I'll keep this as brief as I can as time is pressing. A good card for Gosforth Park, plenty of interest particularly from a paddock perspective. The ground was generally good to soft, not much worse, despite the car parks being under water.
Bestiarius was the nicest in the paddock for the opener but is more one for the future and I thought he'd improve for the outing. Sam Spinner was raring to go, very fit and his bumper form was useful. He hasn't grown an inch, and if any day was going to be his day then this would be it. He duly obliged and jumped ok in the main for a small horse - I'd be wary as to how well he builds on this, especially under a penalty.
I didn't mind Atomix, but he needs another summer to furnish, while Think Ahead looked massive on his first start for J Moffatt. Handicaps will be the plan. ACDC and Applaus looked straight enough but again they'll be sized up for a mark and can win races.
The second was a cracker and Pistol Park was backed off the boards to land a novice chase full of intrigue. He showed bags of promise over further last time and was ridden as if defeat was out of the question.
Lake View Lad will obviously win races over fences, and ran very well considering this was needed, while Boss des Mottes ran a super race in third and appears to be holding form for his new handler. he may flourish in this smaller yard.
Chidswell had the form but he looks far from straight forward - in fact if he was human you'd call him an idiot. His jumping got worse and he's just messing about, like the kid at the back of the class. This was a huge backward step.
The staying handicap chase wasn't for the faint hearted, St Gregory unsurprisingly upholding recent form to land a hat-trick despite a market drift. He saw off the late thrust of Onwiththeparty, a chasing type who looks certain to build on this as his finishing effort was better than last time at Ayr. Charlie Wingnut faded out of things and looked a patent non-stayer at this stiff 3m.
The mares hurdle looked a three-runner affair and I had Berkshire Downs down as the one to beat on the form book, ahead of Book At Bedtime and Verona Opera. The market fell in line, but not before we got filled 5/1 and downwards on the Thomson mare.
However, she's very lengthy, leggy, and not straight forward - despite this I hadn't condemned her as a dodgepot as she seemed to keep bumping into one. But you'd have to crab her effort up the straight, a questionable head carriage making life difficult for the excellent Cook. He couldn't have done much more, but Book At Bedtime was far more honest from two out and ran right to the line to deny the gamble.
Verona Opera was flattered last time out and she's a small filly with little scope - she'll remain one to oppose - while Rivabodiva threatened to spoilt the party but she quickly backed out of it and her temperament is very much under suspicion.
The handicap chase was a very tricky puzzle and I'm not sure the form is up to much. Jet Master ran Roquero out of it close home and the next two Rear Admiral and Zaru were both fit enough to run their races. I must note here that the K Johnson horses are all looking exceptionally fit and well at present. Something's gone on in that yard and if they have any decent horses in the kennel they could be worth following in the coming weeks. The Menzies horses, by contrast, are way behind everyone else and Water Garden badly needed it.
The bumper was trappy as nothing really stood out on looks, and there were many negatives including the favourite Nando, an unraced 50k animal. He looked very backward, immature physically, and was no price.
The next pair in the betting were May Star and and the unfortunately named Solighoster. The former had ok form for K Ryan last term, when he looked very green, and he still appears on the leggy side and needs time to strengthen.
Solighoster looked a more relaxed, professional sort who reportedly showed a good attitude to win his maiden point. None of the others looked forward enough to get involved and the pair duly fought it out, the Mulholland youngster sticking his head down to win well in the end. Irish raider Well Joey took third, but like so many from the Crawford kennel lacked any substance whatsoever.