Tote Win: £3.40 Tote Place: £1.60,9.80,2.70
Straight Forecast: £85.77 Exacta: £100.90 Trifecta: £1,315.60 Swingers: 1&2:79.50 2&3:59.10 1&3:4.10
Jackpot: £48,362.50, Pool: £68116.26, 1.0 winning tickets
Placepot: £268.60, Pool: £222021.02, 603.2 winning tickets
Quadpot: £29.40, Pool: £16978.21, 426.47 winning tickets
A performance that really put the cat amongst the pigeons, as GRANDS CRUS sauntered clear of a competitive field in effortless style. David Pipe's normally docile grey has a habit of being keen in his races but it doesn't seem to steal any petrol from the tank, and there are not many horses (if any) who could have shown the turn of foot turning for home that he did. Held up in the early stages, Tom Scudamore let him stride into midfield before the top of the hill although he probably pulled himself there as much as anything. As push came to shove for most of his rivals, he cruised alongside the front-running Knockara Beau at the second-last and from then on it was plain sailing. Runner-up Knockara Beau was given a good ride; his jockey Jan Faltejsek has attracted criticism for his rides on the horse over fences, but he committed his confirmed stayer into the lead on the final circuit and he battled on well after the final fight to keep second place. Challenging for that position was Restless Harry who had attracted support before the race, and always close to the gallop he is another who emerges with credit; a place in the World Hurdle is not a pipe-dream. Mobaasher ran well in fourth, staying on up the hill, but in truth he could have done with more horses ahead of him for longer. Always one who has enjoyed chasing a pack, the eight-year-old could probably have done with a strong pace in the middle section of the race. Bensalem is one to take out of the race, with Alan King's talented performer a very solid fifth. He travelled well for a long way, hugging the inside rail, but just seemed to be caught a bit flat-footed coming down the hill. Connections will be delighted with the way he kept on and he looks sure to strip a lot fitter for the run; better awaits at the Festival, whether over hurdles or fences. He was travelling well when falling in the William Hill Trophy 10 months ago and the corresponding race this year looks ideal if his trainer decides to send him back over the bigger obstacles. If, as suspected, he remains over hurdles, then a top four finish in the World Hurdle is unlikely to be beyond him.Sixth home was Arcalis; the 11-year-old never looked a real threat and is a little hard to place at this stage of his career. Mind you, he's been a great credit to the yard and has certainly earned his retirement when it comes. Fair Along, having nicked a lead at the start was pestered before the top of the hill as the field bunched alongside him, but he responded gamely and only gave ran out of steam late on. Spirit River was well-beaten; having fallen over fences on his last two runs, it was no real surprise to see Barry Geraghty take him wide for a good view of his hurdles. However he jumped sketchily throughout, and was beaten before the longer trip became an issue. Paul Nicholls' pair Organisateur and Gwanako ran contrasting races. Whilst the former lacked fluency throughout, the latter was in with a chance (of a place) for a long way and this was an encouraging run. One to note for the future is Cristal Bonus who was only having his second start in the UK and under the guidance of McCoy he ran an encouraging race over a new trip; he'll be more competitive when his sights are lowered. And so to the conclusion. Grands Crus is a massive, massive, massive danger to Big Buck's. Although this wasn't a stellar field, the authoritative nature of his win (never off the bridle) gave the impression that he possesses a better turn of foot than the reigning champ. Bookmakers accordingly have taken evasive action, with 4-1 immediately after the race soon snapped up. Finally a serious pretender to Big Buck's World Hurdle crown has emerged and it's all rather exciting.