A bright sunny day and racing on officially goodish ground, although they weren't exactly rattling home and looked a bit dead, with times confirming it was more like good to soft.
The opener was an okay sort of novice although they weren't a fantastic looking bunch all told, especially considering the cost of some of them. As expected On The Blind Side looked best, as Henderson's often does, but he's just an embryo of a horse with strengthening to do.
Global Citizen has some quality about him without looking anything special, while Aye Aye Charlie, Almost Gold and Perfect Harmony look good chasing types for the future. Another Stowaway is tall and will relish a fence.
They went no pace for a over a circuit and so we didn't learn much about them, Global Citizen showing just one pace after pulling quite hard. The least appealing were Enniscoffey Oscar, a really unfurnished son of Oscar, and Skelton's New Quay, a plain looking Mahler that was carrying loads of condition.
There was a staying handicap next and while eventual winner Bon Chic was overlooked by all, runner-up Black Ivory looked really well and is a nice big horse who looks certain to keep improving this term up at 3m, and will relish a fence.
Red Infantry was cherry ripe but has proved disappointing and again his effort flattened out here, while Almost Gemini was likely to improve for the trip but he was on and off the bridle and is becoming difficult to win with.
Another Frontier looked by far the better of the Twiston-Davies pair, the well backed favourite Verygoodverygood looking a pretty moderate type that appeared to be carrying condition after six weeks off.
The veterans chase was fiendishly difficult as nothing brought solid claims, the well-supported winner The Romford Pele providing T George with a much needed winner on his first outing for the yard.
A lot of these looked marginally in need of the run, including the two Smith runners that had already had a spin over hurdles, while Theatrical Star looked well but again was let down by jumping.
The handicap hurdle saw Bags Groove go off a very well-backed favourite and he travelled like a dream throughout, delivering after the last in the style of a well-handicapped horse.
Stamp Your Feet continues to suggest he has a decent pot in him and ran into one here, but he's a lovely scopey sort that will improve further over fences in time. Inner Drive looked in tremendous form and very fit, but there were one or two not straight here including Return Flight and, more interestingly, Bobo Mac.
Ballyalton wasn't fully tuned up and will have landed in a few notebooks, while Three Musketeers ran on from the back under tender handling and there'll be a good race in him back over fences this winter.
The Old Roan was a cracking heat and I was of the opinion that the younger legs would come to the fore; but I was wrong.
Smad Place was undoubtedly well handicapped but the drop to 2m4f didn't look the move he wanted and he didn't look especially tight around the belly either. But he was nibbled at in the market and ridden with confidence, and you always got the impression he was going to outstay Cloudy Dream from the last.
Jefferson's grey has grown and strengthened and was another grey that looked as though he'd improve for the outing. I didn't think he was especially well treated on this first sortie out of novice company but he beat Oldgrangewood by further than at Ayr in the Spring on worse terms, suggesting this was a very big effort indeed.
I had the Skelton horse down as one to have onside here but he wasn't that strong in the betting and just ran okay to take third, and possibly softer ground would serve him better. This was his stiffest test to date and I do think he'll have a good winter.
Bouvreuil came in for support but he was by no means the best of these on looks and continues to frustrate; he's not one for any notebook and looks a difficult conveyence.
You could say the same of Traffic Fluide, who is running out of excuses after a more prominent sit here, staying on again when it was all over. He may want it softer but isn't one to be chasing over a cliff.
God's Own looked well but ran as though he needed it quite badly, but Aso ran on well and he could be interesting this year as stamina looks to be his forte and he loves the soft. He'll improve fitness-wise.
Vintage Clouds was well backed for the staying chase and the world and his wife knows he's a very well handicapped horse. However, soft ground and a trip are pre-requisites and with all the fences omitted up the straight this could have turned into a sprint.
But they went a fair pace, and the absence of the fences probably suited him more than most as jumping isn't really his forte. He's always needed his first run of the season and again looked a bit tubby. It's hard to know where he goes from here, and an 18 length win means he'll go up plenty for winning a race that has fallen apart.
Ballyarthur is a tank of a horse but he not the most mobile and was clumsy on the second circuit, that being said he'd have preferred if all the fences had been jumped. He'd finished weakly on many occasions over timber and he may be one that never finds much off the bridle. He looked fit.
Nobuttaboy is a good looking sort who will improve for the run. He might not be particularly well treated, but should pick up a race or two this winter. Some Kinda Lama hasn't taken to fences yet, but it's early days, he didn't look great in his coat, and the Scottish National could be a target as he likes good ground and has bottomless stamina.
Not many took the eye in a big field of mares for the closing bumper where Posh Trish stood out as an imposing physical specimen, who looked well forward for this debut.
She looked beaten when Grageelagh Girl cruised upsides but pulled out plenty and has a bright future. Schiaparannie has plenty of size and should excel over timber, while others for the future include Forget Me Knot and Jet Set.