Thistlecrack romps home in Slayers' Hurdle at Aintree
Thistlecrack ground his rivals into submission to further bolster his position at the head of the staying division with a facile success in the Liverpool Stayers' Hurdle at Aintree.
In a change from his usual patient tactics, the 2-7 favourite was sent straight into the lead as soon as the tapes went up by Tom Scudamore in order to ensure the race was not run at a crawl.
Bowling along at the head of affairs, the Colin Tizzard-trained eight-year-old never looked under any threat during the Grade One prize, with Scudamore sitting motionless throughout.
As Different Gravey began to struggle on the run down to the final three hurdles, both Shaneshill and Prince Of Scars moved through from the rear of the field to lay down an effort.
Despite trying their best it was simply not good enough, with Scudamore even able to steal a glance back at his toiling rivals over the penultimate flight.
Skipping over the last as easily as the first, Thistlecrack cleared right away to score by seven lengths from Shaneshill and add to his victory in last month's World Hurdle.
Scudamore said: "What a wonderful racehorse. I said to Colin beforehand I didn't want it to be a falsely-run race and when they were all walking round at the start I decided we'd be masters of our own destiny.
"My job was just to sit and steer and give him a kick in the belly at the right time. I've been lucky to ride against some wonderful racehorses, but he's definitely the best I've ever ridden and, to be honest, on these sort of performances he's as good as anything I've ever seen.
"It's just effortless. There's a long run from the last hurdle down the back to turning in, I could hear them all rowing away in behind and I'm just sitting on my lad with loads left."