Tote Win: £11.40 Tote Place: £2.40,3.90,1.10
Straight Forecast: £182.68 Exacta: £173.10 Trifecta: £331.80 Swingers: 1&2:14.20 2&3:4.90 1&3:3.00
Jackpot: £58,798.80, Pool: £372668.75, 4.5 winning tickets
Placepot: £76.20, Pool: £895990.3, 8579.31 winning tickets
Quadpot: £14.30, Pool: £32465.85, 1673.78 winning tickets
Perhaps a bit of an anti-climax for many, but not for Paul Nicholls, who landed his first ever Champion Hurdle with ROCK ON RUBY. The early pace was quick, the middle very slack, and then it turned into a bit of a sprint and there's little doubt that the best place to be was up with the pace. Jockey Noel Fehily had his mount in second or third throughout, crept closer before three out, and then moved alongside after the second-last. He then kicked for home quite early, turning in, and his mount wandered badly before the last. However he met it on a good stride near the rail and once he heard the hooves coming, pricked his ears, and won it well. He has class, but perhaps most importantly plenty of guts, and this performance shouldn't be downgraded because Hurricane Fly didn't run to his best. Another point of note, which deserves to be made, is that the winner was based at Paul Barber's yard, a satellite base for Paul Nicholls, and some way away from the yard which had problems with coughing. Eventually 'The Fly' was third, and didn't quite travel as well into the business end of the race as he can. Left with four lengths to find turning in, he tried his best, but never looked like winning. He seemed to handle the occasion ok (has got a little unsettled in the preliminaries before) and there were no traffic excuses in the race itself, but he just might have preferred them to go a stride quicker for the "middle" mile. Overturn split the aforementioned pair, and is a real credit to connections. He winged every hurdle having dictated the tempo, and still held a good chance turning in because he battles so well. Eventually it wasn't to be, but one suspects that any other horse would have faded in the final 100 yards out of the places. Binocular attracted support before the race and ran very well, having been held up last of all. He flew the third-last like a bullet but, like Hurricane Fly, had to use up a lot of energy to get competitive coming down the hill. In the end that told, although he might well have finished second had he not smashed through the final flight. He was starting to make ground on the (wandering) leader up until that point and certainly lost little caste in defeat. Zarkandar came next, and he stayed on stoutly up the hill. He was outpaced when the speed increased and his relative inexperience seemed to count against him. Oscars Well ran a fine race as well, travelling powerfully in fourth or fifth throughout but just lacking the pace for this trip at the very highest level. Brampour, one of the first to be ridden along, plugged on but never looked likely to feature, and finished seventh.