Tote Win: £3.80 Tote Place: £1.50,1.20,2.20
Straight Forecast: £8.15 Exacta: £8.00 Swingers: 1&2:1.70 2&3:3.40 1&3:3.60
Jackpot: £3,934.33 carried forward to Taunton, 30th Dec, 0.5 winning tickets
Placepot: £74.60, Pool: £108288.43, 1058.58 winning tickets
Quadpot: £54.10, Pool: £5376.05, 73.44 winning tickets
GHIZAO produced an authoritative display in thick fog to leap to the head of the Arkle market when readily pulling clear of Captain Chris and Surfing in a race that stablemate Kauto Star won in 2004. Ghizao had been well held on his seasonal return but improved markedly on that performance when returning to Cheltenham last time and confirmed himself down as one of the leading contenders for the Festival heat although it must be noted that Timmy Murphy was hardly bullish about his chances in that race in the immediate aftermath of his previous success as he believed the gelding would need testing conditions. The ground was certainly on the testing side here and the gelding ran on strongly from the last once the field came into view; Murphy reported that he had jumped well but made hard work of it and was better than he was able to show having missed some work due to the inclement weather. Captain Chris had a handy swing at the weights with the winner from Cheltenham and had since had a minor wind operation but was readily put in his place once again although it's worth noting that he had burst onto the scene on good spring ground last season. He had pulled himself to the front with a circuit to go and connections will be pleased with the way that he rallied to regain second from Surfing in the run to the line and he still has more to offer. Surfing was having his first start since arriving from France with a big reputation and ran well enough on his first run for Nicky Henderson; he appeared to jump well enough in the main and it will be interesting to see if he can improve from this. After the departure of Dee Ee Williams, who was close enough when unseating, Balzaccio was the only one to go with the principals and he has now run three solid races over fences and will be of interest when switched to handicaps.