Tote Win: £3.90 Tote Place: £1.90,2.40,2.10
Straight Forecast: £30.15 Exacta: £34.40 Trifecta: £148.20 Swingers: 1&2:4.20 2&3:8.70 1&3:3.10
Jackpot: £25,379.68 carried forward to Hereford, 11th Dec
Placepot: £13.80, Pool: £180835.64, 9557.89 winning tickets
Quadpot: £7.50, Pool: £12173.18, 1193.84 winning tickets
A thrilling finish fought out by two progressive young chasers and, with a gap back to another promising runner in third, the form has a very solid look to it despite the drama that unfolded four fences from home. ASTRACAD had presumably been laid out for this race which was run in memory of the owner's late wife and this was a really likeable performance from the five year old who has had plenty of racing already. He jumped quickly and accurately and showed great resolution to force his head back in front having been passed by Rileyev half-way up the hill. He has been set some stiff tasks since winning on his chasing debut and appreciated the switch to handicap company. He will go up in the weights for this but is already a better chaser than hurdler and is progressing well while he stays further which will increase the options available to him. He was quoted for the Grand Annual and French Opera won this race in 2009 before finishing second at the Festival, coincidentally to a stablemate of the winner. Rileyev's stable are in better form than when he ran at the track in November and he had since gone close at Ascot before winning at Newbury. He did well to finish as close as he did having been hampered in the melee at the top of the hill and took another step forwards in defeat despite being worried out of it. His winning run started from a mark of 89, he was running here off 127 and can continue to progress with his jumping here better than it has been all season. Havingotascoobydo was balloted out of the Gold Cup to be run later on the card over two miles five. While he probably found himself in front sooner than ideal, he lacked the speed of the principals and looks ready for a step up in trip; he's still on an upward curve. Oiseau De Nuit is still 7lbs higher than when winning the Grand Annual and is unlikely to be dropped following his best performance of the season. He's not the easiest to win with but continues to perform with credit. Robinson Collonges now has something to prove having weakened fairly tamely for the second race in succession and couldn't be backed with confidence at present. Oh Crick's losing run now stretches to 15 races but he has shown glimpses that suggest he may be able to take advantage of a declining mark when things drop right. On the face of it this was disappointing but his chance wasn't helped by being hampered at the top of the hill when stablemates Dave's Dream and Tanks For That departed independently of each other. It was too far out to confidently say how the race would have developed but Dave's Dream was showing a little more zest under different tactics with a tongue-tie tried for the first time; it's to be hoped that this hasn't shaken his confidence.