Tote Win: £17.80 Tote Place: £3.20,2.70,8.50,8.70
Straight Forecast: £177.61 Exacta: £185.50 Trifecta: £5,309.20 Swingers: 1&2:45.70 2&3:106.90 1&3:207.30
Jackpot: £74,164.61 carried forward to Cheltenham, 17th Mar
Placepot: £933.20, Pool: £918439.44, 718.42 winning tickets
Quadpot: £211.90, Pool: £38065.53, 132.92 winning tickets
A procession from a horse trained to the minute for this race, as CARLITO BRIGANTE spread-eagled the field. Dantari set off like a scolded cat in-front, soon opening up a clear lead, with only For Non Stop prepared to even remotely chase him. He in turn was clear from a chasing pack, which was led by Bothy and the eventual winner. Apart from Pistolet Noir being a bit sloppy over the hurdle in front of the stands, the early stages of the race were pretty unremarkable. The race started to hot up at the top of the hill as For Non Stop jumped past the faltering Dantari, and Nick Williams' charge was still on the bridle as they ran down the hill. However just in-behind him Davy Russell was sitting quiet on Carlito Brigante, with the pair skipping away from the chasing pack. The pair jumped the second-last level, but whilst For Non Stop came off the bridle, his rival was still cruising. Coming to the last, and the winner made quite a serious error, however whilst he managed to recover, his rival seemed to take his eye off the ball and clattered through the flight. He wasn't so lucky and took a heavy fall, with his jockey doing well to avoid the hooves of those filing in behind. The winner was clear, sauntering effortlessly up the hill, and he was evidently a stone ahead of the handicapper; he also seemed to relish the longer trip. Bothy stayed on for second place and seemed to cope with the trip ok. This was a fine effort considering he arguably needs softer ground, whilst Orsippus started to make up some ground before the fourth-last but couldn't cope with the acceleration of the winner. Battle Group, not always the most willing, ran on for fourth having been outpaced, whilst there was an encouraging effort from Solix in fifth. He had to make up quite a bit of ground from off the pace, and whilst he's probably a little high in the handicap, this classy French recruit will be a force when tackling fences over this sort of trip in the future. He also had to avoid the stricken For Non Stop after the last flight which halted his momentum; but for that he might have finished fourth. Considering the strong pace he set, the performance of Dantari in sixth was more than meritorious, whilst Walkon and Arcalis, a couple of greys, were both outpaced but ran on fairly well. Pistolet Noir is a chaser in the making really, and, after having his problems, this was probably a fine run back in ninth. Favourite Call The Police was held-up but made little impression when asked to chase the leaders on the swing for home and he was ultimately well-held; softer ground may suit more. Aegean Dawn, after an interrupted preparation and a hike in the weights, never looked like featuring although it should be said that his jockey doing a good impression of Christophe Pieux, and giving the outside to no-one, would hardly have helped his chance.