Fakir D’oudairies finally landed the big pot his consistent efforts have deserved in recent seasons when bolting up in the Marsh Chase at Aintree.
Second in six Grade Ones throughout his career, including last time out in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, he was declared to run at Fairyhouse on Monday but pulled out on account of the quick ground.
Connections had been hoping for a softer surface on Merseyside – but the way he travelled and jumped on this occasion suggests there will be no worries in the future.
Master Tommytucker attempted to make all but, as is his wont, made several errors, including a spectacular one on the first circuit which saw Sam Twiston-Davies perform miracles to keep the partnership intact.
Heading to the third-last Politologue moved alongside his stablemate Master Tommytucker, with Nuts Well aiming to squeeze between the pair as Mark Walsh moved on the outside of all of them.
It got very tight with Nuts Well coming off worst, forcing Danny McMenamin to take a pull and by then his chance had gone.
Sent off the 2-1 favourite, Fakir D’oudairies shot clear to give Joseph O’Brien a notable win, with Nuts Well holding off Itchy Feet for second, 11 lengths away.
O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with his win. Mark gave him a great ride, he jumped great and got into a great rhythm today.
“He’s been a very consistent performer for us and deserves another Grade One.
“He’s been running against the best of the best and always runs his race. We’re very proud of his win today.
“He was to run at Fairyhouse on Monday. He was at the track and we weren’t happy with the ground. It’s a touch of luck we sent him to Aintree instead.
“We’ll have a look at Punchestown. We’ll see how he comes home first – it’s a decision for next week.
“We’ll get today out of the way and go from there.”
Walsh said: “He deserved his day in the sun. He’s been running great all season, so I’m delighted he got his head in front.
“He had a hard race at Cheltenham in the Ryanair, but Joseph had him in great shape and he’s done it well today.”
Following the race, the stewards looked into the incident that saw the interference, and deemed Politologue’s jockey Harry Cobden guilty of improper riding. He was suspended for eight days.
Cobden is currently third in the race to be champion jockey behind Brian Hughes and Harry Skelton, and his ban is set to begin on April 23, the penultimate day of the jumps season.
Paul Nicholls also reported that a post-race endoscopic examination of Politologue revealed the gelding had bled.