Connections hailed the display of Identity Thief after he stepped up in trip to land the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at Aintree.
The eight-year-old had never before raced beyond two and a half miles but was sent out over three miles on Merseyside.
Hopes were high that he could cope, with Henry de Bromhead's charge a Grade One winner over two miles having landed the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle back in 2015.
And confidence was well founded as the horse that finished fourth in last month's Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham landed the spoils at 14/1 on Saturday.
Favourite Sam Spinner led round the home turn but both Identity Thief and Wholestone went past before the former moved five lengths clear.
De Bromhead was a happy man and admitted to a tinge of surprise as well.
"I'm delighted. You dream, but I wasn't expecting that," he said. "You have to stay, but we just didn't know if he would or not. It was Sean's plan as he said he would love to go three miles. We said we would leave it to him how he wanted to ride him and fair play to Sean.
"We came here for the two-and-a-half (Aintree Hurdle) last year and we rode him positively and he was disappointing on the day.
"The way he ran in the Champion Hurdle, he stopped at halfway and ran on really well again at the end. We hoped the big step up would suit and it's fantastic."
Article Posted on Saturday 14th April 2018 @ 19.19
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