Not exactly sure the trip up the A1 in treacherous conditions was worth the risk and after backing a bunch of placed horses and getting a thorough soaking I've certainly had better days at the track.
The ground was obviously very wet but raceable in the first half of the card - however with the rain falling increasingly heavily I'm not sure they would have passed an inspection had the meeting started later in the day.
Despite a load of nons the card stood up pretty well and Just Georgie looked a decent each-way pop in the opener with hotpot Barney Dwan not certain to like the ground.
I think it's fair to say the favourite was ill at ease on the ghastly terrain but make no mistake his class got him through and he looks a very decent prospect with plenty of speed. His mark of 130 in no way flatters him.
Just Georgie ran as well as could be expected down in trip and this sound jumper has now put in three solid shifts under rules and is very much one to be with in a handicap when handed a test of stamina.
The second race was the only one we got right as I very much liked the angle in with Good Vibration and Point The Way at decent prices. They scratched four rags which meant less value on offer but still with Nuts Well, Bollin Ace and Raise A Spark easily opposable I backed both my pair with confidence.
Point The Way is a lovely type of horse but still quite weak and backward physically. He stays very well though and has a serious engine, JR did the right thing dictating matters and I thought he was the most impressive winner on the day, with plenty of improvement to come in the jumping department.
Good Vibration was second again but his form is extremely solid and has simply had the misfortune to bump into some very progressive types. He's quite strong for his age and is a winner waiting to happen once sent into handicaps, where he ought to be fairly treated.
Nuts Well is a horse I like a lot and he has done well physically in the past few months. However, he is still only four and his weak finish at Kelso was a red flag and once again he was very tame at the end over a longer trip.
I feel there's a bit of hype around the horse being a half brother to Runswick Royal and although some may question his attitude, for the time being I'm happy to suggest he just needs time to strengthen up. He's been busy and could probably do with a break.
I had the next down to a couple as well in Roxyfet and Theflyingportrait, both trading at around the 4/1 mark overnight with the market surprisingly favouring Lensio and On The Case.
Sadly, two that I didn't fancy were scratched and the market soon righted itself to make Roxy favourite - indeed he was strongly supported in the end and won like an improving horse.
In the end I favoured the grey in second who once again spoiled his chance by pulling very hard. I'm convinced he is a 115 horse but he must learn to settle while the Candlish kennel remains ice cold. Molko Jack looked really well but I think I have fallen for his charms before and once again he showed zilch; he looks to have completely gone.
At this stage I was rolling along in the placepot with several lines and thought Divine Port was a solid runner in the handicap hurdle after winning on his return in the manner of a horse with plenty in the locker. Quite why I didn't back him to follow up just a fortnight on I'm not sure.
There were several that looked very well in the race however, which made me put the brakes on, and they included Card Game, who surely wants better ground, Wintered Well (Candlish) and Away For Slates, a decent prospect but unfurnished and tricky looking horse that holds his head high and appears to begun life on a harsh rating.
Jethro is a moderate looking sort while Karisma King has plenty of attitude and still hasn't learned to settle, while Azure Glamour is a horse that looks way better than a 90 animal but he has attitude problems too. That said, he surely wants a sound surface.
I didn't get the handicap chase right at all and a decent placepot divi went begging with My Friend George beating Red Danaher, both of whom I know well. For some reason I thought the former may struggle on the ground, while the latter has been very disappointing over fences thus far although the handicapper has been swift to lend a hand.
The Ellison pair have attitude issues although at least Down Time has recent form on good ground and ran as though he still has something to offer on that surface, while Tiny Dancer made mistakes and although the jockey reported he slipped into an early fence and lost confidence, the burden of proof lies with this horse to prove himself after an injury break.
I was really keen on a couple in the handicap hurdle - two well handicapped sorts in Discoverie and Copt Hill. Unfortunately all the juicy prices on the former had been taken early doors but he still looked a decent bet as I thought he'd grown and strengthened. I bumped into Kenneth afterwards and he confirmed he had done well over the summer, although that was scant consolation after Fiddler's Flight had swooped to shed his maiden tag at nearly 10.
Gunner Lindley proved once again he is one to take on while it has only taken 32 days for Snowed In to be 'Murtaghed'.
B Ellison's Ballycrystal had been all the rage for the bumper but the trainer pulled him out on account of the ground. He still had Tomngerry, a likeable point winner who was on his toes beforehand, to represent him and he was very strongly backed before beating a quite nice son of Cloudings called Rolling Thunder. They both could be alright.