Tote Win: £6.40 Tote Place: £1.70,1.60,5.10
Straight Forecast: £83.51 Exacta: £61.30 Swingers: 1&2:8.80 2&3:14.80 1&3:11.60
Jackpot: £51,249.30 carried forward to Wincanton, 8th Apr
Placepot: £574.00, Pool: £451565.6, 574.29 winning tickets
Quadpot: £258.10, Pool: £18700.68, 53.6 winning tickets
Another winner for Nicky Henderson - although perhaps not the most expected - as OSCAR WHISKY reversed Cheltenham form with Peddlers Cross. The winner was given a great ride by Barry Geraghty, as having hunted up the leader Celestial Halo in the first mile, he then strode through to take up the running going down the far side. His horse was so quick at his hurdles that he jumped through to lead, and he was able to try and get the field on the stretch before the turn for home. Geraghty kicked before two out, and his willing partner kept galloping. He was good at the last, and although he got a little lonely late on, he had built up enough of a lead to be able to hold on from the fast finishing Thousand Stars. Just. The winner has been a revelation this season, winning his main aim, the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, and then filling third in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Although he seems to relish racing at any venue, his form on flat tracks is top, top drawer. Connections must be delighted that they didn't waste a run in the World Hurdle against Big Buck's; if they want to go that route, then this strong-stayer still has time to step up in trip in the coming two seasons. The runner-up ran a stormer. Held up off the pace, he was still on the bridle turning in. From there things didn't exactly go to plan, as jockey Katie Walsh had to wait for a run between runners. Once the horse got daylight, he really picked up well, and in five more strides would have won. Whether Walsh should have gone for home earlier is questionable - the horse only seems to have one sustained run and committing for home any earlier may have meant the same result regardless. Incidentally Walsh picked up a six day ban for excessive use of the whip. Third home, and some way back, was Salden Licht. This was a career-best by a fair way, and he seemed to really revel in the strong tempo set by Celestial Halo and Oscar Whisky, and was still on the scene before the turn for home. He was just tapped for toe when the winner kicked, but he battled well to hold on for third from Binocular and Oscar Dan Dan. Binocular looked like he didn't stay. He hurdled as well as ever (as did most of the field - surely the best group of jumpers seen for a while) and was on the heels of the chasing pack turning in. AP McCoy looked to be tracking Peddlers Cross, but perhaps that wasn't the place to be as Donald McCain's runner started to falter before the turn for home. However Binocular was pulled to the stands side off the final bend and was still close enough to the leaders with two to jump. However his effort flattened out when McCoy got after him, and he was eventually well-held. He will have been trained for Cheltenham, so whilst he didn't run there, he may not have been at his peak today. However watching Nicky Henderson's face as the race finished, it's fair to assume that he expected Binocular to perform an awful lot better. Oscar Dan Dan was the lowest rated in the field, but was far from disgraced in fourth. He was outpaced before three from home but rallied well and was doing his best work in the final furlong. Ronaldo Des Mottes was next, and he wasn't exactly fluent at the third last or final flight, whilst Celestial Halo dropped out quite tamely having been headed on the far side. The race was anticipated to be a Peddlers Cross v Binocular match-up but the former was a huge disappointment. He was niggled along before the swing into the finishing straight, and the response after was (for him at least) negligible. He tried to press for second before the third last, but was well-held when he made a tired mistake at the last; this was the run of a horse who had had a hard race at Cheltenham, and although he completed the double last season, it is unlikely that he will attempt the same in 12 months time.