Tote Win: £5.40 Tote Place: £2.00,1.30,2.20
Straight Forecast: £21.48 Exacta: £15.50 Trifecta: £76.90 Swingers: 1&2:4.00 2&3:3.50 1&3:5.60
Jackpot: £24,218.66 carried forward to Aintree, 9th Apr
Placepot: £250.10, Pool: £442544.0, 1291.43 winning tickets
Quadpot: £36.50, Pool: £25851.0, 523.76 winning tickets
A commanding performance from MASTER MINDED who bounced back to form in some style. Mad Max, Albertas Run and French Opera were all keen to get on with the race, and as a result they probably cut each others throats somewhat. Ruby Walsh wasn't keen on getting involved in any of that nonsense, and he settled the winner into a good rhythm towards the rear of the midfield bunch. Jumping more fluently than at Cheltenham, he worked his way into the race and was still firmly on the bridle turning for home. Whilst Somersby, who had moved through to dispute the lead, was slow with a stumbling leap, the winner burst into the lead on the bridle. Steadied into the second last, before a solid jump at the last, and an effortless win was his. Visually, this was as impressive as his 2008 Champion Chase win, although that is wholly likely to be flattering. Objectively, the race fell into his lap slightly, but it was still some run; perhaps trainer Paul Nicholls may look back and wish he had gone for the Ryanair rather than the Champion Chase. The Ryanair winner Albertas Run ran his heart out in second, but he was well-beaten. He wasn't as electric over his fences as at Cheltenham, and was taken on more aggressively for the lead, all of which led to him expending too much energy. To his credit he battled back, having dropped to fourth turning in, and this was certainly not a disgraceful effort. Third home was Somersby; he had every chance, and actually poked his head in-front turning in, however his finishing effort was just one-paced. It's likely that he was teed up perfectly for Cheltenham, and as a result probably found this just one race too much. Tartak was next. He was ridden to dispute the lead going down the far side but always looked to be going a stride too quick for comfort; he wasn't especially fluent but it was still a likeable run. French Opera came next and paid the price for going off too hard; he is probably better over two miles, and seems to be just struggling to cope with the transition from cracking handicapper to top graded horse. Mad Max ran well; surprisingly this big horse seems to come alive at Aintree (perhaps it¿s the wide open space) but ultimately he tired late on and had to settle for sixth. Tranquil Sea didn't look like he was enjoying the ground and could muster no effort having come under pressure before two out, whilst Kalahari King was never going. Graham Lee was hard at work from a long way out and it was no surprise when he was pulled-up, having jumped poorly. Chaninbar refused to race for the second time in two days and is becoming a laughing stock; he shouldn't be allowed to line-up in future before proving he can actually start with other horses.