to hospital
Royal summons for Apache
Bowe takes aim at WKD bullseye
Hootenanny 'smoking' for BC mission
Avenue roads lead to Newmarket
Shu to be kept busy
Scu sweet on Sensation Ascot raid
Murtagh succumbs to Cup charms
Dandino to stay in Australia
Glance denied Mackinnon defence
Bailey ace rules Supreme at Taunton
O'Brien hit by Magician blow
Diablo in big-race picture
Buckley raises Toast to Osborne
Pastille seeking four-timer
Conti all set for Charlie Hall
Barnes out to storm Saint-Cloud
Williams issues Buywise warning
Lynam reveals Slade stalls fears
29 October 2014Lame Magician out of Breeders' Cup
Diablo in big-race picture
Mullins enters strong Hennessy team
Damaged hock behind Estid reverse
Eckhart team rocked by injury blow
Hunt Ball makes Power play
Morgiana a T bone of contention
Kirby ponders Buttons French raid
Glance camp turn to Williams
Wohler trusts 'professional' Moore
Red alert to Cup challenge
Head targets more Mile glory
Mile hope Toronado in 'great form'
Telescope camp banking on Moore
Twiston-Davies link excites Moore
Flying third to Bob on hurdling bow
Harden to test top staying waters
Godolphin take share in Belardo
Mullins has big guns at Down Royal
Annacotty set for Kempton return
Powell and Bradley cleared
28 October 2014Fingal camp on weather watch
More injury woe for Popham
Dickin unveils Thomas gameplan
Power stalls in Flemington spin
Toast drawn nine in BC Classic
My Ambivalent passed fit by vets
Harry out to bring House down
Three and easy for ton-up Hanagan
Wood carves out Galway verdict
More Of That in Wetherby frame
Big guns confirmed for Charlie Hall
Byron pencilled in for Far East
Newbury reverts to original title
Magician to stay in the US
Henderson considers hurdles for Bob