Jacks Last Hope doesn't look all that but had to be a very short price judged on his latest effort, although he was made to work by Mixboy, who settled much better on his first hurdles start.
However the form doesn't amount to much as the rest looked pretty poor.
The juvenile was interesting in that the money came for newcomer Chivers, who was the nicest looking jumper on show but who would surely need more of a test than this.
Another short-priced jolly went in here in the shape of El Beau, who kept pulling out more and has done well to win two on the spin. Shimba Hills stayed on well to take the minors and although neither have much scope they may do okay if kept to the right level. Chivers ran fine considering and he can do better given a test.
|El Beau looked good in defying a penalty|
I didn't want to be on the wrong side of Apache Pilot after his gallant debut effort over fences last time and he was a worthy if unbackable jolly. In fairness the rest looked in pretty decent shape and it looked quite a competitive event of its type.
The one I didn't like was Debt To Society, who isn't a great looker, got a bit warm and doesn't jump fences very well. Imagine my horror as three live opponents came down leaving a match down the home straight, with the favourite failing to get us out of jail thanks in good part to the failings of his jockey.
However, the 'get out of jail' card was played in the nick of time in what amounts to a total fiasco, which yet again paints the sport in a dark light. We dodged a shell there but by the time the 'void race' news came through our thoughts were already turned to the day's banker.
Runswick Days had been cajoled to victory by the excellent B Hughes here last time and he appealed as very much the type to repeat the feat in a similar contest.
It was surprising yet pleasing that the market held up as money came for Silver Vogue and Midnight Streaker. The former is a great big baby who effectively handed the race to Trafficker at Wetherby last time, when he was the paddock pick.
Whether he's got an attitude or just immature only time will tell but it was an ideal scenario that saw the grey hit front between the last two to give Runswick Days a great tow into the last. From there I was always confident J Wade's youngster would find enough to land the spoils again and no doubt in-running players got better than the 7/4 I was happy enough to take.
I had put Amir Pasha in at 5/2 on my tissue and he rated a superb lay at much shorter odds prior to the handicap hurdle over two miles. And the old rogue looked as though he'd got out of the straw the wrong side as he mooched around the paddock with a face like a smacked arse.
I had been determined to find the winner and ploughed into course specialist Stanley Bridge in the morning only to see his price virtually double on the machine at show time. Sure enough he looked in poor shape on this second run after a short absence but his time is coming round again and at least he fulfilled each-way duties.
The dough came for Sea Rocket but although the thing looked fit and well I couldn't have it on my mind having shown zilch in three outings, while Captain Sharpe and Ardesia weren't ready.
I'd thrown a few quid at Wade's Casual Cavalier with blinkers on for the first time on his handicap debut and he showed his first piece of form. He's a big athletic sort who needs more time, distance and a fence, but this was a better effort.
|The punt on Orchard Road came out of the blue|
Sadly I had to sit out the 2m handicap chase as it looked such a tricky puzzle to solve. I didn't particularly like the front two in the market but Brother Scott looked better than he's done so far this term and this was his big chance.
Fair-minded sorts were willing to give him another go as to be fair he had run into a couple of good ones in Montoyas Son and Uno Valoroso, even though there was a suspicion he hadn't put it all in.
Unfortunately for backers those fears were confirmed as he was unable to get past 67-rated Zazamix after a protracted battle, leaving the luckless Sue Smith without a winner since Bennys Well on the 10th of this month.
Carters Rest was fit again but was unable to settle on this occasion, while Pistol Basc looked well although the run will do him plenty of good, as will a couple of pounds off the rating. I was interested in Odds On Dan at double figures in the morning but didn't get involved and I refrained from taking much shorter odds after seeing the big oaf in ring, not looking better than he did first time up.
This is the third time they've punted it and on each occasion it's dropped the lot.
Main business was concluded prior to the bumper where the well-backed Legacy Phoenix looked good enough to deliver for punters, only to find disappointingly little behind fellow raider Perseid, who wasn't very gettable.
Hillier and John Williams are lovely big types who will come into their own given plenty of time.