Paul Nicholls has taken Politologue's defeat at Ascot on the chin and will now prepare the grey for the defence of his Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase crown.

The Ditcheat handler was happy with the run of Politologue and just felt he was "beaten by a better horse on the day" when going down by seven lengths to First Flow in the Clarence House Chase.

John Hales’ 10-year-old will head straight to the Cheltenham Festival without another run.

"No excuses, he got beat by a better horse on the day. He ran a good, solid race, he galloped all the way to the line. I’m very happy with him," said Nicholls.

"He’s fine. All is well with him.

"He won’t run again before the Champion Chase."

Nicholls was delighted with the way Yala Enki overcame a bad mistake at the fourth-last fence to win the Portman Cup for the second year running at Taunton.

The 11-year-old had led to that point but lost the lead to If The Cap Fits, before he rallied in tremendous fashion for Bryony Frost to regain the advantage between the last two fences and score by five lengths.

"He did well to recover from his mistake. He galloped on strongly," said Nicholls.

"He’s fresh and well today. I’ve made no plans for him.

"Obviously it was nice race to win with him. He’s a proper horse."