A trappy little card on ground softened by rain since the last meeting here on going that looked good to soft at worst. It was one of those days when you look back and think you could have found all the winners with a bit of hard work and luck. Sadly the reality was and usually is quite different.
The opener pitted Bonne Question against Iniciar. Neither made tremendous appeal physically - especially the latter who while not looking as bad as at Donny earlier this season, is a still a light framed type.
Sioux Chieftain was the only feasible alternative to the market leaders and he is a stronger looking animal than a lot of Newland's. He looked fit enough though and showed a decent turn of foot to upset the odds on the front pair.
They went no sort of gallop here and that may have played into the winner's hands, who was decent on the flat. While the winner may be ok, I'm a tad cautious on the form.
I had to take on Wolf Sword after the shenanigans here 10 days ago. Again he was well backed but the issues that troubled me then were just as relevant today and although I couldn't find the winner a decent lay at around 6/4 was rewarding enough.
You could have laid the front two after Tsar Aexandre was heavily backed despite having shown very little over fences to date. Big and lengthy - a bit of boat if you ask me - I couldn't see him winning and at the age of nine time is not on his side.
I smashed into Lowcarr Motion 10 days ago as though defeat was out of the question (it was!) but to my great dismay he was scratched at the start of racing. On this slower ground I was concerned and I felt he was the sort that needed everything in his favour.
The short story is the beast never went a yard but latched on to the leading trio turning in and always looked like winning in the end. He was handicapped to do just that but I was left to kick myself very hard indeed - especially after telling myself to stop worrying so much about going and its many variations.
The fact was that the race wasn't up to much - the drift on Pennywell unsurprising given the horse looked small and didn't move great - it's clear he's not well handicapped. Mr Snoozy attracted loads of support but is hardly the type to be wading into having gone almost three years without a win.
Karisma King showed a bit more under strong handling and they will find the key to this decent type in due course. Theatrical Style is what he is, ie moderate.
The handicap chase over about 2m4f was a poor affair in which you would struggle to back one of the quintet. Punters latched onto Ballyvaughn who had won on his chase debut at Stratford, but he was a very short price indeed to follow up that fortunate success.
He's a nice horse but very free going and he had nothing left in the straight. Crown And Glory had shown a bit of form at Doncaster last term but he'd been off a year and shown nothing on his return at the weekend.
I couldn't have it on my mind but won very easily indeed, which probably says more about the opposition than him. He didn't even look that great beforehand. A baffling result, to be honest. Brother Scott looked fit and well and probably ran his race in second.
Another favourite worth taking on was Three Colours Red and at least we got that one right. The juvenile did not look straight forward at Haydock last week and the cheekies applied here didn't seem to make much difference.
Again it was a day for the layers and not the players. El Massivo wasn't easy to find but fairly scooted away after returning from a short break. Summer Storm was fit from a longer absence but has yet to show he retains much ability.
I quite like backing new recruits to the hunter chase game from the Point field and Thetalkinghorse was quite a nice individual to look at, and frankly it would have been disappointing if he hadn't disposed of decent yardstick Railway Dillon.
The bumper looked a toss up between decent previous winners Keeper Hill and Betameche. Except they didn't bet like that - the hype machine favouring the former trained by W Greatrex.
He certainly looks the part and if memory serves correctly appears to have grown since winning at Market Rasen for Ronald O'Leary, when he showed a fair amount of stamina.
He travelled like the winner here but was woefully one-paced in the straight and ended a very disappointing day for the trainer, whose record at the track (does that really have a bearing on a horse's chance?) is now worse by three.
Betameche was impressive after looking immature throughout the race. It may be argued that Richards>Skelton is a trainer upgrade - I wouldn't want to comment on that! But judging by this he has moved on significantly from his Newcastle debut and appeals as the sort to go on improving for his excellent yard.
As mentioned here previously Captain Moirette is a lovely big chaser in the making but is very young for one so big and will need plenty of time before he starts to fulfil his undoubted potential.