Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££1.30,£2.80,£1.80
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£3.60 2&3:£6.20 1&3:£2.50
Jackpot: £76,491.55 carried forward to Aintree, 14th Apr
Placepot: £33.30, Pool: £454402.7, 9946.44 winning tickets
Quadpot: £22.10, Pool: £18309.83, 610.59 winning tickets
This was run at a slow early gallop and the field was still pretty bunched as they turned for home at the business end but did provide a boost for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle form from Cheltenham. Absolutlyfantastic was the early leader at a married man's pace with Agent Archie also racing prominently and the order changed very little as the field crawled along into the back straight. Eventual winner DARLAN was in mid-division on the inner with AP McCoy sensibly positioning him within striking range of the leaders. The pace did start to lift somewhat four out and that was where Darlan was less than fluent and McCoy just had to give his mount a swift nudge to get him back on an even keel. Agent Archie cried enough between the back and home straights and started to back-peddle. He did Darlan no favours as he retreated but McCoy switched around him to go in pursuit of Absolutelyfantastic and stablemate Captain Conan once straightening up. The latter was still going strongly three out but Darlan was upsides at the next obstacle and was always holding the runner-up from that point. Nicky Henderson reported afterwards that Darlan remains a big, weakish type who will jump a fence at some stage. Connections will also sit down and mull a tilt at the Champion Hurdle next season for which he is around the 16-1 mark. The strapping runner-up was clear of the remainder and his debut over fences is eagerly anticipated. Prospect Wells is consistent but has had a busy year and is probably just below this level anyway against the big guns while Vulcanite could never really land a blow. He was a bit untidy at the last and was then collared close home for fourth by another Henderson inmate Oscara Dara. Absolutlyfantastic was beating a hasty retreat when he was awkward two out as Right Step and debutant Toughness Danon could not live with this company currently.