Coole Cody was the star of the show at Cheltenham on Saturday as he ran the opposition ragged to win the ultra-competitive Paddy Power Gold Cup.
The Evan Williams-trained nine-year-old kept pulling out more to ward off all-comers and land the prestigious handicap chase in determined fashion, opening up a 10-length lead at one point before finally repelling Spiritofthegames by three and a quarter lengths.
Williams said: "They are very hard races to win and we are usually second, third and fourth in all these big races - we have been second, third and fourth in them all! But if you keep trying, you'll get there in the end.
"We got lucky with a few loose horses at the right time and he just kept him going. It was a bit rough and ready out there, but it's not a beauty contest. You saw him nearly fall in front of the stands. He was down, but that probably just woke him up.
"If he could do things the hard way all the time, he would do it the hard way. If he wanted to do it an easier way he could, but if there were two directions, he would always choose the hard way.
"If he could go to the pub and have a fight he would prefer to do that rather than sit in front of a fire with his slippers. It doesn't matter what we do now, as he has won a Paddy Power. I don't care what he does from now on."
Duffle Coat extended his unbeaten record with a tenacious last-to-first success in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle, while On The Blind Side made a successful return to the smaller obstacles to land the Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle, after running over fences and in a jumpers' bumper.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said: "He has been a great servant. He has been the most lovely horse all along, but he just got high in the weights. He just does love to have plenty of space. That's where it is difficult over fences in those big fields. He doesn't like getting crowded too much."
Colin Tizzard had two promising chasers in action with Eldorado Allen triumphing in Saturday's From The Horse's Mouth Podcast Novices' Chase, while The Big Breakaway made a splash in Sunday's mallardjewellers.com Novices' Chase.
Tizzard said of Eldorado Allen: "He is the best two-miler we've had on hurdles form going over fences. He has taken to his fences well. We shall campaign with Cheltenham in mind, that's for sure. He will want a race in a month's time as we can wait until the spring.
"I would have thought so (Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown as his next option), if that is the next one."
The Big Breakaway put in a foot-perfect performance and Joe Tizzard added: "That would seem the obvious target in my mind (Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton). We will have a look at the calendar and think about it.
"It's five or six weeks away and it seems to tie in perfectly. He probably wants a couple of runs between now and the Festival to make sure it doesn't happen too easily."
Put The Kettle On impressed as she made it three from three at Cheltenham in the Shloer Chase, while Robbie Power was rewarded for getting down to 10st as The Shunter landed the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle.
Abacadabras headlined a good afternoon at Punchestown for Gordon Elliott, lifting the Grade One Unibet Morgiana Hurdle in a tight finish.
Elliott said: "It was a good performance and he'd be better suited by a strongly-run race on better ground and produced later. Jack (Kennedy) had to go on when he did.
"The logical next race is Leopardstown at Christmas."
Elliott also took Grade Two gold with Fury Road in the Unibet 1000th Race Celebration Hurdle and Pencilfulloflead in the Liam & Valerie Brennan Florida Pearl Novice Chase, with Hollow Games making it a four-timer in the closing bumper.