Tote Win: £69.40 Tote Place: £9.20,9.20,4.60,2.80
Straight Forecast: £1,354.15 Exacta: £6,245.40 Swingers: 1&2:215.60 2&3:575.00 1&3:90.80
Jackpot: £251,836.38 carried forward to Uttoxeter, 19th Mar
Placepot: £4,332.10, Pool: £969985.4, 163.45 winning tickets
Quadpot: £530.70, Pool: £45633.74, 63.62 winning tickets
A turn-up for the books, as OISEAU DE NUIT, pulled up in the race last year off the same mark, won the week's finale almost at a canter. He had been taking on classier opposition of late, but the key to this win was probably the frantic pace set by Tanks For That and Fiendish Flame. Whilst the former did ever so well to still be in the front-rank turning for home, the feeling is that they went too quick which really suited the winner who got a lovely lead into the race. He crept closer before the top of the hill, jumped well throughout, and was nicely produced two fences from home to take up the running. He idled a little in the final 50 yards but the race was already in the bag by that point. No doubt he'll have to go up in the weights for this, which will probably scupper his chance of winning for the next year, however connections probably won't give one iota. Runner-up Askthemaster was never too far off the pace and the 11-year-old ran well in second; a mistake at the fourth from home stopped his momentum slightly but he had every chance really. Leo's Lucky Star did best of those to come from a long way back. He made eye-catching headway on the inside coming down the hill, and then threatened to rattle home up the hill. Ultimately his momentum was culled after he was iffy at the last, and he faced an impossible task to pick up the winner. Fourth home was the well-fancied De Boitron. He was held up a long way off the pace, but crept into the race before four out. He had every chance turning in but he changed his legs before the second-last fence, and he was probably finding things happening just a tad too quick to be at his best. The fact he ran on well after the last suggests he can still win off this mark when the cards fall absolutely right. Quito Du Tresor survived a mistake at the second and he ran well in fifth, just ahead of Anquetta. He travelled well in behind the leaders and tried to lay it down to Tanks For That down the hill, for which he probably paid the price. I'msingingtheblues was an ante-post gamble for the race but his jumping was as erratic as usual, whilst Pepe Simo was another who found his momentum checked by jumping errors. Last-year's winner Pigeon Island was always struggling off the pace, but he made some late headway. The ground will have been too quick for him here, and he may not be done with just yet when he gets his ideal conditions. Shoreacres jumped out to his right at the water and never looked like featuring, whilst Oh Crick and Keki Buku were always struggling. As a footnote, the starting of races at the Festival needs addressing. The move has been to introduce a roiling start as the horses mill out onto the track, however the starter has almost appeared powerless as horses sprint onto the track before others haven't even exited the holding area. The start of this race was marred by Chaninbar refusing to race (as he has before), however he was hardly given a fair crack of the whip, along with a host of others who were at the back of this awful staggered start.