The end of a busy week and month but much more inspiring fare than of late and goodish ground greeted the runners, at least that's what the time figures suggested, although there was juice in the ground.
The opening novice hurdle was interesting as it featured an eight-year-old maiden from the Greatrex yard, that is an out-and-out chaser on looks.
What he was doing at the head of the market I do not know, and with Master Of Finance and Blue Hussar much nippier types off the flat he wasn't likely to get away from them over the minimum trip.
So it proved, with Blue Hussar fully proving his latest effort at Doncaster to be no fluke by winning with loads in hand, although Master Of Finance went down fighting giving away 9lb.
They'll surely go over fences with King's Hussar now but he'd be one to take on as he doesn't move great and has clearly had issues, while Skywards Reward is quite a strong sort who should hold his own once handicapped.
The handicap chase that followed was a poor race full of exposed, disappointing types and the less said about it the better.
Gin Cobbler only tends to win in his turn, usually when he's been written off, while Roxyfet has been a long way below last season's form and is starting to look difficult under pressure. Chestnut Ben continued the fine fun of the Winks family.
The next looked a really competitive handicap hurdle over an intermediate trip where several could be fancied, which meant the money for Robintheaulad was a bit of a surprise given he had a lot to prove.
He's a big raw chaser for next year and this season has been a write-off, but he'll come back stronger no doubt.
Little Bruce had been mentioned favourably on the blog earlier in the campaign he looks a different horse now after a solid season and he was very fit here.
He's a bonny little horse and by Yeats was always likely to run to the line. Things seemed to fall into his lap but it's hard to fault him. Turtle Cask looked much better than usual beforehand and his turn may be soon for all that he is not great off the bridle.
He should be able to win a smaller race than this and in fairness the front three came well clear. Magic Dancer has the size to jump a fence and although he was a stayer on the flat he was paddling a bit close home. He may prove hard to win with.
Similar sentiments may apply to the Pipe's Stay Out Of Court, who had been under pressure prior to falling three out and could prove tripless.
Everything looked in place for Swing Hard to repeat last week's win if he was over a quite hard race that day, but the cash for Open Hearted was interesting having seen his mark fall after a few spins in hunters.
He looked really well and it wasn't easy to fancy the others, particularly Volt Face who looked by some way the smallest, and pretty keen to get on with things. He was dropped right out and Johnson did well to get him round. I'd oppose him in weaker races than this.
A sorry postscript to this race was that Swing Hard came in very lame in front, let's hope it's not as serious as it looked.
A tricky looking handicap over the minimum came next and although the mark looked harsh, especially as he hadn't been dropped for getting beat miles last time, Mortens Leam was one I wanted on side as he looked really well and bigger than I remembered.
He's well related, and most of the Sly horses are, and he'll keep improving, especially if they ride him with more restraint, and a race at Fakenham should be there for the taking.
He faded into third here behind Suggestion, who still looks really raw and backward, but dispelled the belief that he was poorly handicapped by coming home best with a long raking stride.
G'Day Aussie lost ground at one down the back and that may have cost him as he came home really strongly, unlike Monfass who travelled into it really well but found nothing; he may have over-raced.
The hunter went to Ardea who is a striking looking individual and has probably run to a similar mark on each of his three runs this term. It's doubtful there's much more improvement in him, but he's good in this grade.
Thetalkinghorse also appeared to run to form, which means Shantou Prince is a useful recruit. I'd seen him in a couple of points last term and he looked really nice, and in fairness he's not done much wrong in that sphere.
He's a big strong horse and although this run has telegraphed it somewhat, he should take all the beating in the 'Heart' at Hexham next month for maiden hunters, won last year by Ardea.
The bumper looked a competitive race but although they were an ok looking bunch nothing really impressed, with the Henderson horse Duke Debarry possibly needing the run as he's a burly sort.
Minella Warrior was a well-backed favourite on the back of his run in a Listed race but I wasn't massively taken by him and the one that regularly caught the eye was eventual winner Kalashnikov.
Although slightly weak in front you'd expect that of a four-year-old but he looked a nice prospect and forward to boot, and I'm still wondering why he went unbacked at 12s as he's related to that fine mare Kalane, a 140-horse.
These bumpers are guesswork to an extent but it's usually worth having a stab, especially when odds like that are on the table. I'm guessing this horse won't be a double figure price for some time to come.
Itsnonofurbusiness had a bit of a reputation but there wasn't much of him and a market drift told the story there, while New List is quite small and he looks a plodder despite his speedy pedigree. As northern bumpers go though, it was right up there.