Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££1.80,£3.20,£1.10
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£13.80 2&3:£9.40 1&3:£2.00
Jackpot: £4,932.27 carried forward to Southwell, 9th Jan
Placepot: £247.30, Pool: £134602.9, 397.19 winning tickets
Quadpot: £61.00, Pool: £10245.46, 124.1 winning tickets
A surprise of sorts here although whether a progressive hat-trick-seeking gelding winning should be so is open to debate. MARSH WARBLER came into this race on the back of facile wins at Bangor and Sedgefield and he won this in the manner of a confident horse. Always travelling well at the head of affairs, Fearghal Davis was able to let his mount find a nice rhythm and he was one of the last to come off the bridle. Despite runners flanking him as they turned for home with four furlongs left to run, his young jockey didn't panic and as he fought off his rivals one by one, he then produced a magnificent leap at the last flight of hurdles to come home comfortably clear of Houblon Des Obeaux. Venetia Williams' charge ran a blinder on his British debut. He was another to travel powerfully and it was only in the last 100 yards that his persistent challenge to the leader was completely fended off. Alan King's Smad Place ran a strange race back in third. His jockey was keen for him to keep tabs on the leaders turning for home, and he then seemed to be outpaced when the race almost became a sprint. He ran on nicely at the death despite a moderate jump at the last and his trainer shouldn't be too disheartened by this run. Similarly hot favourite Sam Winner should still have the Triumph as his main aim. He was another to be niggled along half a mile out but he kept responding for his pilot. Further back Dolatulo pulled far too hard in the early stages and was never going to get the trip in this ground as a result. He is not done with yet at all and the Triumph Hurdle again should be the aim where he will get a stronger gallop to chase. It should be noted that the race, in testing conditions, was run at a moderate pace dictated by the winner. The flat recruit appears to have had more speed in his armoury than some of his other rivals and the acid test for the gelding will be at Cheltenham when he may not get his own way out in front. Bookmakers responded to this race by generally making the winner a co-favourite (with Sam Winner) for the Triumph. That seems fair for the winner but an over-reaction for the beaten favourite. However it might be, like Soldatino last season, that we still haven't seen the Triumph Hurdle winner on the racetrack yet.