You wonder whether all the stress is worth the effort. Half the horses you don't fancy come race time anyway especially when you get that vibe that things are just not going to work out.
I didn't play opening novice hurdle as I couldn't split the front two in the market, Aristo Du Plessis and Court Dismissed. Neither particularly pleased in the paddock, the former a short walker and a little quirky looking while the latter has grown a bit but remains unfurnished.
The Ellison pair looked in need of the outing while Chivers needs further and hasn't really shown a great deal in his three runs to date.
|You look how I feel mate|
As it happened Astaroland, who received a shocker of a ride himself last time, took the honours under a much more active jockey and the horse did look well beforehand. Discoverie looks a crazy as ever and the horse just isn't settling down. Copt Hill did not look in any sort of form beforehand, while River Bollin still doesnt look fit.
I was all of a muddle ahead of the handicap chase as I rather liked the My Friend George angle at double figure prices in the morning, but not at 3/1 near the off!
The market was near enough though as neither Zazamix nor Pistol Basc looked anywhere the form they were in a few weeks ago, while My Friend George looked as fit as anything. Well-backed Mondo Cane looked awful, carrying loads of condition and my bet is it still isn't properly fit.
The winner Auldthunder was quietly supported and he looked well once again. I had taken to him before he fell at Catterick but he then ran a shocker next time. He needed all of this trip and he may well continue to prosper as he has the size for fences.
I was all over Getabuzz in the next with the blinds re-applied but he never really looked like winning as Hellorboston broke the tape. McCain's seasonal debutant looked a tad big and will improve for this, but Stilo Blue Native was disappointing as he had come on for his latest effort.
This was Turtle Cask's 10th run since October and he surely needs a break, although he looked perfectly well beforehand.
Again I had stepped in early for Lord Wishes, who was potentially thrown in for the 2m 6f handicap chase. He had not shown much over fences but thankfully he looked a picture beforehand. But he was beat after jumping one fence and surely still has a problem.
|Houndscourt a popular local winner|
The finale looked a match between Be A Dreamer and Mighty Cliche on paper but the hard fit Smith horse was inconvenienced by the drop in trip and could never land a blow.
Mighty Cliche is a terrible thief but Hughes made his mind up this time and connections were wise to mount the horse outside the parade ring - he only did half a lap - and thus he wasn't as stressed out as in the past.
He may have won on sufference as runner-up Cross To Boston had an 0-24 record in Ireland and was race fit for this, but at least he finally got his head in front. Shine A Diamond is too small for fences and remains very opposable.