Granite rock-solid for De Bromhead
Henry de Bromhead may have found a successor to Sizing Europe, his veteran former Queen Mother Champion Chase hero, in Sizing Granite (9/2) after the seven-year-old claimed the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree.
Johnny Burke kept his mount on the speed throughout and quickly opened up a lead between the final two fences. Arkle Trophy runner-up God's Own gave favourite-backers hope with a strong finish, but Sizing Granite had enough in reserve to hold on.
Nichols Canyon (3-1 favourite) showed he was none the worse for his third place at Cheltenham with a convincing win in the World Famous JUST EAT Mersey Novices' Hurdle.
Whisper came back with a bang after having a torrid time this season when repeating last season's success in the Silver Cross Stayers' Hurdle at Aintree.
The seven-year-old finally rewarded connections to show he had got over a tough previous campaign that had ended with victory in this race.
Trainer Nicky Henderson knew from the start of this term that Whisper (5/1) was a shadow of himself. A spell novice chasing failed to rejuvenate him and connections just had to wait for the right signs.
Whisper showed he had turned the corner just before last month's Cheltenham Festival, where he was a respectable fifth to Cole Harden.
He took his revenge on that horse in no uncertain fashion, as Nico de Boinville brought him to challenge after the second-last. He soon forged clear and he kept on stoutly to win by three and-a-half lengths.
"He had some hard races last year from Ffos Las, Cheltenham and then here," said Henderson.
"We just had to sit and suffer and I knew weeks before Cheltenham he was starting to get there. Cheltenham, was going to come too soon, but we still had to get the run in. We'll just have to keep coming back here."
Boylesports slashed Whisper to 10-1 from 25-1 for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham next spring while BetVictor went 8-1 from 25s.
Duke Of Lucca (9-2) recorded back-to-back victories in the Betfred Handicap Chase.
Sunday Indo Sport