Not a great deal of financial interest on another quiet day personally, and a trappy looking card at the local track where overnight rain had made it very taxing ground.
Only three made it round in the opening novices handicap chase led by Royal Macnab, who had been seen running well the last twice.
He hadn't been shaping like a winner waiting to happen thought and the market chose Be A Dreamer ahead of Markem. I've mentioned here before that the former is on the weak side and I was very concerned about his ability to get through the ground, while Markem has shaped on more than one occasion as though he is not straight forward.
The Backup Plan was quite weak in the betting and rightly so, there's not much of him and it's doubtful whether he'll be of any note, even at this early stage. Dr Beaujolais was the rag but looked best beforehand, however he too may well be lacking essential ability. Venitzia is poorly put together - short in front, big behind - while the Russell yard remains untrustworthy.
Favourite A Doll In Milan took the eye ahead of the mares race and duly won as she pleased, ahead of market rivals Two Swallows (bit green looking, will improve again) and Streets of Promise (not a looker, can be fitter), the latter of whom apparently was hating the ground.
I was looking to take on Ballybolley at a short price on this claggy stuff in the next and an error down the back did for his effort and he came back in looking a bit sorry for himself. He's calmed down since he wasn't sweating at all this time but may not go on from from here.
The two that battled out the finish are likeable sorts in A Boy Named Suzi and The Grey Taylor, who put up a fine effort giving the winner a stone less his rider's claim. They both have good bone and will continue to do well in the winter game, both taking great credit here.
The massive eye-catcher though was Dan Emmett, a 70-rated stayer on the flat who is a real nice jumping type. He looked really well but wasn't put into the race until going on at the finish to take fourth...it will be interesting the route they take from here but a novice event will be his for the taking, especially over further.
Saints And Sinners looks a different horse physically from last season and is clearly thriving as he racked up a hat-trick in a weak handicap chase. However, his path was cleared by the early exit of Sealous Scout, who looked well and fit to do himself justice. He's a nice sort for chasing but looked novicey before departing - however he can win races this term.
Golden Hoof is a leggy sort who must surely be better on good ground and it was a surprise to see him so well supported - it wasn't hard to predict that he would back out of it up the straight. This was another solid effort from Mojolika in second and he should pick up a race for new connections.
The juvenile featured several likeable types for the future, none more so than the winning favourite Seamour, who really stayed on well after making a couple of notable errors to defy a penalty. This was a grand effort from a strong sort.
Scrafton travelled like the winner and would surely have won at Catterick when the money was down last time - he won't always bump into one as good as this and good ground will see him even better light. The fourth, Chivers, is another surefire winner when he gets a trip and he was clear of the rest.
Fighting Back, Golden Spear, Green Light and Honeychile Ryder also went down as good sorts for the more distant future, however Roskilly did not look fit and Classical Art lacked the size and scope of much of the opposition.
The Castleford Chase was won impressively by Upsilon Bleu and they seemed to know about it beforehand, backed off the boards late. J Reveley had it won at the last under a well-judged ride and although perennial bridesmaid French Opera rattled home well, he was never getting there under a lesser effort.
Old friend Back To Bracka looked fabulous again but his jumping was novicey from the get-go and lost his confidence - he's one to swerve for now and was another Russell horse to run below par. J Ewart is another handler out of form and his two were well beaten, while first impressions of Kie suggest he'll struggle over fences.
I was surprised that Notonebuttwo had not been hit harder for his two wins this season and felt he was a good thing to take the last - he's a lovely strong horse who clearly has put some problems behind him.
He's obviously limited but the handicapper did him a favour here and the runner-up Allez Cool ran another sound race to be beaten half a length on his first outing over three miles. He's an honest sort who is really starting to strengthen up and he will hopefully turn out to be one of Mr Wade's better sorts.
Jac The legend didn't particularly take the eye while Deportation again looked on good terms but is clearly not very good.
On to Catterick tomorrow and hopefully one or two more clear cut opportunities.