Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££3.10,£1.60
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£2.50 2&3:£1.80 1&3:£6.90
Placepot: £170.40, Pool: £90728.98, 388.56 winning tickets
Quadpot: £19.70, Pool: £6179.74, 231.02 winning tickets
A race that lost a little of its interest with the late defection of last year's Hennessy winner Diamond Harry due to lameness having become cast in his box. However, it still looked to be a decent renewal of the race with last year's winner lining up against Time For Rupert, a beaten favourite in the RSA Chase when he was found to have bled. Paul Webber's gelding looked back to his best which must have been a relief to his connections and his jumping is wonderfully slick for one so inexperienced. He adopted positive tactics and looked to have seen off his rivals until WEIRD AL loomed up between the final two fences and Time For Rupert just appeared to get a little tired. This run can be expected to bring him on and it remains realistic that he can make the breakthrough to Grade One level; prior to that, he has an entry in the Hennessy Gold Cup next month where he could be of interest if some of the higher-rated entries run. Weird Al is also in the Newbury contest which is where his season all went wrong last term as he was pulled up having broken a blood vessel. This was his first run for Donald McCain and the eight year old, who was having just the ninth start of an interrupted career, was clearly over his problems in running a career best race in giving the second 3lbs and a beating. He was nursed into the race by Timmy Murphy who produced him with a beautifully timed challenge to record a ready success. There's room for improvement in his jumping but he is inexperienced; his previous trainer held him in the highest regard and there's no reason why he shouldn't take high rank in a division that lacks proven stars with the obvious exception of Long Run. Last year's winner Nacarat is an admirable performer but he was facing stronger opposition this time around and was found wanting. He's short of the very best but has proved a marvellously consistent servant to his connections when granted his ground and it would be no surprise to see him run another respectable race in the King George VI granted suitable conditions. He finished just behind Chicago Grey whose campaign is being geared around a tilt at the Grand National. He was making a relatively quick return having unseated two out at Cheltenham a fortnight ago and plugged on as his stamina kicked in having been outpaced turning in; this was a respectable run. Poquelin was the highest-rated runner coming into the race but had done all of his recent winning at Cheltenham and was having his first start beyond two miles five. He ran well for a long way but didn't get home and connections will presumably call an end to the experiment after this outing. This will restrict his opportunities but he won a handicap in April from a similar mark so should still remain competitive albeit that life will not be easy.