Good to soft ground after some overnight rain but you'd think it was bottomless the way a modest bunch of juveniles came home in the opener, Pam Sly cast-off Fabianski routing them for The Menzies yard, who may just be turning a corner.
All eyes were on the handicap chase though as early prices had been taken about unexposed novices Pookie Pekan and Cash To Ash, and the support continued on course as they went off 11/4 joints.
Pookie had looked rather unfurnished when seen over hurdles here last season, when fluking victory, but he had strengthened up no end and looked really fit after a sound reappearance in a hot race at Carlisle.
Sent on from the outset, he once again jumped with great accuracy and this natural ability could well see him follow in the hoofprints of illustrious stablemate Captain Redbeard.
He never looked like getting beaten despite being shadowed all the way up the straight by Cash To Ash, whose connections can consider themselves most unfortunate to have bumped into a similarly well-treated animal.
Cash To Ash, a sturdy sort, had proven consistent over timber and showed great promise at Hexham on his return, backing that up here with a solid display, popping away quietly while creeping into contention.
Both the front pair will appreciate 3m in time and while the handicapper will inflict some measure of revenge, these are progressive horses.
Le Chapeau was well beaten off once again and continued the quiet month for Sue Smith, whose horses have yet to hit their straps despite being fully wound up.
Outgoing jolly Whin Park may need time; a big sort he's a bit weak in front and completely lost his confidence after a few hairy leaps.
The novice hurdle was split with division one looking much the stronger, and it saw a lucky winner in Encore Champs, who looked a one-paced second best prior to the untimely departure at the last of the light-framed, yet clearly talented Extra Mag.
This was a disappointing performance from the winner, a decent looking sort who battled well to land a competitive bumper at Ffos Las, however he didn't appear to find a great deal when the chips were down here.
Well-backed favourite Lord Yeats probably wasn't asked to set strong enough fractions, this tough stayer on the level rallying late in the day but his chance had long gone. He seemed to jump well enough barring some early inexperience and the race shouldn't be lost on him.
The winner of the second division came home nearly five seconds behind Encore Champs, and even without the evidence of the clock the race has a dubious look it with low-grade handicap types Regarde Moi and Drumochter finishing close up.
Of the pair, Drumochter was always going to be a more likely sort but this has rather blown his cover.
Imperial Acolyte took the spoils but doesn't appeal as one likely to be able to defy a penalty, while the effort of The Very Thing was a disappointing one as he looks the part being a horse of size and scope. He does at least have time on his side.
There was plenty of pace on in the handicap chase over the minimum trip but Theflyingportrait has demonstrated that he doesn't have to dominate nowadays and he was able to sit off the crazy pace set by the runaway Horst, having loads in the tank up the home straight where he gained lengths at the fences.
The handicapper is now likely to put an end to his winning ways for long into the distance, but it was fun while it lasted (at least for those who kept the faith this autumn). Robbing The Prey may well have chased him home but for unshipping B Hughes five out, but it's stretching it to think the result would have been that different.
Special Catch looked in good order for all that he would come on for it, and he stayed on nicely having been hampered to suggest there's a race in him over further despite his advancing years.
Always Resolute looked ridiculously well-handicapped in the handicap hurdle under a decent claimer and he dotted up despite over-racing and blundering early on, he has clearly been revitalised by a stable switch.
The mares bumper looked competitive and while the market was dominated by two good looking types that had shown earlier promise, there were several worth taking out of it for the future.
The winner Shantewe produced a real nice turn of foot to take the prize back to Lambourn, a compact active filly she is just the sort to win another of these.
Rosie And Millie was the most forward and put her experience to good use, while others to take the eye physically included Peaceful Valley and Secret Getaway.
Deadringerforlove put in a laboured shift but has a bit of quality about her, while Anightinlambourn faded out of things and was very disappointing.