I'm officially sick of the place. Too much crappy racing and not enough good horses. One or two races worth coming for, and frankly it's better to stay at home.
Having warned clients not to be drawn into backing Duhallowcountry in the opener, despite seemingly having optimum conditions and a 'pro' jock in the plate for once, I'm drawn into backing the beast in the total absence of a better solution.
Can we back a J Ewart 7/4 chance? Ever? No, we damn well can't. Sky Full Of Stars PU. However, after going off like stink, our hero is also, PU. Ghastly stuff. But what do you do when there's a black line through everything else. Stay at home, is the answer.
Mahlerdramatic is scratched from the novice hurdle leaving Skelton's chaser in the making The Bay Oak a warm order. And rightly so. He bumped into a goodun here last time and compensation looked assured.
Tiger Mountain has been very slow on the uptake, but he looked capable of landing the place money in a weak event as Easterby's Min Alemarat is regressing with each run. Tiger Mountain will need more real estate to win next time, but that's what I expect him to do.
I'm not sure about flat exile Aramist. He's got a bit about him but this wasn't a great start. Priory Lad ran a huge race for a huge horse and he should pick up a handicap in the New Year.
Viens Chercher was taken out of the 'decent' handicap chase for novices where Waiting Patiently had been touted for some time. A nice horse with a serious engine, his form with 'hope of the north' Cloudy Dream looked good in this context. At 'levels you devils' I wasn't tempted, but he did it very well and considering he looks just a baby, I think he could be very good indeed. You can trust his new handler to do the right thing.
Nansaroy is big and needed it, Sean Ban was very lean fit but ran a stinker. Burtons Well was fit after an absence, he's not massive but nicely put together and bumped into one here.
Back to the drudgerie of a 0-105 handicap hurdle and Discoverie landed some bets at his favourite venue. He stuck his head down and battled it out which he doesn't always do. He was well placed to win.
Mitcd looked in terrific order but was probably found out by the ground, which was a big worry beforehand. Back at Muss, she can win again. Fiddler's Flight wasn't quite ready but will probably remain competitive in these as the season goes on.
Greyed A had R Johnson in the plate for Div II and he stood out like a beacon in the paddock. He looked a 120 horse against cretins and 2/1 was like shooting fish in a barrel. It was that kind of day. Having slid down the ratings Stilo Blue Native decided today was the day to put it all in. In fairness it was another winner for the J Wade >> (name your trainer) system - a gift that is likely to keep on giving.
With that said I took a view in the handicap chase that the ex-Wade Nortonthorpelegend was one to be against at around 3.25 (that's digital for less than 9/4 BTW). Doubts over the ground (I'm later to learn they nearly took in out), stamina queries and Hughes surely can't ride another four-timer can he? In he goes without touching a twig.
Nakadam was terrible again despite having things in his favour, Jonny Eager probably needed the run and wants to be at the front in a real stamina test. Attimo was fit for a very big unit and I thought he showed up well and perhaps didn't get home. Master Rajeem looked in good heart but his finishing effort was dreadful, almost unrideable from two out.
The bumper was alright - Born For War (strong staying chase type), Codeshare (flat bred, surely wants better ground) and Dear Sire, who looked to have grown and strengthened from last season. However, Oxwich Bay had run in that good Newbury bumper, form which gave him a serious chance in this.
He's a backward looking animal but won with a bit to spare, and should do very well in time.