Once again a little bit light in the 'pointers' column, and a quiet punting day overall with a handful of warm favourites doing the business.
Longsdon and Johnson joined up to take the first and last races with a couple of promising types in Western Miller and Monbeg Charmer.
Both are quite athletic sorts, of just medium build, but clearly have engines. The former pulled hard and did not jump well but was confidently sent on by Johnson at halfway and it proved to be a winning move. However, he'll need to brush up that jumping if he is to defy a penalty.
In a poor opener, the second and third Tickenwolf and Jonniesofa should benefit from the outing, while Classic Palace is painfully slow and appears hideously treated at present.
The Grey Taylor let this column down at Wetherby but looked a good thing back over 2m, although I couldn't help snaffling some early 10s about the lovely chase prospect Special Wells even though ground and trip were against it.
The Smith horses are looking really well albeit short of a run but this looked fitter than most and was sent of 7/2. Value doesn't pay the bills as one wag once told me but he will really shine when the rain comes, and I expect him to stay 3m in due course. He was on the short list for my horses to follow.
The handicap hurdle over the minimum may well prove to be a very good race for the track with the juvenile Hadfield battling on well to deny Shear Rock a four-timer.
The latter is a lovely strong horse who may not have stopped winning yet. The pair were clear of Boruma in third, who was only out for a 'sighter' but ran on so well he was the most obvious eye-catcher on the card.
Back down to the mark off which he won at Donny last term, this buzzy sort can improve fitness-wise for this and looks sure to progress this term. He came down twice over fences last season with the race at his mercy and he's a hurdler on looks so I hope they keep him to timber for now.
Stable mate Turtle Cask took a run or two to gain full fitness last season and he was most out of shape for his return in the later handicap hurdle - running a remarkable race to finish fourth. He's another to keep a very close eye on as he revels in soft ground and will stay further.
In the same race a horse called Mac N Cheese ran another race full of promise. I wrote a good deal about him here and this run only enhanced the view that he will prove a well-handicapped horse when faced with soft ground and a stamina test.
I couldn't figure out either of the handicap chases and although likeable types both Settledoutofcourt and Gleann Na Dochais don't win anywhere near as often as their raw ability might suggest.
Both got fine rides from Russell inmates Fox and Nichol, certainly the latter winning that race with a bold move to strike for home three fences out. It wasn't a strong event but just desserts for a winner at the top of his game.
I had a strong view in the closing bumper and in seeing Gully's Edge in the flesh for the first time that view was confirmed that he is one to take on in the short to medium term.
I thought he gave both his bumper races away last term when twice defeated in close finishes, and he was recalcitrant upon leaving the paddock here. This big, rangy 3m chase prospect could be useful in time, but he looks very immature mentally at present.
Fitness-wise he should come on quite a lot for this, and I've no doubt that connections will now send this big horse over timber next where he will need at least 2m 4f.
However, until I see him go through with his effort off the bridle I'll be parked in the pink side of the book.