Danny Care showed again that he is determined to hang on to the England scrum-half jersey. With England's new attack coach, Brian Smith, looking on, the Yorkshireman scored a try and made two more as Harlequins brushed past Bristol.
Care, who is likely to face a challenge from Leicester's Harry Ellis when Martin Johnson comes to name his first England team for Nov-ember's autumn internationals, wrong-footed the Bristol defence after 12 minutes by taking a tap penalty in his own half. He then launched a deep kick and raced up to catch the Bristol full-back, Luke Arscott, before he could find support. Quins piled in, turned the ball over and moved it out for Jordan Turner-Hall to cross the line unopposed.
Twelve minutes later Arscott was caught again. This time he dithered instead of clearing a long kick from Mike Brown,and was scragged before Brown burst over for Quins' second try.
Waisale Luveniyali's poor form with the boot pre-vented the home side from going in with a command-ing lead. The Fijian fly-half was off-target with three straightforward penalty shots as well as seeing his conversion attempt rebound from the upright following Turner-Hall's try. Bristol's fly-half, Adrian Jarvis, a close-season signing from Quins, showed how it should be done to reduce the margin to 12-6 with two late first-half penalties.
In the second half, the home side were reduced to 14 men when the wing Ugo Monye was shown a yellow card for preventing Bristol from recycling the ballafter the centre Neil Brew's diagonal run from the halfway line. Luveniyali then failed with a 51st-minute penalty chance.
Bristol's hopes ended when their Wales lock Robert Sidoli was sent to the sin-bin for preventing Care from releasing. This time Quins made Luveniyali kick for touch, and from the line-out Care scampered over, leaving the fly-half a simple conversion.
The bonus point was secured six minutes later. Once again Care was the architect, scooping up a loose ball near the touchline to send Tom Guest on a run to the line.
Bristol cracked again in the 75th minute when Andy Gomarsall, on for Care, made a break and supplied the scoring pass forGonzalo Tiesi. Luveniyalilanded the final conversion before Bristol's David Lemi raced down the left for a solo score which was converted by Jarvis.
Harlequins: M Brown; D Strettle, G Tiesi, J Turner-Hall (E Taione, 72), U Monye;W Luveniyali, D Care (A Gomarsall, 72); C Jones (J Brooks, 72), T Fuga (G Botha, 60), A Ross, O Kohn (J Evans, 66), G Robson, C Robshaw, N Easter, W Skinner (capt).
Bristol: L Arscott; T Arscott, N Brew (G Barden, 69), K Maggs (E Barnes, 60), D Lemi; A Jarvis, H Thomas (G Beveridge, 66); A Irish (P Bracken, 62), S Linklater (D Blaney, 66), J Hobson, M Sambucetti, R Sidoli (A To'oala, 60), N Budgett, A Blowers (D Ward-Smith, 52), J El Abd (capt).
Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).