It was a shocking day for the favourites, bar the very short-priced filly Full Day, and things went wrong for punters early doors when Be My Present failed to back up her easy Hexham win.
She was cherry ripe that day and went very freely so I was concerned the step up to 2m4f might be the undoing of her, although in fairness two poor leaps down the far side effectively put paid to her chances. She doesn't carry much condition and it remains to be seen if she can go on.
The winner Pay The King looked okay, just better for the outing, for his first run for M Hammond after leaving P Nicholls, and basically outstayed Quick Brew on the run to the line.
The latter, rated an exposed 106, sets the mark for the race and it doesn't say much for the rest. J Wade's Aiaam Al Namoos could be alright given time but he was warm beforehand and novicey over the jumps, running on at one pace. He'll stay 3m. The only other to take out of it was Sue Smith's rangy chasing type Friendly Royal, who showed up well for some way.
|Aiaam Al Namoos: Nice horse got very warm before the opener|
The second Pertuis has gone backwards on the flat but looked really fit and perky, which he usually does, while the third Narcissist will improve markedly on this judging by what we saw beforehand. Teenage Dream looked well but ran no sort of race while stablemate Red Inca was very fit but may have a wind problem according to the trainer.
The big handicap chase was a trappy affair with Silver Roque tipped in several quarters while Trustan Times was well-backed despite seemingly having plenty against him (the talk afterwards was that the thing wasn't here to win so you wonder where the cash came from). Both looked well enough but i couldn't find the angle in.
I did think the third Viva Colonia would take a step back in the right direction in a less competitive race while Mwaleshi and Off the Ground looked fine without being fully wound up. Cedre Bleu looks a lazy sod even walking round the paddock and it's unlikely the move to Charlie Mann's will work the oracle.
It was left to the stocky Shadows Lengthen to bolt in at long odds and improve his sensational strike rate, but he looked weighted to his best and even though the others fell by the wayside he's clearly posted a personal best.
The Listed juvenile hurdle is barely worth a paragraph with Full Day rallying to beat the 100-rated Magic Magnolia close. The winner is far better than this and will do better in a strongly run race and possibly with some headgear on.
|Full Day didn't need to be at her best to pick up a poor Listed race|
Beau Dandy has long been one to oppose but he did look on great terms with himself on this return from a lay-off and was predictably backed to win, only to flatter once more. Only softer ground will see him in better light as he's fast running out of excuses.
Big Sound has had a great year for connections but the weight and the bigger fences finally found out this small horse, while Pyjama Game got warm and seems to have lost interest. Newspage is of interest when he gets to run off his real mark - he is way better than a horse rated 69.
The finale was a ghastly affair in which the lightly raced Silver Vogue was the paddock pick, arguably the fittest of the Smith team to be seen out this season. With that in mind it was a tad disappointing he couldn't go through with his effort but perhaps just greenness stopped him from winning.
The winner Trafficker looked big, keen and got warm beforehand and couldn't be backed at 16s, while Oscar O'Scar, Head Of the Class and Don't Call Me Oscar headed the market but have all had their problems.
The former had been given plenty of work though and may well have won but for running out at the second last. Compensation may await.
I may well give Wetherby a miss tomorrow as there's possibly only one race I'm interested in from a punting perspective. Secrete Stream wasn't right last time out and with the handicapper dropping him a handy 2lb he could rate a strong bet in the penultimate race on the card.