Ruby Walsh led his rivals a merry dance once again when making all the running on Min in the JLT Chase at Aintree.
Narrowly touched off in the race 12 months ago by Politologue, the first two filled the places in the Grade One feature again – but there was a 20-length turnaround in the result this time.
Walsh, just as he did on Kemboy in the Bowl 24 hours earlier, dictated the pace and the others were happy to file in behind.
Turning into the straight, Walsh got a breather into the 2-1 favourite, but after jumping the third-last he pressed the button and shot clear, ending the race – better known as the Melling Chase – as a contest.
Waiting Patiently could never quite get on terms and finished third, but in truth this was all about Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old.
Mullins said: “That was impressive – obviously the school around Cheltenham did him well!
“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.
“He’s turned the form around with Politologue from last year and John Hales (Politologue’s owner) just said we’ll have the decider next year.
“I thought our horse was very good today. 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.
“I think he’s back to himself and maybe that performance was a career-best.
“I think we’ll go to Punchestown.”
Paul Nicholls said of Politologue: “He has run a blinder and Min looked unbeatable there. He has beaten Waiting Patiently, which is red-hot form. He has had a bit of bleed there, so he won’t run again this season.
“We missed it this season, but I wouldn’t mind next season having another go at the Tingle Creek.”
Ruth Jefferson said of Waiting Patiently: “It wasn’t to be today. When he came to us he was quite a keen horse that did a lot in his races and he took quite a bit of settling. He settles away quite well now.
“We might change things next season. He has run all right, he has got round and finished third.
“We put the cheekpieces on and we always wait with him really. Whether we bury him in a little bit and get him in among horses and things. They get used to things and a change is sometimes necessary.
“Punchestown comes soon enough for him. He normally only runs three races a year, but he has done two and a half. We were considering Auteuil in May or June and it is possible.
“Although the season has maybe not gone quite how we hoped, there is no need to panic and run here there and everywhere. Sometimes it is better to just call it a day.”