Clarcam comes good at Aintree
Clarcam left his below-par performance in the Arkle at Cheltenham behind when running out an impressive winner of the One Magnificent City Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree.
Sent into the lead by Ruby Walsh after the fourth fence, the Gordon Elliott-trained five-year-old put in a foot-perfect round of jumping in the two-and-a-half-mile contest.
Favourite Josses Hill tried to match Clarcam, but did his chances no good by continually jumping right and was soon beaten off after the second-last.
On the run down to the final fence, the strong-travelling Vibrato Valtat emerged as a serious threat, but the 5-1 winner found plenty when called on for on a maximum effort, and another bold jump at the last put the race to bed as he eventually scored by four lengths from the Paul Nicholls-trained runner.
Walsh said: "They went a bit quick for him at Cheltenham and took him off his feet - this trip was better.
"He travelled well and jumped super and he appreciated the good ground, too."
Elliott said: "He never took hold of the bridle at Cheltenham. Even on the morning of the race we were worried. He was just very dead in himself. We thought we'd be placed, but we could have pulled up after two fences. It might have been a good thing as he hadn't a hard race.
"He just had an off-day and he's shown a lot more sparkle here and Ruby gave him a great ride. It's unlucky Bryan (Cooper) is suspended.
"It's got the meeting off to a great start and we're very happy.
"I'd never say definitely, but I wouldn't think he'll go to Punchestown.
"He'll go out in the field now and enjoy his holiday. It's all about winning Grade Ones, so that is great.
"The way he travelled today we certainly wouldn't be going back to two miles with him. We'll be staying at this trip or going further."
Dan Downie, racing manager for Vibrato Valtat's owners the Axom syndicate, said: "We're very happy with him. We were keen after the Arkle not to run after the lead and give him a hard race.
"He jumped well again and the trip was no problem. He looked to be travelling really well, but then Ruby just kicked on again.
"Whether we'll run him again (this season) or not, I'm not sure.
"The Celebration Chase at the end of the month could be something we might look at."
A switch back to the Flat could be on the agenda for Taglietelle after completing a fine afternoon for Elliott when getting the better of a thrilling finish in the Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle.
Plenty held chances over the final flight of the extended three-mile Grade Three event, but it was to be the 7-1 shot who prevailed when showing a willing resolve under Paul Carberry to floor favourite Call The Cops by a head.
Elliott said: "I'd say he only just gets the trip, but he was given a great ride by Paul and we're delighted. We were worried about him going up 5lb for the last day, but it's worked out.
"We had a great day at Cheltenham and a great day today. We might get him ready for something at Royal Ascot."