Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££1.60,£1.70,£2.60
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£2.00 2&3:£11.30 1&3:£3.30
Jackpot: £17,686.13 carried forward to Fontwell Park, 6th Feb
Placepot: £1,485.50, Pool: £144991.95, 71.25 winning tickets
Quadpot: £729.90, Pool: £13218.27, 13.4 winning tickets
The field finished well strung out in what promised to be one of the most competitive novice chases to have been won this season and the form should stand up with the 'right' horses coming to the fore. The jury is still out with regard to MEDERMIT's best trip as he was just run out of it in the Dipper by Hell's Bay who hasn't gained a reputation for his battling qualities but may have turned over a new leaf for his new yard. That form was just about the best on offer and he had enough in the locker to repel a renewed challenge from Captain Chris up the hill. Alan King's grey had travelled well in midfield before creeping gradually into contention and was still travelling strongly as a group of six pulled clear on the turn for home. He jumped into a share of the lead at the Pond Fence and was left with a clear advantage when Mr Gardner stumbled badly having jumped the second last and kept on well to record an impressive success. Connections will not be rushed into deciding which race he goes for at the Festival but stamina has been a key requisite in the Arkle over the years. Captain Chris deserves plenty of credit for finishing second as he wasn't fluent at a number of fences and made a bad mistake at the fifth, when appearing to take off too soon, causing Richard Johnson to take one hand of the reins. His best form over hurdles came on good spring ground and better can be expected when he gets those conditions which may help his jumping too; like the winner, he has the option of the Arkle or the Jewson. Mr Gardner has proved a revelation since being allowed to bowl along in front and ran admirably on this significant step up in class. His jumping was, again, excellent in the main and he was a little unfortunate to lose his footing at the second last but for which he may well have finished a little closer to the first two. Connections may be tempted by the Jewson but could be tempted to wait for Aintree which will surely suit his style of running. Rock Noir has taken time to find his feet since arriving from France and ran respectably in fourth. He was travelling as well as the winner turning for home but came off the bridle after the Pond Fence and could only stay on at the one pace thereafter; he didn't jump the railway fences particularly well on either occasion which would not have helped his cause. Rebel Du Maquis and Hidden Keel paid the price for helping to set a strong pace in this company and can fare better when their sights are lowered. Reve de Sivola has become disappointing since beating Wishfull Thinking at Cheltenham in December. He received reminders after the third and this smart hurdler has plenty to learn about jumping fences if he's to fulfil his potential. He has yet to race beyond two miles five but has always shaped as though a test of stamina would bring out the best in him and a slower pace over a longer trip may also help his fencing. Nadiya De La Vega coped well with the fences having made a couple of bad mistakes when winning at Kempton but was outclassed whilst Cois Farraig dropped himself out passing the winning post on the first circuit but could come into his own in handicaps.