Tote Win: £9.80 Tote Place: £3.00,2.00,1.60
Straight Forecast: £55.97 Exacta: £51.30 Trifecta: £200.00 Swingers: 1&2:10.60 2&3:4.60 1&3:9.50
Placepot: £1,069.40, Pool: £168014.6, 114.69 winning tickets
Quadpot: £50.50, Pool: £14227.19, 208.15 winning tickets
A remarkable performance from CUE CARD who firmly dispelled any doubts about his ability to stay three miles (or beyond) with an authoritative victory over the best staying chasers on this side of the Irish Sea in as strong a contest as you'll see outside the Cheltenham Gold Cup. His only previous attempt at three miles had come in last year's King George VI Chase where, in hindsight, his chance was significantly impaired by a couple of early mistakes on very testing ground. He didn't appear to be a stayer that day and it was no surprise to see him revert to the shorter trip of the Ryanair Chase for the Festival which he duly won with aplomb. An inconclusive return in the Haldon Gold Cup was hardly evidence that he was ready for this test but Joe Tizzard rode him confidently and was rewarded with a career best performance from the stable star. The Ryanair Chase still lacks the kudos of some of National Hunt racing's other major prizes and his reputation was still tarnished by his failure to live up to the expectations held since his stunning win in the Champion Bumper at the Festival. There is no doubt that he has now matured into the finished article and this performance must see him now go to Kempton before a tilt at the Gold Cup. Both races provide thorough tests of a horse's stamina and there may be those willing to take him on citing that Haydock (even allowing for this renewal being run on a more galloping track than usual) is a sharper track but he wasn't stopping here. Connections will be delighted by the run of Dynaste who swerved the Paddy Power Gold Cup in order to line-up here in his first run outside novice company; he travelled strongly but just bumped into a better horse on the day. Given his victory in the Feltham last year and that this was his first start of the campaign, it would be no surprise if his team feel that they can give the winner more to think about in the King George. It will be interesting to see where he heads after Kempton given that he has performed below expectations at the last two Cheltenham Festivals. Silviniaco Conti jumped and travelled supremely well but just didn't appear to get home as well as the two principals (casting doubt on where he'd have finished in the Gold Cup had he stood up) but this still rates a fine performance from last year's winner. He will, presumably, follow the same path as last year which saw him take in the Denman Chase in February before having another crack at the Gold Cup where he will get another chance to prove his stamina for those final two and a half, gruelling furlongs. Long Run was a long way adrift but this was a much more encouraging run from the 2011 Gold Cup winner following his flop at Wetherby. He still clouted the odd fence but kept on dourly and this should tee him up nicely for his attempt to win a third King George at a venue that plays to his strengths far more than this course. That was the excuse offered by the connections of the disappointment of the race, stablemate Bobs Worth with his jockey reporting that he could never go the gallop on this tighter track. The stable hasn't been in quite the same form as is often the case at this time of season and he's well worth another chance to set the record straight while also acknowledging that his whole season will be geared around one race. Tidal Bay popped away at the back but was never getting there; this was a thoroughly respectable run and he should continue to pay his way; it would be no surprise to see him try and defend his Lexus Chase crown.