Tote Win: £7.40 Tote Place: £2.20,1.90
Straight Forecast: £15.35 Exacta: £27.20 Swingers: 1&2:2.70 2&3:3.10 1&3:4.30
Jackpot: £16,666.60, Pool: £20710.4, 1.5 winning tickets
Placepot: £145.00, Pool: £178971.17, 900.77 winning tickets
Quadpot: £14.20, Pool: £13422.49, 696.95 winning tickets
The market had suggested that this was a two horse race but Pearl Swan lowered the colours of his more fancied rivals only to lose the race in the stewards' room. He twice bumped GRUMETI after edging to his right under a left-hand drive from Ruby Walsh (who picked up a three day ban) and Wayne Hutchinson felt that that made the difference between winning and losing. Whether that was the case or not, the margin was such that it left the stewards with little alternative but to reverse the placings. Pearl Swan made his debut just nine days ago at Taunton where he was very easy to back and the ex-French flat racer seems to have surprised his connections with how much he's achieved in a short space of time and Paul Nicholls confidently believes that there's a good deal more to come from the winner who will head straight to the Triumph for which he deposed the joint-favourites at the head of the market in some books. Held-up in rear, Walsh appeared to have overplayed the waiting tactics when the leaders kicked clear but he easily made up the ground and got the better of a sustained duel with Grumeti who was in receipt of 3lbs. This was a late change of plan for Grumeti following his slightly unlucky fall at Newbury so it's feasible that he wasn't quite at his peak. He showed no ill-effects from his tumble and jumped the last particularly well which will have pleased connections and, despite having no obvious excuses bar the interference, they will rightly believe they have every chance of gaining revenge in March. He was Alan King's first runner in this race since Walkon completed a hat-trick in this contest for his trainer in 2009 following victories for Franchoek and Katchit and those three finished second, second and first in the main event. He is set to be given another run before the Festival in order to gain more experience. Baby Mix, who had been off since slamming Hinterland over C&D in December, refused to settle behind the steady gallop which certainly wouldn't have helped but he was beaten a long way out and this run was simply too bad to be true; his jockey reported that he stopped quickly. Connections face a race against time to get him back for the Festival but he looked the real deal on his British debut and could yet surprise if they can get to the bottom of this display. Hollow Tree was allowed an easy time of things in front and set a slow pace initially with his jockey kicking on from the top of the hill but he essentially lacks the pace of the leading juveniles. This was still a decent effort from a progressive youngster who hurdles proficiently and a longer trip/softer ground may turn out to be his ideal conditions although a stronger pace for him to chase over this trip would help. Tango De Juilley has bumped into a couple of useful types of Alan King's in two starts in Britain and ran about as well as his form entitled him to. He was still within hailing distance of the principals over the last before being left trailing and would be an obvious candidate for the Fred Winter. Colebrooke has had an admirable season but was probably a little below his best even allowing for the stiff task and, while softer ground seems to suit him better, a hard race at Sandown earlier in the month may have taken the edge off him.