Thyme Hill was a length and a quarter away in fourth after having to be switched.
It was a double for Townend after his win on Burning Victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Owner Rich Ricci said: “It was unbelievable, and I thought he was quite keen going round. Wow. He kept finding, I thought we were definitely beat in the last 100 yards. He has got a bit of class about him.
“He made a howler, but that was magic. He is definitely a chaser. We bought him as a Gold Cup horse. Hopefully fingers crossed he stays healthy and he can grow into one.”