Thistlecrack cemented his place as one of the finest staying hurdlers in recent memory, as the Colin Tizzard-trained superstar eased to a facile victory in the Ryanair World Hurdle, as he ground his rivals into submission in a stunning performance full of class for ecstatic jockey Tom Scudamore, who was motionless throughout.
Sent off a red-hot Evens favourite, the eight-year-old, who has been a cut above his rivals in the staying hurdle division this term, never looked in danger as he breezed to the front, and having turned for home in front he eased clear of Alpha Des Obeaux to land the prize with limited fuss.
2015 winner Cole Harden aimed to emulate his success of 12 months by leading from the front, but he was struggling to maintain the gallop as they got to the business end of the race, and while Bryan Cooper on board Alpha Des Obeaux and Scudamore on Thistlecrack eased to the front, it was about that pair.
However, Scudamore was possessed with a lot more below him, and he opened a little bit of rein and Thistlecrack exploded clear to land the Grade 1 staying hurdling prize, as Alpha Des Obeaux plugged on for second, with three-times Cheltenham Festival winner Bobs Worth finishing third.
15:30 Ryanair World Hurdle (Grade 1) 1.Thistlecrack - C Tizzard - T Scudamore - EvensF 2.Alpha Des Obeaux - M Morris - B Cooper - 8/1 3.Bobs Worth - N Henderson - D Bass - 33/1 14 Ran