Tote Win: £1.70 Tote Place: £1.70,1.80
Straight Forecast: £5.73 Exacta: £4.10
Jackpot: £743.00, Pool: £126494.09, 120.86 winning tickets
Placepot: £19.90, Pool: £112013.42, 4090.53 winning tickets
Quadpot: £16.90, Pool: £8927.02, 390.15 winning tickets
LONG RUN opened his account for the season and although he won't have impressed everybody considering the winning margin, this was an excellent warm-up for his repeat attempt in next month's Cheltenham Gold Cup. His all-round game looked much sharper than his first two runs which saw him chase home Kauto Star at Haydock and then Kempton. He jumped accurately bar slightly fluffing the water and an exhuberent leap at the final fence opened up enough daylight to ensure he would hold on from the closing Burton Point. Bookmakers either left his price unchanged or pushed him out to a best of 5-2 - those odds are likely contract again come raceday and he looks like he is reaching concert pitch just at the right time. Burton Port has been off since Diamond Harry's Hennessy in 2010 and this was a marvellous return to action. He travelled strongly throughout and a slightly more aggressive jump at the last could have seen a different result as he held track position with the winner going to his left. His aim will be the Gold Cup as well although he will be 10 pounds worse off at the weights. What A Friend was cajoled along into the action from the top of the home straight but suddenly emerged up the inner on the bridle at the second last. He looked a realistic threat to all but did not quite have the finishing power of the first two. Nonetheless, this was much more like it after failing to cut any ice behind Restless Harry over hurdles at Wetherby in October. He should be in there pitching again for minor honours in the Gold Cup if repeating this display. The Giant Bolster thrashed a field of handicappers at Cheltenham last time over a shorter trip and was hiked up 15 pounds to a mark of 160. He set off at a decent pace, was joined at the cross fence on the final circuit by the winner before coming off the bridle early in the home straight. Long Run jumped across him slightly three out but he was already starting to back pedal. His jumping seems to be coming together and that bodes well for the future. Tidal Bay was well backed but will always have an awkward head carriage and spent much of the first circuit in rear looking at the sky. A clumsy mistake at the second in the back straight got him out of his rythhm and he soon began to lose touch under pressure. A return to Cheltenham might see him in a better light but November 2008 was his last win over fences and he would be basically making up the numbers against this calibre of rival in a Gold Cup.