I think at some point during the day I was going to back them all but even I wouldn't be so silly as to do that. No, I didn't back any of them, but ended up laying Saddlers Deal and Blackwater King.
The former clearly has physical or mental issues having stopped dead the last twice after winning hard on the snaffle at Huntingdon, so the late cash for the nine-year-old was curious indeed.
Sure the very disappointing Blackwater King and Dealing River would tow them into it, but that remark also applied to Muwalla, who was looking on great terms with himself and continued the fabulous run of form of C Grant.
The ground had probably turned against Dealing River, whose late drift spelled trouble, so it all fell into place for Muwalla, who nonetheless will now find life much harder off a higher rating.
There were no physical negatives for the others, albeit to say that Dealing River does not really have the size to carry weight over the larger obstacles.
The card opened with the rather taking L'Aigle Royal taking the juvenile after being outpaced for much of the way. His very precise jumping kept him in it at times and trainer Quinn is one of the few you could follow against the big boys down south with this one. It's one to keep on the right side.
McCain's Sindarban did not take the eye much and looks rather one-paced, not having a great deal of scope at this stage, while the eventual runner-up Istimraar is light-framed but was on his toes and looked well.
McCain was finally back in the winner's circle in the next when Roserrow got off the mark under new front-running tactics. Nothing got into it and it was a moderate bunch, the warm favourite Skyfire flattered by his Market Rasen fourth and physically lacking the scope to improve. He'll be one to take on again especially if the assessor judges him on his previous outing.
Behind, Kwo Neshe is a brother of the very likeable Secrete Stream but looks nothing like him, although has scope to do okay. Like many of Jefferson's of late he was nowhere near ready for this, although clearly has enthusiasm for the game.
Montoya's Son should have gone down as a bet; 1) Having joined K Dalgleish after a poor spell in Ireland and 2) The remainder being very opposable. No business was done though as I was waiting for an avalanche of cash that never materialised, and we had to look on as he jumped and galloped them stupid in the 2m 4f handicap.
|Montoya's Son - one that got away|
In the next we followed the money onto Monita Bonita, who was reported to be well fancied and looked fit and ready to fire. Not at all in fact - she ran a stinker behind Langley House, who improved markedly on her belated return here when she sweated up and looked pretty dreadful.
Gone in her coat this time, she didn't really take the eye but had put on weight and fairly hacked up from Midnight Streaker, another mare from Ireland who was arguably the paddock pick fitness-wise.
It's been a great autumn for Diane Sayer and this was another fine training performance. Of the others, Marlborough House ran better but needs more leniency from the handicapper while Jukebox Melody has still not come to himself and didn't run much of a race.
Word filtered through that the stable were on Brave Spartacus, a 130-rated chaser running from 100 over hurdles here. I thought 2m might be a bit sharp even if they went from the front (which they did) but he was so well in nothing landed a blow bar the rock solid Claude Carter. It was another chance to go begging on a day of what might have been
Very few took the eye as potential win candidates, Operateur being one of the better ones but nailed down by a huge hike in the weights, even though he looks the type to continue to do well from a higher mark. Snooker still looked plenty big enough while the eventual third Needwood Park (50/1) did get a mention in despatches, looking big and well and very much on his toes. If he didn't have such a poor record you'd think he could build on this next time.
Deny won't come into his own until he faces the larger obstacles.
The finale went to Irish raider High Talk who clearly found the marathon distance to his liking to post a career-best rising 11, trumping our wager on Supapowers who looked really well on his long trip from South Wales.
Billy Two Tongues is as slow as they come but was backed into 2/1 favouritism. We didn't quite get it right today but Wetherby awaits. Let's hope we get some rain up here in the meantime.