The 10-year-old grey hadn't been seen for a year, when trained by Evan Williams, but after the early prices were taken it was no surprise to see the horse looking big and well in the prelims.
It's surprising the layers haven't cottoned on to Oliver's talents - he produced Beatabout The Bush in the same ownership to win at rewarding odds at Wetherby earlier this year on its first run for the yard - and that was by no means the first time the stable had landed a punt.
It was a weak enough heat and I was more than happy to ride the gravy train. Bryden Boy is quite small and backward, and thus his strong finish suggests he could be quite nice given more time to mature.
Prince Of Pirates again showed little despite market support while Tmorrow's Legend once again hinted at ability and he will come into his own over fences, as will Treliver Manor, who doesn't pay any respect to timber but it is a nice looking individual.
|Courtown Oscar had been noted in dispatches|
Up markedly in trip and with J Reveley booked, this lovely big chasing type looked poised for a big run with question marks about the front three in the market. Old friend Purple Harry was opposable with another weak jockey booked, while I had also backed Isaacstown Lad who although looked well was rather a disappointment.
My Friend George looked in great heart and duly proved the danger and he was probably just beaten by one better handicapped. I was worried about the winner's finishing effort but needn't have been. He's a big baby and still has some growing up to do, but this was a nice effort.
A couple of uncompetitive races followed but I was quite taken by Gingili in what looked a match against Bobs Lord Tara. McCain's horse looked big and strong, really well well for this hurdles introduction.
I went with his speed against the stamina of the other one, with the inner course knowhere near as testing as the outer here. In the end it was a bit of a gimme as the favourite went lame at midway, although the winner looked very green and novicey and I'm not sure he would have won had the other stayed sound.
Tambour Major again caught the eye both in the paddock and in the race, and this lovely ex-pointer will surely get a nice mark for when he goes chasing next year. He's one to note.
|Gingili certainly looked the part|
I didn't like the way Trust Thomas looked at Wetherby but he run well there and similarly in defeat at Newcastle, and again did not take the eye here. He was very opposable and I was reluctant to row in with Vasco Dycy after he hit the post last time. So why I didn't back the progressive Bearly Legal I don't really know, he was a worthy favourite, a nice looking horse, and won as he liked.
Solway Dornal looked really fit for his return and he will surely pay his way again this summer for his clearly capable handler, but the others weren't worthy of a mention.
I seemed to have got married to the idea that Our Boy Ben is waiting to strike and he travelled like a horse way better than his mark, but again his finishing effort was tame and once again the cash was left behind. The family is not straightforward and perhaps he's one to have reservations about.
Whiskey Chaser was market leader but he's a very heavy set horse and this better ground was by no means certain to suit. He was worth opposing and it was surprising that he wasn't given a more positive ride given the circumstances. If we get some soft ground in the next month or so he can win again.
Resolute Performer had been noted on a couple of occasions and he has slowly come to himself this term, although it was still a stretch to see him involved today. Staying seemed to be his forte and at at six he can only continue to improve.
It was another weak affair though with the Irish Colms Dream by no means a chaser on looks - very small and lean - while Simon Templar is an out and out mudlark who is still to convince over fences.
The second division of the race saw the strongest looking horse come out on top in Abricot De L'Oasis. The McCain horse had been noted in running at Wetherby and he looked to have the best form in the race, with improvement very likely forthcoming over the larger obstacles.
There were quite a few imponderables amongst the others - Emkae looked well although is only just big enough for fences - he ran a bit in snatches but not without promise - while The Gunner Brady doesn't have an condition at all and could not be expected to take a step forward.
Be A Dreamer was surprisingly seen out again despite losing condition over the season, and confirmed the Smith horses to be over the top. Simmply Sam is another who may struggle over fences while Solway Legend was also very fit from his break and this was a big step forward over fences.
The bumper was a very competitive with the three with form setting a decent standard for the newcomers, several of which were quietly fancied. The easiest on the eye was the Jefferson-trained High Hopper, a lovely three mile chaser in the making if ever there was one.