Tote Win: £24.00 Tote Place: £4.50,2.40,2.20
Straight Forecast: £80.92 Exacta: £127.60 Trifecta: £331.80 Swingers: 1&2:13.20 2&3:4.60 1&3:22.20
Jackpot: £24,519.12 carried forward to Plumpton, 2nd Jan
Placepot: £156.20, Pool: £194585.1, 909.03 winning tickets
Quadpot: £27.00, Pool: £16151.34, 442.5 winning tickets
A tremendous finish to one of the most hotly-anticipated novice races of the season, although it's unlikely that many predicted the winner given the starting price of 16-1 for HELL'S BAY. Colin and Joe Tizzard had suffered a real body blow just 30 minutes previously after Joe Lively lost his life, however a small fillip emerged here in another potential star. Always travelling well in a race run at a strong tempo due to Have You Seen Me and Mr Thriller taking each other on in the early stages, the nine-year-old, the oldest in the race, was able to hit the front on the turn for home still travelling strongly. He had to dig deep to repel the rallying Medermit in the final furlong but on this evidence he becomes a major player for both the Jewson Novices Chase and the RSA Chase at the Festival in March. Having been picked up for a paltry £3,000 at the sales in August, the former Paul Nicholls-inmate is another fine example of the talented Colin Tizzard's wares. The runner-up emerges with great credit also; the first two were 22 lengths clear of the third home Reve De Sivola. Alan King's gelding was up in trip for the first time but he travelled well into contention, jumping economically and accurately, before just bumping into a better horse on the day; he has done his Festival claims no harm at all but which race he should go fo remains cloudy. Given the history of strong-stayer's winning the Arkle, that should still be the favoured route. Reve De Sivola was fairly prominent throughout but he seemed to get outpaced before just plodding on up the hill ahead of Have You Seen Me. The former seemed to jump better than when winning over the C+D last month, so the result is somewhat baffling. More likeable was the run of the fourth who helped set a strong pace, aided by some exuberant leaps. He evidently enjoys his racing and the way Mr Thriller weakened before the downhill run might suggest his run is even more meritorious. The last-named seemed to drop away quickly and may not have been 100% after a couple of slow leaps; he might just need softer ground and his sights lowering however. Master Of The Hall took a circuitous route throughout but held every chance when jumping to the front three fences from home. This was disappointing and he finished a tired, and well-beaten, horse. A place back Sway failed to see out her race and McCoy's quest to do 10st2lb was in vain, whilst Cois Farraig never got competitive.