Tote Win: £6.20 Tote Place: £2.20,2.40,2.90
Straight Forecast: £46.39 Exacta: £32.30 Trifecta: £417.90 Swingers: 1&2:5.30 2&3:23.70 1&3:21.40
Jackpot: £157,074.84 carried forward to Cheltenham, 18th Mar
Placepot: £219.20, Pool: £902226.06, 3003.34 winning tickets
Quadpot: £25.60, Pool: £38127.21, 1101.17 winning tickets
Like Buena Vista in the previous race, we saw a repeat winner here as ALBERTAS RUN won the race for the second year in a row, becoming the first horse to do so in the race's short history. With the new rolling starts in place, AP McCoy was keen to get his mount into the front-rank and as the tapes fell he sent him into a narrow lead. Ridden into pretty much every single fence, he responded with one of the best rounds of jumping seen this Festival. With some of those in behind starting to struggle, and the decent pace that he was helping to set causing some jumping issues for his rivals, McCoy pushed him into a clear lead at the bottom of the hill. He kicked away from the chasing Rubi Light, Poquelin, J'y Vole and (amazingly) Voy Por Ustedes, but he needed a good jump at the last as the pack threatened to close in. He got it, boy did he get it, meeting the fence on as good a stride as you'll see and after a low fast jump he was always keeping Kalahari King at bay up the run-in. This was a great training performance from Jonjo O'Neill and a real example of jockey and horse in perfect harmony. The runner-up ran a blinder, coming from off the gallop. He hit the fourth from home quite hard, and although he was running on well, one always got the impression that he was forced to come from too far back. Rubi Light ran a career-best in third, rallying well once challenged for the places. A very sound jumper, Robbie Hennessy's six-year-old (the youngest in the field) was always on the speed and he looks a live contender if coming back here next year, especially if the ground were to ride softer. Poquelin, having been slow at a couple of fences as the race started to hot-up, rallied well for fourth. He ran nearly as well as last year, but probably below pre-race expectations. One of the stories of the race was Voy Por Ustedes, who was having his first start for Nicky Henderson having been put into retirement, and then brought back out. He jumped well, travelled well, and was still on the scene turning in. He evidently retains plenty of ability and will be no back number if he makes a quick reappearance at Aintree. J'y Vole was next, having failed to see out the race. Like last year she was going well turning in, but she was too keen for the first mile and it certainly took its toll. Tartak made a bad mistake four from home which scuppered any chance of a place that he had, whilst Gauvain was another whose jumping was below par; he was beaten too early for the longer trip to be the cause.