Captain Chris stayed on strongest of all to claim the Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham on Tuesday afternoon.
Finian’s Rainbow had made the running and looked a likely winner when kicking clear off the home bend. At one point Ghizao had looked the main danger, but Richard Johnson was always getting a response from Captain Chris and in the end stamina won the day.
The Philip Hobbs trained horse took it up jumping the last and stayed on stoutly all the ways up the run in. At the finish he had two and three quarter lengths to spare over Finians Rainbow.
Irish raider Realt Dubh was six lengths back in third while favourite Medermit was a onepaced fourth.
Johnson said: “He’s quite inexperienced and the first run of his life was only just over a year ago, but he’s improved all the time and this better ground was definitely a big help.
“He’s such a trier as well and it was great of the owners to run him in this as they could have gone for the easier race (Jewson Novices’ Chase).
“He’d done nothing wrong and every race he’s run in has been a high-class race. It’s beautiful ground out there and they’ve done a great job.”
Hobbs said: “We’ve got it right now anyway! We’ve always thought he wanted two and a half miles and, to be fair, I still think he does.
“He was at work quite a long way from home but his jumping was mustard. He was a little bit right-handed, he’ll always do that.”