Tote Win: £3.90 Tote Place: £2.40,3.90
Straight Forecast: £15.10 Exacta: £18.30 Swingers: 1&2:1.90 2&3:2.90 1&3:1.60
Jackpot: £15,068.18 carried forward to Fontwell Park, 27th Feb
Placepot: £274.10, Pool: £162742.52, 433.38 winning tickets
Quadpot: £134.10, Pool: £9556.43, 52.7 winning tickets
SIRE DE GRUGY had made his debut in the Sandown bumper won by his well-regarded stablemate Megastar 12 months ago; he could only finish second but the winner, Knights Pass, is ante-post favourite for Cheltenham. He had bumped into Bobs Worth on his hurdling debut and shaped encouragingly before gaining experience at a modest level where he had brushed aside the opposition. He raced a little too keenly early on but quickened impressively to finish the race full of running and ran out a most commanding winner. Gary Moore felt that the race had fallen into his lap and that the soft ground was important but was perhaps just playing down expectations as this was a very likeable performance from a promising young horse who should make a chaser. Empire Levant had been well backed to win a juvenile hurdle at Newbury on debut before winning at Doncaster; he had pulled too hard on that occasion but settled really well here and made smooth progress into a challenging position. This was an encouraging run on ground that would have been soft enough and he could be the type to make his mark at Aintree where he heads next. Celtus had been well backed throughout the day and travelled like a good horse before appearing to blow up and he finished quite tired. He can do better with this run behind him, has plenty of experience in France, three options at Cheltenham and is worth keeping onside. The vibes had been negative surrounding Toubab going into the race and he was very easy to back and was quickly beaten after the second of two quite serious mistakes having been too free early. It was felt that the ground was to blame for his poor run in the Tolworth prior to this but that form had already taken a couple of knocks before this performance and he now has something to prove.