Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££1.80,£2.40,£2.70
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£5.60 2&3:£9.10 1&3:£6.30
Jackpot: £21,052.60, Pool: £94551.19, 9.5 winning tickets
Placepot: £309.50, Pool: £936524.56, 2208.36 winning tickets
Quadpot: £12.60, Pool: £46213.6, 2703.93 winning tickets
A terrific line-up for the second running of this race although the depth does take a knock with favourite Peddlers Cross and Cristal Bonus patently failing to run their races. The former had taken a long time to recover from a muscle problem picked up in defeat to Sprinter Sacre at Kempton over Christmas and, despite having convinced connections that he had made a full recovery, must still have been feeling the effects. It's to be hoped that a summer off can see this exciting prospect return to his best next season. A little surprisingly his trainer suggested that he just simply isn't as good a chaser as hurdler and suggested that he would revert to timber next season. The form of the race should still stack up well, however, with the unbeaten SIR DES CHAMPS beating a decent yardstick in Champion Court. The winner looked a class act when winning the Martin Pipe at the last Festival despite being given an almighty amount to do and had done nothing to dispel that impression in three runs over fences although he was possibly a shade fortunate to score at Limerick in December. Always travelling and jumping well in the slipstream of the leaders, he looked the only threat to Champion Court from a long way out and proved far too powerful an opponent for his rival. His team are hopeful that he will develop into a Gold Cup horse in time (yet to race beyond this trip) and he's a wonderful prospect to look forward to with his limitations far from being revealed. Champion Court's jumping had been excellent in recent starts and he benefited from being given a forceful ride over this trip when beating Solix in the Dipper where his fencing stood him in good stead. There was no need to change a winning formula and the plan nearly worked with the remainder well beaten off. On this season's evidence, he looks to be just short of top-class at present but he's a lovely prospect who will give his connections more options if seeing out three miles next season better than he has done this. For Non Stop is also short of top-class but has enjoyed a fruitful campaign and this was another fine run. It hasn't proved all that easy to come from behind this week but he made up his ground, had every chance and finished further in front of Michael Flips than he had at Newbury. Michael Flips had really come to himself the last twice and can arguably be rated a little better than the bare form as he was the first to be sent after the strong pace quite a long way from home; his finishing effort may possibly have been a little stronger had he been held on to for longer but that's not to say that it would have improved his finishing position. Duke Of Lucca has ability but has yet to convince that this is his track and he may be seen to better effect elsewhere. His jumping has been far from polished on occasion but he could well show improved form if his fencing clicks and looks interestingly handicapped for next season if getting his act together. Solix had gradually improved throughout the season and had run his best race to date when narrowly beaten by Champion Court in January when conceding 3lbs. He was quite well supported for this contest as a result but failed to land a blow and this has to go down as a very disappointing run, particularly given the week that his trainer has been enjoying; he remains capable of better but has a little to prove now. A switch of yards failed to rejuvenate Zaynar who would have preferred to have had his own way out in front but it would be no surprise to see him pick up more races when on song. Cristal Bonus is held in high regard and had impressed many when slamming Duke Of Lucca at Kempton but he never looked to be travelling (confirmed by his jockey post-race) and was soon pulled up. Several horses in his yard were affected by a cough last month and it's possible that he may have been affected.