The opener was one of the better ones with a good shape to it and I couldn't see anything beyond Nefyn Bay and Honourable Gent.
Two of the most predictable gambles of the day duly arrived in the shape of Mad For Road, who looks a complete shit, and Mister Jones, a complete and utter shit.
Both horses are punted every time they hit track - the former probably by in-running layers getting ahead of the game early - but neither has produced the goods as yet.
I thought the penny seemed to drop at Donny last time for Nefyn Bay and felt he was the type to progress from that under the very capable James Cowley. He's a good strong horse, still a little unfurnished, and he's the type to stay one step ahead of the assessor.
|James Cowley was always in the right place on Nefyn Bay|
Perhaps he has remembered that spill and backers will have been disappointed by this. I couldn't split them to be honest so had a bit on each and it proved a wise move.
The mares novices chase looked another race to get stuck into but I had to put the brakes on as there were mixed messages from the paddock.
Iconic Rose looked fine despite two recent runs on desperate ground and was a player, but I really wanted to be against The Flaming Matron whose Musselburgh form was poor and the kennel remains ice cold. She's a tall, lean mare who doesn't hold her form and in a race full possibles she rated a solid lay.
The winner Makadamia is a nice sort at this level although still fairly light-framed and weak, but got a good patient ride from Waley-Cohen who delivered at just the right moment.
Black Lily was of much interest beforehand with three point wins on good ground to her name but walked into the second fence giving backers no run for their money. She's a big strong sort who remains on the watch list at this level.
One Track Mind was well ahead of his rivals on the ratings in the novice hurdle and duly outstayed them. Rainman looked a fairly decent sort but ran no sort of race with McCoy quick to accept the inevitable. Hainan did not really take the eye and one suspects he'll need soft ground to live up to his mark.
The handicap chase was a riddle wrapped in a conundrum and the only angle I had was to take on the laughably well-backed Vasco Dycy. I may have mentioned this beast before but they've backed it every single time, yet has yet to threaten the judge. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say the thing is no good.
|Makadamia: Light-framed and room to improve|
Grey Life looks moderate and poorly handicapped while I remain convinced Trust Thomas will be seen to greater effect over a distance of ground, as his pedigree suggests he might. He jumps like a sound three miler and surely it's worth a try.
The grand Ballycool put to bed the notion that he needs a break between his races by running well - he's a lovely stamp of a horse who may well press on from here.
At Reception looked a good thing to land the stayers handicap hurdle for McCoy but in an action-packed race it was desperately sad to see this nice horse snap a hind leg going to three out.
That left the race wide open and it was fought out by three rags, with Azure Aware coming with a wet sail under a sensational ride from Maguire, who deserves a ride of the year nomination.
I was half interested in Bailey's horse off a break but he looked a bit tubby round the belly for me so I didn't take an angle in the race, bar a small place lay of Smith's big and backward Not A Bother Boy, who may be a different proposition over fences in the fall.
The mares bumper was split (oh the joys) but the first leg looked the hotter and so it proved with Pam Sly's super-fit Grand Turina running them ragged after getting a handy five length lead from the starter.
It's hard not to be suspicious when the world and his wife is on the day's steamer (14 into 7/2) and the layers never stood a chance. The very likeable Surtee Du Berlais set a high benchmark and there were other nice sorts down the field - the likeable Libby Mae matching the form of her Sedgefield win on very different ground.
The McCoy ridden Ten Trees looked backward to paddock watchers and was never seen with a chance, while C Grant's Beyond The Glen looked alright and is very much a long term prospect.
Division two saw the tall, long-backed Pomme cause a shock but this bunch paled in comparison to the earlier race and may have taken little winning - M Jefferson's La Dama De Hierro very big and backward but sure to improve given time and a trip.