Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££2.60,£2.00,£3.00
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£6.70 2&3:£8.60 1&3:£14.50
Jackpot: £142,083.50, Pool: £200117.69, 1.0 winning tickets
Placepot: £60.60, Pool: £970517.56, 11686.68 winning tickets
Quadpot: £9.30, Pool: £40783.77, 3221.34 winning tickets
A strong staying performance from AL FEROF, very much in the mould of the fellow John Hales-owned Noland who won the race in 2006. Ruby Walsh had chosen him over Willie Mullins' Zaidpour, and he made the right choice. Settled further back than he had previously been over hurdles, the grey jumped fluently all the way round, indeed he jumped so well that it carried him into closer than midfield when they reached the top of the hill. He was under pressure coming down the hill (indeed he had been off the bridle almost from the fall of the flag) but his stamina kicked in and although he still had two lengths to find coming to the last, he absolutely winged it. That took him level with Spirit Son, and he then bounded away from that rival for a well-earned success. He hung a little up the hill, both left and right, but his ears were pricked as he crossed the line and there's no telling how much more he had to give. The runner-up, one of three Nicky Henderson runners, ran a blinder. He travelled as well as anything and his jockey hadn't asked him for his effort at the bottom of the hill, but he was made to look relatively one-paced by the winner. This was by far a career-best and he was nicely clear of the third and fourth home. Third was his stablemate Sprinter Sacre. He was another to travel really well, and he was the horse who first put it up to favourite Cue Card. Both started to race for the line before the home turn and one cannot help but feel that both may have fared better had there been quicker and better horses for both to follow. Sprinter Sacre hit the last flight of hurdles very hard which stopped his momentum, but he was being swamped at the time. Favourite Cue Card had raced in midfield for a long way, and the feeling is that he was probably a little crowded on more than one occasion. However Joe Tizzard steered him wide approaching the third last hurdle in order to get a good look at the obstacle and he responded with a fine jump. Indeed he was travelling and jumping so well that his momentum took him into the lead before two from home. That may have been the undoing of him, although it must be said that he was probably beaten fair and square; a mistake at the second-last wouldn't have helped though. The first four were clear, with Recession Proof running on well for fifth. This was a big run after his totesport Trophy victory just a couple of weeks prior, and he should not be underestimated wherever he goes next. The two Gigginstown Stud horses ran well, with Rathlin in sixth and Far Away So Close in ninth, however arguably the bigger eye-catchers were Zaidpour, who seemed to get outpaced at a crucial time, and Spanish Treasure who belied his odds of 66/1 by running on for a never nearer eighth. They appeared to go a decent clip, and that found out Marsh Warbler on ground too quick for him, whilst Magen's Star helped set some of the early gallop but looked another to find this all too much on quick ground.