Tote Win: £2.20 Tote Place: £1.50,2.90
Straight Forecast: £11.00 Exacta: £11.80 Swingers: 1&2:2.20 2&3:4.00 1&3:3.20
Jackpot: £50,000.00, Pool: £32834.07, 1.0 winning tickets
Placepot: £25.90, Pool: £228342.7, 6414.59 winning tickets
Quadpot: £7.30, Pool: £10186.95, 1025.05 winning tickets
An eagerly anticipated renewal of a novices' chase that has fallen in the past two seasons to Weird Al and Time For Rupert and to future Gold Cup winners Imperial Commander and Denman before that and connections of smart staying hurdler GRANDS CRUS will be hoping that he will follow suit. With Cue Card's early departure, quite what he achieved here is open to conjecture but it was hard not to be impressed with the manner of his victory from a useful sort in Champion Court. The grey, who improved so markedly in his second season over hurdles, jumped impeccably in the main with the exception of the fence at the top of the hill on the second circuit when he took off too soon and rather reached for it. Tom Scudamore always looked confident, allowing Champion Court and Zaynar to close the gap going into the second last as he steadied his mount on the run to that fence that has still caught a number of horses out despite being resighted. Grands Crus popped that one and was foot-perfect when ridden into the last and won with any amount in hand on ground that was as fast as he's encountered over a trip that was short of his best over hurdles. He hardened in the market for the Arkle and the RSA whilst connections were also asked about the Gold Cup (he had been entered for the Betfair Chase). It's not hard to see him being entered in the latter in case anything were to happen to Long Run as the division lacks strength away from the champion and Martin Pipe did run Gloria Victis in the race as a novice. His obvious target would be one of the novice races although it remains to be seen whether connections will want to run him in the RSA which has had a fairly high rate of attrition over the years. Albert Bartlett fourth Champion Court was conceding 5lbs to the winner following his win in what promised to be a good novice chase at Aintree. He was far from disgraced in the face of this stiff task, putting in some bold leaps with his only real mistake coming at the third last but he rallied gamely after that, sticking to his task in game fashion and this was a most likeable performance. He's not in the same class as the winner but few are and he should be able to take high rank in the staying novices. Zaynar is a talented but increasingly quirky customer who benefited from the step up in trip to improve on the bare form of his chase bow; whether he can build is another matter and he has tended to need plenty of rousting along in the past so it also remains to be seen how he fares under the new whip rules. Sybarite ran well in the Grade Two Novices Hurdle on this card last year (won by Champion Court) but disappointed in the Albert Bartlett and was turned over on his chase bow at Stratford. This track was expected to show him in a better light and he was wearing blinkers for the first time; the headgear, however, didn't appear to have the desired effect as he ran in snatches and was ridden from a long way out. To his credit, he did plug on and he has time on his side but the early signals aren't entirely positive for his future career and he has a little to prove. Vino Griego has yet to win over fences and has only won twice under Rules but he ran a blinder in the Centenary Handicap at the Festival and has ability. He raced without the blinkers that he wore for the first time in March and was hunted round in rear - he can be expected to improve from this satisfactory return and remains one to be interested in back at a more realistic level. Cue Card had jumped impeccably on debut at Chepstow and hadn't done an awful lot wrong prior to his departure but he just walked into the fence and gave his jockey no chance. He stayed on his feet so his confidence may not be unduly dented and it's to be hoped that this is just a blip in his chasing career. Winning pointer Dualla Lord was pitched in at the deep end for his chase bow following a promising debut over hurdles but also departed before the race began in earnest.