Tote Win: £4.40 Tote Place: £1.90,1.80,1.70
Straight Forecast: £17.53 Exacta: £12.10 Trifecta: £42.90 Swingers: 1&2:2.20 2&3:3.10 1&3:4.10
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
This looked competitive beforehand, however it was run at a decent clip and the field soon started to sort itself out. Wishfull Thinking jumped so effortlessly for the first mile that he actually jumped himself to the front and Richard Johnson was content for him to kick on. He got a good breather into the horse before the top of the hill and had most of his rivals in trouble. However in behind Loosen My Load and NOBLE PRINCE were creeping closer along with Radium. Whilst the latter couldn't go with them, and Loosen My Load made a mistake at the third-last fence, Noble Prince was still tracking and stalking Wishfull Thinking. The last-named absolutely winged the last, and AP McCoy started to ride along, however Richard Johnson steadied his mount into the last. That proved costly, as his horse stuttered, made a mistake, and lost key momentum, as the winner jumped alongside and then quickened clear. It might not have been the difference between winning and losing, but there's no doubt that the finish would have been much closer. The winner was the second Montjeu of the week to win, and to his credit he jumped well, travelled well, and did everything asked of him. He may not be out of the top drawer but looks a feasible Ryanair contender if taking that route next season. In the meanwhile he seemed to relish this good ground and could easily be seen at Aintree, Punchestown or perhaps even both. Loosen My Load took third, and did well to do so after racing keenly for the first mile and then making that bad mistake four out; he loves this ground and is not far off the first two in terms of ability. Radium ran above expectations in fourth having travelled well, whilst Blazing Tempo tried to cling onto the leaders' coat tails coming down the hill. She ran a career best here despite getting weight from the boys. Mr Thriller was next, having travelled quite well in first-time blinkers. This was an improved run and he has plenty of ability, but placing him to good effect won't be easy. Mr Cracker was still on the scene at the top of the hill but he hit the 13th and the race then got away from him on ground that was too quick. He'll be much more of a force when he has his sights lowered; a smaller field and deeper ground would be best. Mr Gardner dropped back through the field before half-way and was pulled-up soon after, whilst Robinson Collonges was held-up, jumped poorly, and generally disappointed in a big way.