Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££1.10,£7.80
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00
Jackpot: £1,388.80, Pool: £29241.02, 18.0 winning tickets
Placepot: £53.60, Pool: £107103.09, 1457.66 winning tickets
Quadpot: £9.00, Pool: £9785.99, 800.16 winning tickets
This win didn't convince bookmakers but FINGAL BAY is still unbeaten and having another battle like this is no bad thing ahead of March. He certainly looks to have heart as well as class and he needed both here. His hurdling was fast and fluent, so much so that he jumped to the front before the home turn. He was still going well when taking a two length lead two hurdles from home but then seemed to idle and both Ballyrock and Double Ross were hot on his heels again. A poor jump at the last may have put him in trouble but his jumping held up under pressure and he was able to quicken again after the final flight, for an easier victory than the margin might suggest. The ground was sticky and far from ideal, so he remains very much the one to beat at the Festival, whichever race he goes for. He stays but has speed so the Neptune looks the more obvious race at this stage of his development. Runner-up Ballyrock ran a blinder and if repeating this effort next time should be the horse to beat. The Hereford winner was never too far off the (modest) pace and although he seemed to get a little left behind when the winner originally quickened, his stamina came into play late on and he went down fighting. Three miles could unlock even more improvement. Double Ross made the early running and was arguably keen enough, so connections will be delighted with the heart he showed when headed. Like the rest of the field his future looks to lie over fences, but if his sights are lowered next time then it wouldn't be wise to give him too much rope in front. The disappointment of the race was Top Of The Range who was held up early on. That may not have been the ideal place to be but he was well-beaten before three from home and stopped very quickly. He appeared to dislike the ground here, so is worth another chance on better going; watch out for him at his owner's racetrack Ffos Las. Fill The Power was left behind before the home turn.