Cue Card claimed Grade One honours for a second time after a mistake at the penultimate fence cost Captain Chris any chance of landing the Betfair Ascot Chase.
The Colin Tizzard-trained winner was reckless himself on occasion, making a couple of errors over the extended distance of two miles and five furlongs. However, his boundless enthusiasm and the cruising speed that won him a Cheltenham Champion Bumper enabled him to stay in the hunt.
King George runner-up Captain Chris had drawn alongside by the home straight, but lost valuable ground when taking off too early at the second-last fence and the 15-8 favourite was able to finish six lengths clear of the 11-4 shot, with Ghizao (12-1) third.
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Cue Card's jockey, Tizzard's son Joe, believes the pair can head to the Cheltenham Festival full of confidence, the trainer hinting the horse would be likely to contest the Ryanair Chase unless red-hot favourite Sprinter Sacre failed to appear in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Tizzard snr said: "He's a very good horse. He ran well in the King George [fifth], but I wasn't sure he was quite himself that day, even though I couldn't find anything wrong.
"I expect we'll leave a decision [about Cheltenham] to nearer the time. If Sprinter Sacre wasn't in the Queen Mother, that would be very tempting, but if Sprinter Sacre's there on his A-game, I'd imagine we'll go the other way."
Richard Johnson said of Captain Chris: "He can be too brave sometimes, but he still ran well. Hopefully we'll get better ground at Cheltenham and I'd like to ride him in the Gold Cup."
Rocky Creek's season may have reached its pinnacle after he made fairly hard work of beating Houblon Des Obeaux in the Sodexo Prestige Reynoldstown Novices' Chase. Trainer Paul Nicholls may be cautious with the 8-13 favourite, who competed a hat-trick over fences in a Grade Two event marred by jumping errors from each of his four rivals.
Jockey Ruby Walsh said: "He's probably a better horse going the other way [left-handed]. He jumped a bit to the left and I was in front about an hour and a half too soon!"
Gary Moore was left reflecting on perhaps the greatest afternoon of his training career when the success of the reborn Vino Griego (11-4 favourite) in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase, was followed less than half an hour later by victory for the heavily backed Well Refreshed in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock.
Making it a family celebration, Moore's son Jamie was in the saddle on stable on stalwart Vino Griego while his younger brother and conditional jockey Joshua rode the biggest winner of his burgeoning career on Merseyside as Well Refreshed (9-2 favourite) beat Rigadin De Beauchene (6-1) by 10 lengths, with Welsh National hero Monbeg Dude (8-1) third.
Speaking from Ascot, Moore said of Well Refreshed's win: "It's not a huge surprise as we did think he had a great chance. You think you're dreaming sometimes and this is the best day I've had for ages, forever probably. This might be his last run of the season, as the ground will go against him."
Lucinda Russell's Silver By Nature, returning for his first race since being sidelined by a leg injury sustained in the 2011 Grand National, was pulled up in the Haydock race, which he had won twice in the past.