Lostintranslation (5-4 joint favourite) announced himself as the rising star of the jumps game with a superb victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.
Colin Tizzard’s seven-year-old, under Robbie Power, denied the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai a hat-trick of wins in the Grade One feature on Merseyside and set himself up for a crack at his own treble this season.
Having showed he can cut it with the big boys he is now be on course for the Jockey Club Racecourses’ Chase Triple Crown and the £1million bonus if he can follow this lHaydock victory with similar ones in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival in March.
Bristol De Mai – unbeaten in four starts at Haydock – set out to try and make all in his bid for a third win in the Betfair. But jockey Power had Lostintranslation switched off at the back of the four runners.
When he asked the seven-year-old – who had been an impressive winner of the Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree Racecourse‘s Randox Health Grand National meeting back in April – to make his challenge he came up alongside Bristol De Mai.
The duo battled in the home straight and although doubts had been voiced about Lostintranslation’s stamina, he stayed on strongly to beat his fellow 5-4 favourite by a length and a half. Last year’s Ryanair Chase hero Frodon was 23 lengths back in third with Bristol De Mai’s stable-mate Ballyoptic 17 lengths adrift as the last of the four runners.
With his stamina now assured he will head to the King George on Boxing Day vying for favouritism at 5-2 with some firms with Boylesports offering the best price of 9-2 immediately after his victory.
Paul Nicholls’ Cyrname, who beat Altior at Ascot earlier in the afternoon, is the favourite with many, but Lostintranslation looks to hold a fine chance of victory before trying to strike Gold at Cheltenham in March. He is a best-priced 5-1 with several firms for the Gold Cup.
Tizzard, who has had some fine staying chasers in recent years including Cue Card – who won the Betfair Chase three times and Gold Cup hero Native River, believes his latest star is a better jumper than all of them.
And he will head to Kempton with great confidence.
Tizzard said: “I’ve never had one jump better than this fella. He’s just a lovely horse and we make sure we look after him as they don’t come along very often.
“He’s immaculate at his fences – he makes the right shape. He just got in tight to the second last and was in a heap. Bristol De Mai might have even headed him. We didn’t know what he was going to find, but he kept going right to the line.
“He stays well and has got the pace for two miles. He’s got everything in front of him.”
He added: “The plan at the start of the season was to have a prep race, then come for this and to have a go at the £1million bonus, so he’ll go for the King George next. Whether we need to run him between the King George and Cheltenham, we don’t know yet – we want to go for the Gold Cup.
“Kempton is the plan, definitely – it may suit him more. He’s won here today and done it well against Bristol De Mai. It’s only two years ago he beat Cue Card by 57 lengths, so this is his track.
“Our horse has got the pace and he can jump and we’ve seen today he can grind it out on good to soft ground – this horse has got everything.”
Winning jockey Power aid: “It’s no secret how much we thought of this horse. Today was D-Day – he was stepping into the big boys’ league.
“They don’t come much bigger than Bristol De Mai round Haydock, so we were going to find out plenty about his Gold Cup credentials. The horse has done the talking and has answered them all.
“I couldn’t believe how well he was travelling. He was in his comfort zone the whole way. He’s had a tough race, but it’s six weeks to the King George which is probably ideal. He’ll be freshened up and he’s only seven, so roll on Kempton.
“Sizing John was a good jumper. They don’t come better than him, but this horse has a lot of similarities in that he jumps well and has a great cruising speed.
“Those are the two main attributes you need for a Gold Cup contender.”
With no £1m bonus to shoot at this time, trainer Twiston-Davies won’t be sending Bristol De Mai to Kempton where he fell last year. He will probably be geared at returning to Cheltenham in the spring, where he finished third to Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup back in March.
He said: “The weather has done for us. Things weren’t there to suit us today.
“Having not won this, we’ll probably not go to Kempton.
“This is quite a fast track now on good ground today. We’ll probably leave Kempton. We haven’t got the £1million to collect. I don’t know. We’ll talk to the owners.”
Twiston-Davies had been in the winner’s enclosure at Haydock earlier in the day and he is looking to Aintree and the Grand National with Crievehill (4-1) after a fine victory, under the trainer’s son Sam, in the Cashout In-Play With Betfair Handicap Chase.
The Naunton handler is adept over the Grand National fences having won the big one twice with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002) as well as being on the trainer to have won all five races over the big obstacles.
And following Crievehill’s 10-length victory Sharp Response (12-1) – Bob Mahler (20-1) was a further five lengths back in third – Twiston-Davies is eyeing a crack at the Grand National long-term. The Coral Welsh National over Christmas is also a possible next big target for the seven-year-old.
The trainer said: “He is improving. He is getting better with age. He is by Arcadia and they seem to get better with age.
“Our dream one day is that he is a (Grand) National horse and they way he jumps maybe he is.
“I don’t know if that is this season, we will have to have a talk with everybody. But he is rated high enough.
“He is in the Welsh National as well but whether that will be too much for him I don’t know. It might be a bit of a slog but we will see.”