Tote Win: £10.60 Tote Place: £3.00,4.80,3.00
Straight Forecast: £133.64 Exacta: £129.40 Trifecta: £1,110.90 Swingers: 1&2:57.10 2&3:38.50 1&3:27.90
Jackpot: £7,219.24 carried forward to Market Rasen, 20th Feb
Placepot: £224.20, Pool: £115478.56, 375.88 winning tickets
Quadpot: £111.90, Pool: £5712.32, 37.75 winning tickets
A commanding performance from SILVER BY NATURE, as last-year's winner put in an improved showing to land this with hardly a moment's worry. The 6lb higher perch was no barrier, as held up just behind the leaders throughout, his jockey saved ground all the way round. He moved into third after the 14th fence, before taking the lead at the fourth last just after turning for home. He wasn't that great at the second from home but he was well in the clear by that point and proved his authority with a sterling jump at the final obstacle. He was generally halved in price for the Aintree spectacular, and whilst this race has not had a good recent record of pointing to the subsequent winner at Aintree (with the exception of Red Marauder in 2001 and Mon Mome in 2009), the feeling is that this trend could be bucked should the going turn soft. Whilst that might not be the likeliest of scenarios, if it were to occur, then his sound jumping would stand him in great stead. Ballyfitz is not always the most reliable of horses, but he put in a much improved effort in first-time blinkers. He was held-up in mid division for the majority of the race, the most patiently-ridden of the Nigel Twiston-Davies trio, but looked to be struggling when coming under pressure fairly early. However he answered all of his riders' urgings and after moving into third before the fourth-last, his chasing of the winner was ultimately in vain. Le Beau Bai did best of those coming from a long way off the pace, as his sketchy jumping didn't help his cause. Like Mobaasher, King Fontaine and Madison Du Berlais, he was shuffled back before half-way. However unlike those rivals, he stayed on really well for young Jake Greenall and may even have finished second were it not for a mistake at the second from home. He still ran on well to collar Carruthers for third, but never looked like picking up the top prize. Carruthers didn't deserve to finish out of the places, having made a lot of the running for his substitute pilot Matt O'Connor. He had Nicto De Beauchene for company early on, he continually out-jumped his rival before kicking on before the twelfth. He ultimately paid the price for his bold front-running display, as he was a tired horse turning in, but he's such a warrior that he still gave his all in the final 200 yards. These were the only four runners to finish, highlighting the gruelling nature of the race and the stamina-sapping ground. King Fontaine jumped poorly and was pulled-up after a bad mistake six out, West End Rocker made ground before the fifth last but weakened quickly in the home straight and was pulled-up before two out, whilst Mobaasher was never on a going day and was one of the first beaten; he might return to hurdles next time with more success. Jaunty Journey and stablemate Major Malarkey led the chasing group for a long way, but the former took a heavy fall three fences from home; he was beaten at the time but deserves plenty of credit for his effort. Sarde was towards the rear throughout and his jumping lacked fluency, whilst Madison Du Berlais looked dis-interested from an early stage and has surely now earned his retirement.