Tote Win: £11.80 Tote Place: £2.30,1.20,3.30
Straight Forecast: £31.52 Exacta: £29.80 Trifecta: £167.50 Swingers: 1&2:5.50 2&3:6.50 1&3:4.80
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
A great afternoon for Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson was completed as BATONNIER broke his duck with a convincing victory. Connections had been surprised by his second at the track on New Year's Day and the fact that he was allowed to go off here at 12-1 suggested he was still somewhat of an unknown quantity. Covered up in mid-division in the early stages, he moved menacingly into contention at the top of the hill on the second circuit before cruising down to the second last tucked in behind the pacesetters. He was clearly going the best of the leading quartet from the home turn and once switched left to challenge, he outjumped favourite Broadbackbob over the last before staying on driven out all the way to the line. The Neptune Investment Hurdle at the Festival is now firmly on the radar for him and 20-1 in a place possibly underestimates his chance a little. The runner-up was a popular choice following wins at Ascot and Newbury at the back end of last year. He put up a solid effort in this better grade but was under strong pressure turning for home and a mistake at the last meant he lost crucial momentum. He was giving the winner 7lb so it was another decent display all things considered. Juvenile hurdler Secret Edge ran a blinder in third place and clearly relished the step up in trip from two miles. He bumped into a couple of useful types last time at Chepstow in a Grade 1 for his own age group and earns great credit for his toughness and consistency. Options for him are open but he should be adding to his tally before the season is over. Hard To Swallow had chased home the winner on New Year's Day but was further behind a rapidly improving type on this occasion. He looked like he was going to drop away after a slight mistake two out but then got his second win and stuck on in promising fashion off the home turn. If connections were to drop him into a maiden hurdle or run-of-the-mill novice contest over this trip or further, he would take all the beating next time. Forgotten Gold also ran on New Year's Day against Battonier and also saw the distance he was beaten by him increased. He set a good gallop and those exertions caught up with him from the home bend, although it was not a bad effort once more. Knight Pass scored well in a handicap at Kempton on Boxing Day and looked a threat coming down the hill now upped in class. He was on the heels of the winner two out but soon came under pressure and found disappointingly little when push came to shove. The market suggested better was expected and his two visits to Cheltenham have seen him perform below par - perhaps this just isn't his track and he remains a promising horse. Catch Tammy beat a retreat from the second last, Hawk Mountain could never land a blow at this level while Bowntobebad and Polisky were the first two beaten in the race. The latter attracted some good support in the betting ring but Ruby Walsh never looked very happy from an early stage. He administered a couple of sharp reminders passing the stands but the game was soon up down the far side of the track and stumps were drawn. There is surely ability there but that was a second consecutive moderate display and he has questions to answer now.