Tote Win: £5.70 Tote Place: £1.90,1.30
Straight Forecast: £12.09 Exacta: £10.50
Jackpot: £10,785.50, Pool: £15190.89, 1.0 winning tickets
Placepot: £281.10, Pool: £102296.87, 265.59 winning tickets
Quadpot: £47.20, Pool: £9391.64, 147.0 winning tickets
NOLAND turned over his better fancied stablemate What A Dream to provide Paul Nicholls with his sixth victory in this race in a thrilling finish. Noland had proved very disappointing at Cheltenham in January on his first run over fences since December 2008 but jumped really well in the home straight to seal this victory from the frustrating What A Friend. He was always to the fore in the small field - and did lead on the far side when Fair Along lost his position after a couple of mistakes - but was travelling well within himself. He did make quite a bad mistake at the crossfence but was soon back on the bridle and had enough in hand to repel the late challenge of What A Friend and the renewed rally from Fair Along. He finished a little distressed but connections reported that he is still having problems with his wind despite an operation to rectify the matter and wearing a tongue tie. This was a fine and game performance and he could head for the totesport Bowl at Aintree. What A Friend had disappointed on his seasonal reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November but was reported to be in fine shape for this belated return to action. His attitude has been questioned in the past but connections felt that that was down to a problem with his wind but those doubts are sure to resurface after this display. He raced on and off the bridle at various stages and held his head awkwardly as Harry Skelton switched him first inside and then outside as he attempted to get a run out of the eight year old. He did close to the line having jumped the last but did not convince that he was really going through with his effort. Skelton reported that he hated the ground whilst Paul Nicholls is toying with fitting him with blinkers for the Gold Cup and that he could even line up in the Grand National. This was a typically game performance from Fair Along who has been campaigned over timber since 2008 although his jumping did let him down a little in the home straight where he lost vital ground at a couple of fences. Carronhills is well entered up and was entitled to need this run having been off the track since February 2009. Dance Island was quite well supported but found little in the straight having appeared to be travelling quite comfortably in behind the pace.