Might Bite stamped his class on the Betway Bowl with a comfortable victory at Aintree.
Nicky Henderson had been agonising over whether to run the nine-year-old after his epic battle with Native River in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, yet he need not have worried.
Bristol De Mai, having his first run since a wind operation, tried to take the sting out of the King George winner and made the running under Daryl Jacob.
Stepping up the pace on the second circuit, only Clan Des Obeaux could keep in touch with the big two, and only then at a respectable distance.
Briefly Might Bite supporters had a little panic with a mistake at the fourth-last, but he was quickly back on the bridle for Nico de Boinville
By the time the front two set down for a battle, Might Bite was going much the better and the 4-5 favourite won by seven lengths, with Clan Des Obeaux just over three lengths back in third.
De Boinville said: “He’s a magnificent animal and a joy to ride. He jumped with real panache and gusto.
“The ground is on the soft side and he really does feel that. He’s one who will actually die for you. I’m privileged to ride him.”
Henderson said: “That was as good a round of jumping as you’ll ever see. He was just on it the whole way – he was doing crazy things.
“The horse was just enjoying himself. He’s been telling us he’s right, but you just can’t tell until you run them how much they have left in the Cotswolds (Cheltenham).
“That’s obviously it for this season. We’ll be a bit braver next year, though, and we might have a crack at the Betfair (Chase, Haydock).
“To defend the King George is the obvious one, but if the ground is reasonable we will think about starting in the Betfair on the way to the King George.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies said of Bristol De Mai, who won this season’s Betfair Chase is spectacular fashion but did not run at Cheltenham: “We’ve finally discovered we are not as good as the top one.
“He is very good, but we want to win. We will be back for the Charlie Hall and Betfair and those sort of things next season.
“Everything was right today, there were no excuses. I thought we might have beaten him and I thought we had, but we didn’t.
“Well done them, they have the better horse. If we have the third best chaser in him, that’s not bad. I’m sure there is another good one in him.”