It's been too long without posting anything and to be honest I've been getting itchy fingers during this summer sabbatical. There are plenty of topics I want to cover before the winter game truly gets back under way at the start of October, but they can wait awhile.
There'll be a few meetings to keep an eye on in the meantime though as some decent 'winter type' NH horses are being kept on the go in hopes of better ground - rain and over-watering permitting.
A half-decent card has been assembled at Bangor on Friday - a venue I haven't visited for some time. Sadly I won't be making the trip this time either as I wanted to view the development of N Richards' novice chaser Gold Futures.
This son of Gold Well came to my attention in no uncertain terms when it was well-touted prior to winning over 2m 3f on soft ground at Carlisle in February, following two poor efforts at Musselburgh. He had some growing to do but he's still only six.
It looked a strong race and still does in retrospect, but it was a rather queer affair as Gold Futures looked beat at the last before taking off, passing three rivals to win going away.
This was surely the performance of a strong stayer and it was the first time such a test had been presented to him, one which he passed with flying colours. He had to go down as an improver over further.
He was then put in a deep race at Haydock but was never really going and I suspect that will be the last time he will be tried on soft ground. Although he got through it in Cumbria, the trainer had already stated better going was preferred.
On his chase debut he made no show over an inadequate 2m at Bangor but was much better upped half a mile at Hexham, once again showing that stamina looks to be his forte. With few opportunities around at this time of year, another drop back to the minimum wasn't in his favour last time but he still went well, recording arguably his best effort.
With his jumping increasingly assured and with a distance of ground to cover for the first time here, Gold Futures is surely ready to strike.
The race looks competitive but I'm not really keen on anything else for one reason or another. Let's take a quick look.
Guiding George; raised 5lb and beaten favourite four out of last five. Happy to oppose.
Valley Of Milan; 2/2 at Bangor, good general strike rate. Could be improving but hasn't backed up previous 3 wins. Danger.
Mr Moss; Note to self - you'll go broke backing horses that have been crocked. Looks tricky sort anyway.
Strumble Head; Exposed, but pretty solid. Will surely find a couple too good.
Bandit Country: Proper dodgepot, blinkers unsurprisingly reached for. Could pop up but not betting material.
Midnight Appeal: Showed bit more last time but needs to build on that. Chance if he does.
Brass Tax; Well beat twice after a year off.
King's Legacy: See Mr Moss.
It's hard to make a case for the others.
I've not had a decent bet for quite a while, but I've got to dip the toe back in at some stage. While there is a small doubt about him staying 3m until he actually goes and does it - and I want to see him settle well early doors - I make Gold Futures a strong 4/1 chance, and will be taking anything I can above that price.
He could prove too good for these as he's potentially well-in being just a pound higher than for Carlisle and 3lb above his hat-trick winning mark this time last year.