Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££1.10,£2.40,£2.70
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£2.20 2&3:£7.70 1&3:£2.80
Jackpot: £64,597.28 carried forward to Market Rasen, 23rd Jan
Placepot: £18.50, Pool: £161866.12, 6374.97 winning tickets
Quadpot: £11.10, Pool: £10388.97, 687.36 winning tickets
MASTER MINDED scraped home by the skin of his teeth as Somersby, who was in front just yards after the line, came of age with a career best performance. Master Minded had travelled comfortably behind the early pacesetters and produced a fine leap to jump alongside the leaders at the eighth and was in front at the ninth at which stage he could have been expected to go further and further clear and McCoy did take a look between his legs going into the second last. He looked leg-weary going to the last though and it was to his credit that he was able to produce a fine leap at that fence and that probably made the difference between victory and defeat as he was all out to the line. This was far from impressive but the yard has been going through a quieter spell than usual whilst McCoy felt that he made too much use of him coming out of Swinley Bottom and that Master Minded tired on the ground. Arkle runner-up Somersby ran his best race of the season with a sterling performance that bodes well for the future. He had made mistakes in the Haldon Gold Cup on his reappearance and made a bad mistake when third behind Master Minded at Cheltenham last time but he jumped fluently here and landed running after the last to throw down a sustained challenge with his customary strong finishing effort. Connections may be tempted to have another crack at the winner in the Champion Chase with the Ryanair the obvious alternative for a horse that has been placed on both visits to the Festival. There was plenty of use made of Mad Max and he deserves some credit for holding on to third having looked to be struggling when the first two kicked clear. Kalahari King gradually looks to be finding his way back to top form and would surely have been third but for being badly hampered by Petit Robin at the ninth; he was last successful in handicap company and has slipped back to a fair mark on this evidence. Gauvain was hampered by Crack Away Jack at the second and looked a little reluctant at the next; he ran on through beaten horses and hasn't built on his winning reappearance. I'm So Lucky helped to cut out a strong pace and paid the price for that on ground softer than he cares for; he will be seen to better effect on spring ground and has more races in him. Tchico Polos made several mistakes as did the well-regarded Crack Away Jack on his return from a lengthy absence and it remains to be seen if he can live up to expectations. Petit Robin had helped cut out a fierce pace with I'm So Lucky at Cheltenham and paid the price for that to some extent but was ridden with more restraint here and still travelling well when departing although it was too far out to say with certainty that he'd have been involved in the finish.