West Country trainer Paul Nicholls could have found his next superstar after Politologue added his name to an illustrious roll of honour in the Betfair Tingle Creek at Sandown.
Having shown glimpses of his potential last season, the six-year-old finally came of age when providing the Ditcheat handler with his tenth success in the two-mile Grade One contest, joining the likes of Kauto Star and Master Minded in winning the Esher feature.
Jumping well throughout, the 7-2 shot put in a career-best effort to back up his victory on his seasonal return in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter when holding odds-on favourite Fox Norton at bay by half a length.
Nicholls said: “I was lucky to have all those good horses and they come around in cycles and you have to bring them along from the start. I am not saying he is as good as Master Minded yet, but he jumps well and has the same sort of attributes. He has class and at his age, he should just get better.
“I’m very lucky to have one like it again. He is a good one and it is great to be back there with a horse like this.
“I think he is a real two-miler – he has got speed and jumps. We will probably go to Ascot now for the Clarence House Chase at the end of January.”
There was a sad postscript to the race as the Tom George-trained Sir Valentino suffered a fatal fall at the last. The final race was delayed as every effort to save him was made.
Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: “It has been confirmed that Sir Valentino sadly died after a fall in the Tingle Creek.
“He was given every chance, but sadly it was not to be. He will probably have a post mortem into what the exact cause was.”