The opener looked like an absolute shoo-in for the favourite Nefyn Bay following his victory at Wetherby last week after which I suggested he might be one to follow.
Unpenalised for that boys race and with the extra three furlongs looking sure to suit it was just a question of securing some kind of price in a race few others could be given any sort of chance.
That opportunity came mid-race when Nefyn Bay was baulked by a faller and some 7/4 was snapped up. That he was back in contention on the snaff moments later, and the way he went and won for the stylish Miss B Andrews, suggested he had a good stone in hand of his mark. Anything less for his two wins and he'll be well in.
|The likeable and most excellent Miss Andrews|
I missed a beat here as the price slowly evaporated leaving me high and dry, although there would have been some anxious moments late on and it's fair to say the formerly useful Venue handed the race away.
McCain's flat import didn't look a particularly useful tool beforehand and his finishing effort, following a few quirky leaps, means he may not be one to trust going forward.
Triumvirate was the more robust of the ex-Flat horses but moved to post very poorly and didn't come back much better. Sir Safir did not need to run anywhere near his peak rating of 110 to win this and it will rate as very moderate form.
R Fahey's Woodbridge was another poor mover and this sparely-made gelding would need fast ground if he is to make any sort of impact under this code, while Grand Meister was disappointing although he still doesn't look right in his coat. Bruce Almighty was punted but looked to need the run.
Div II looked a much weaker affair with Aristo Du Plessis looking a great lay after he shirked the issue at Sedgefield, but the brakes went on when first Beatu and then The Alamo made little appeal looks-wise - preference was for the latter but his short action going to post suggested good ground would be requisite.
I was right to take a pull as Aristo won without coming off the bridle, while my each-way poke got lucky when Tomorrow's Legend plodded on past The Alamo and into the places. He's a nice big horse but looking trip-less and not really progressing.
The handicap chase for novices looked the perfect race for Less Time to follow up his Market Rasen win but I wasn't convinced by the big, babyish horse and thought there were a few runners. Royal Macnab looked well although the ground was a concern, while Ballybogey could be given a chance even though it was another Pogson horse that didn't look fully fit.
I had had a very small interest at huge odds in De Vous A Moi at Donny last time as it had the look of a half decent animal, and its form in France as a youngster was very decent. However, he was 0/16 and hadn't shown anything of late and was overlooked for win purposes despite again looking the part.
Still, we got the jolly beat and that was the main thing. He's been known to travel well before stopping dead under the cosh and he did the same here after clouting three out. He may just be very backward mentally and when he fills out he could be half decent.
Less Time's stable mate Saint Lucy was very short in a terribly weak mares race but she had bombed out in better grade last time and the ground was little better here. She's also a very big, backward young horse who needs a lot of time and the two-years older Donna's Pride has really come to herself after a disappointing campaign last term.
Again, the early odds flattered Jonjo's horse and she was a second favourite to get done, while I took the angle that the pair were miles better than Kilas Girl, who is not the most sightly thing you'll ever see. I felt I was only half-right though as she stayed on to provide us with a squeeky-bum moment on the run to the line, Costello thankfully not giving her a hard time.
|Uno Valeroso was probably a great bet even at short odds|
He's a very likeable little horse who always looks enthusiastic and jumps great - the handicapper will not take kindly to this win though. Oscatara once again never looked like getting his head in front and his breeding suggests an extra mile would suit, which may give him a chance to get round without coming off the bridle.
Billy Cuckoo didn't want to know this time while Proud Times looked the most likely to chase the jolly home but again ran as if in little form.
The finale saw Allez Cool again looking strong and well as he quickly put a poor run behind him. He's a likeable sort and probably deserved to get it in the stewards room although Harris once again proved a difficult horse to pass when on a going day.
I wasn't that taken by favourite The Geegeez Geegee, who still looks on the weak side, and I was very much against Blake Dean who is rather small being flat bred and didn't stand a chance of getting the trip in this ground. Abruzzi looked really well but like stable mate Proud Times ran poorly.