Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££2.30,£1.20
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00
Jackpot: £15,492.18 carried forward to Leopardstown, 9th Feb, 0.5 winning tickets
Placepot: £48.10, Pool: £200572.31, 3041.56 winning tickets
Quadpot: £27.30, Pool: £11156.13, 301.95 winning tickets
This wasn't a strong renewal of this Gold Cup trial and is unlikely to have any bearing on next month's race. Kim Bailey was adamant that the race provided a cracking opportunity for HARRY TOPPER with the testing ground, small field and the omission of two fences in the straight all in his favour. The manner in which he was ridden also suggested that connections felt the favourite's stamina was suspect as Harry Topper has often been ridden with more restraint but he does stay well and the decision to make plenty of use of his stamina paid dividends with a resounding success. This didn't really tell us anything that we didn't already know about the seven-year-old but he handsomely rewarded his team for taking the opportunity and turning him out quickly after the Argento Chase. Opinion, both in his camp and in the media, appeared to be split about Al Ferof's performance in the King George and as to whether the Gold Cup or the Ryanair Chase would provide the most suitable test at Cheltenham. This appeared to answer that question unequivocally as he was readily left behind by Harry Topper but it must be a concern that he looked rather laboured in the closing stages for the second race in succession. That may just be down to running out of petrol and he's worth another chance to live up to the rich promise of his novice season on ground that's less testing than it was here or at Kempton but this was not a performance that will fill his fans with confidence and the bookmakers are giving nothing away in terms of his price for the Ryanair. The conditions should have suited Katenko but he was very disappointing and it's possible that he was still feeling the effects of a gruelling race at Haydock while his setbacks last season and in the summer may have also left a mark. Walkon needed to be placed at least fourth over three miles to qualify for the Grand National so connections were prepared to take their chance despite the unsuitably heavy ground and the gamble was rewarded.