Tote Win: £1.30 Tote Place: £1.10,2.20
Straight Forecast: £2.52 Exacta: £2.50 Swingers: 1&2:1.10 2&3:2.70 1&3:1.80
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
Win number 15 on the spin for the marvellous BIG BUCK'S as he gave his fans an extra treat by taking in this race en route to the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Ultimately, the result was another easy victory but there were one or two moments when things were not perhaps as smooth as we have all become accustomed to year after year. That said, he never looked in any real danger and such is his dominance, it is front-page news when Ruby Walsh has to shake the reins at him. There were two small moments to point out here. He was 10 lengths behind the leading duo of Across The Bay and Restless Harry three out but Walsh was not unduly worried and was more concerned over the position of Mourad in behind as a brief look between his legs suggested. Ruby did have to give him a nudge to close up but was right on the heels of the leaders at the top of hill and more importantly in the slipstream of Dynaste. The latter took over at the second last and led to the second slight moment of concern as his burst of pace took him clear by three lengths as they straightened up for home. Walsh went in pursuit and was forced to switch Big Buck's to the left of Dynaste on the run to the last hurdle. He was upsides by that flight though and although both jumped the obstacle extremely well, it was the winner's greater staying power that quickly put seven lengths of daylight between him and the runner-up. Dynaste is progressing and got much closer to Big Buck's than their clash at Ascot prior to Christmas. Conor O'Farrell had tried to break Big Buck's further from home on that occasion but Tom Scudamore waited until two out this time before playing his hand. He had the classy Mourad beaten pointless in third and is turning into a smart young stayer. Unfortunately, Paul Nicholls' inmate is so far ahead of anyhting else at the moment in this division that it would take a massive off-day for him to be toppled in the World Hurdle at the Festival. Mourad will be hoping to challenge for a place once more in that race at best while Restless Harry and Across The Bay paid the price trying to pour on the pace from some distance out. Both stuck to their guns gamely in the circumstances and can make an impact again with their sights lowered. Five Dream had twice got to within single-figure beaten distances by the winner before Christmas but this time it was 30 lengths. His effort from the rear of the field here was short-lived and did not beat a horse home.