A really drab day's action at the M6 track with very little business - only three of the six races providing any real betting opportunities.
The going was on the soft side of good but looked quite dead in parts, although they were mostly getting home okay.
The opening handicap hurdle looked really competitive and paddock watchers wouldn't have been at all surprised to see Handiwork go close on his return from a break at a big price - he looked really fit and well and almost took the honours.
The winner Purple 'n Gold wasn't much to look at but scored a deserved victory after numerous consistent efforts, while Minella Hero once again found the higher class beyond him - although I remain convinced in this grade he would be best under a hold-up ride.
A Boy Named Suzi appeared sure to run his race as he looked very well indeed, but poor hurdling once again proved his downfall and this small horse may continue to struggle over timber.
War Singer looked fit and well - Satanic Beat and Street Entertainer were in need of the run.
The staying chase looked impossible and for once I didn't get involved. Itstimeforapint looked really well in itself but is very lean now and after nine visits to the track this season you wonder whether one more will be too many. He also needs softer ground.
Several of them looked as though they had had a hard season, and ran accordingly, although Josies Orders has not come to himself yet and will be very well handicapped when he does. Shinooki looked well but never went a yard.
Masterful Act was a shade of odds on to win under a penalty in the next but he'll struggle under a revised mark if he jumps like he did here, failing to take a cut at any of his hurdles.
Nexius has run well all season in good company and picked up the pieces in style. A non-runner robbed punters of each-way betting but at 8s you could still have given this nice looking horse a shot at the win. Note to self; never be afraid of one horse!
The handicap chase over 2m 4f provided a conundrum as Roberto Pegasus looked one to take on. He was a bit too obvious if you know what I mean and his one previous outing over fences at Plumpton hadn't convinced me, and on close inspection he's not all that big.
In fact, it was hard to back anything else although Galway Jack looked in great heart, and as this is his time of year was booked for a good run despite being handicapped to the hilt.
In the end he was turned over by the rag Carrigdhoun, a big unit who you would have thought would improve for the outing, plus he was running over a trip too short without the headgear he wore to success when last seen ages ago.
He was hard to find but then a bit of 'out-the-box' thinking may have got you there. Ambion Wood looked ok but has had loads of issues and really it was hard to like the others - Rowdy Rocher doesn't really take the eye and it was not surprising he failed to build on that Wetherby win.
The absence of A Vos Gardes meant Three Faces West faced a fairly simple task in the fixed brush race although the Williams runner Wild Bill is a very likeable animal and they came for it strongly in the market.
The way the pair scuttled clear suggests they will be alright with the latter certainly one to keep an eye on.
The bumper looked a penalty kick for the attractive looking Board Of Trade and the opening 4/6 looked real value against a backward looking bunch. It was surprising that he made such hard work of it in the end.