Bristol gunning for £1m bonus after Haydock masterclass
Bristol De Mai was reported to be in rude health yesterday after Saturday's stunning display in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six-year-old claimed his third victory at the Merseyside venue with a remorseless front-running display, coming home 57 lengths clear of three-time hero Cue Card.
The victory capped a tremendous couple of days for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, with Delire D'Estruval also winning at Haydock, and Kildisart and Top Notch scoring at Ascot.
Anthony Bromley, racing manager for the pair, said: " It was great. I got the owners over as it was the plan from some way out to have runners on those two days and it's brilliant when it all comes together.
"Bristol De Mai is in great form out in the paddock, which is great to see. There will be horses that ran in that ground at Haydock that won't be moving so well.
"He had an interrupted preparation for the Gold Cup last season, so to see him come out of the race so well is a very good sign."
With Bristol De Mai now in contention for the Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown and a potential £1m bonus, the King George VI Chase is the next port of call.
He will face a different test in the Kempton feature, going the other way round on what will likely be a sounder surface, but Bromley is confident he can prove he is not just a Haydock specialist.
He added: "If the horse is in good form and sound then he'll go for the King George. He obviously handles heavy ground well, but it's now up to him to prove he can do it on better ground away from Haydock."
Top Notch was an impressive winner of Ascot's Christy 1965 Chase and also holds a King George entry, but Bromley said: "If Bristol De Mai runs in the King George, Top Notch will not. We may leave him in at the five-day stage just in case, but the owners don't want to run the two horses against each other, especially with the bonus in the offing."
Meanwhile, Philip Hobbs was at a loss to explain Defi Du Seuil's disappointing display in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.
The JP McManus-owned four-year-old enjoyed an unbeaten juvenile campaign last season, winning each of his seven races, including the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
He was a hot favourite to make a winning reappearance, but trailed home a well-beaten fourth behind Lil Rockerfeller.
Hobbs said: "He's perfectly all right. It was very disappointing and nothing's come to light afterwards."