It wasn't a very 'puntable' card but there were plenty for notebook fans and some very definite markers for next time.
We can skip straight past the opener seller for obvious reasons, and into the novices handicap hurdle where the top one Routine Procedure very much took the eye.
R Dickin's youngster is clearly a chaser in waiting but looked in very good order indeed. However, someone obviously knew better as no sooner as I had nibbled at the 10s it whizzed out to double those odds on the machine. I might as well have set fire to a load of notes.
But stick it in the notebook for the longer term - nice horse. Westend Theatre is another one for the future and probably softer ground. He needs to grow into his rear end and fences will bring out the best in him.
Madrasa has been punted many times this term and again they came for it and this time things fell into place. Aren't the Reveley's having a good season? Lowcarr Motion ran a funny old race and again shaped as though further would suit, but he may be just a 'closer'. I'm slightly wary at this stage.
The next was a horrid affair from a punting perspective but fair play to Cowslip who is not a looker but was able to follow up that Carlisle win off a much higher perch. The Moore yard is in a rare hot patch and could have one or two more before the spring is out.
Back By Midnight did not look fit after a short absence but Abricot De L'Oasis looked great even though the market was negative towards his chances. Readers with a good memory will know I was singing the praises of Jokers And Rogues earlier in the campaign and he looked the winner turning in.
I was ruing not having something on at big odds but once again he fell in a hole off the bridle and it's a shame there appears to be an issue as this horse has a fine cruising speed. I don't know if it needs further, where it can keep going at the same pace for longer, or shorter if it struggles for stamina. It will jump a fence and maybe that could be the key - I don't think the attitude is a problem.
I swerved the three-horse novice as Carole's Destrier looked different gravy while Wolf Shield ran to his mark for the Moore yard. Creepy looked very lean and hasn't stood his racing.
Arthurs Secret was all the rage ahead of the handicap hurdle but this novice is not over big to carry top weight and I wanted to get against it with Watt Broderick, who is a fabulous looking animal that looked in great heart.
Quite what the jockey was thinking I don't know as I was expecting it to be under lock and key early doors, but he had to send it on turning in as it was going so well. The result may not have been any different but he should have kicked in rather than just wait for the others to come to him. Personally this was a proof of a horse in good order and with a conservative ride we can retrieve losses.
The ride on Weapon Of Choice was another to perplex as this miler on the flat surely needs riding for a bit of toe - not going from the front pulling for its head. For it to be jumping the last upsides is testament to its ability and he too should win this spring with a hold-up ride.
As you can gather I felt Rock A Doodle Doo rather picked up the pieces here as it looked weighted up to its best, but fair play to connections who have seen it hit the bar a few times.
|Cape York: Good looking animal, attractive odds|
On this occasion they should have suited as the pace was somewhat frenetic with Pinerolo and Cape York taking each other on, but the jolly was still spotting them a fair distance.
Having backed Cape York in the morning I wasn't disappointed that Hughes took up a prominent role as this is a horse who looked capable of winning from this mark having not looked right at all when the trainer was out of form.
Moody last time, he is the sort to benefit from blinds and the in-form M Jefferson duly obliged and the beast was worth a dabble at double figures in a race where I couldn't have the likes Pinerolo, Allanard or Special Bar at any price.
It looked for all the world as if Brendy was going to do us out of it but the effort in making up the ground was wasted after the last, as Cape York under a sound ride from Hughes hit back to land the spoils. It's worth repeating if connections of the grey happen to reading (doubtful I know) - pop him out in front and he'll win 10 lengths.
The bumper was interesting in that Tom Lacey's Younevercall was backed all day, probably after the trainer had a 20/1 bumper winner last month. I was expecting to see a superstar but to be honest I was disappointed and to my eyes the thing needed the run.
Maybe the algos and bandwagon-hoppers got the move going I don't know, but the smart cash surely came for the eventual winner Welsh Shadow, who looked a nice handy sort who was fit to do the job.
Dueling Banjos set a very decent benchmark and is a nice strong sort who is sure to do well over timber, so the victory of the Skelton runner was all the more meritorious.
Fact Of The Matter looked like a nice horse although a work in progress, while John Dory didn't really walk very well behind but stayed on well under a tender enough ride.