Magical Min takes Aintree win in stride
Min made the most of the absence of his nemesis Altior by showing his class with a brilliant all-the-way win in the JLT Chase at Aintree.
Willie Mullins' charge has been put in his place three times by Nicky Henderson's star, but finally enjoyed his day in the sun.
Beaten a neck by Politologue in this race 12 months ago, the eight-year-old took his revenge with a superb display in the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One, registered as the Melling Chase.
Min (2-1 favourite) was always travelling beautifully for Ruby Walsh and drew away in the closing stages to score by 20 lengths from Politologue.
"The change of tactics made the difference. We let him enjoy himself and Ruby said fence by fence he was enjoying it more and more," said Mullins. "I thought our horse was very good. Obviously he didn't have a hard race in Cheltenham.
"I think two and a half is his trip. I'm starting to wonder if he could go a bit further, but two and a half will be fine for the time being.
"People are saying could he get another few furlongs, which would put him in the picture for a race like the King George.
"Maybe that performance was a career-best. I think we'll go to Punchestown."
Cadmium (8-1) gave Mullins a double when taking to the National fences like a duck to water to win the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase in the hands of Paul Townend.
Mullins said: "That was impressive - impressive from horse and rider.
"The horse was in great form. Paul said he ran away with him on the way to the start and he just let him go on in front and he enjoyed his jumping. It was really, really impressive.
"I thought Paul was just letting the horse do what he wanted to do. He wasn't forcing the pace. I was just worried whether he'd stay, but he did."
The Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation was rewarded for his consistency with an emphatic victory in the Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase on his first try over three miles under rules.
Adopting waiting tactics, Robbie Power unleashed Lostintranslation (3-1) at the business end to score by six lengths from Topofthegame.
The Dorset handler said: "We wanted to save him until the end to beat Topofthegame for pace, that was our thinking.
"I don't normally get involved in any of the tactics. I really wanted to talk to Robbie about what he was going to do and he confirmed what I was thinking, which was absolutely lovely.
"We will be going down that route (Gold Cup). He is a staying chaser. We won't run him again this year, as we have done plenty with him. He is a dream horse."
Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy got off to a flying start with a double through Felix Desjy (7-2) and Three Musketeers (8-1).