Good to be back racing and some interesting action on Town Moor, where the ground was soft enough although times suggested it was nearer good to soft as they didn't go much of a pace in a few races.
Mount Mews got things off to a perfect start for favourite backers with a fluent jumping display on his chasing debut.
Quickly having his attentions turned to the larger obstacles after failing to fire in two runs over timber this term, the talented youngster belied my fears that he might not quite have the scope to reach a higher level at this new game, and looks a smart recruit.
I felt his jumping was safe rather than spectacular and will clearly come under closer scrutiny this spring, but he was hard to fault and the return to this sort of trip looks sure to suit.
Black Op is a smashing looker and had the form to justify a short price in division one of the maiden hurdle, in the event coming right away from a stretched out field despite looking a bit green at times.
Henderson's Colonial Dreams was slightly disappointing on paddock inspection, lacking a little in quality, and he never really threatened to land a blow, admittedly behind what could be a smart animal.
The tiny Aaron Lad, and chasing type First Drift (fit, but fresh) both threatened to take a hand and showed enough that a handicap can come their way.
Division Two was run nearly three seconds slower despite a driving finish that saw Tommy Rapper return to the winners' circle under a hold up ride, following his last gasp defeat at Towcester last time.
He travelled all over the always-prominent staying type Book Of Gold up the straight before asserting on the short run-in, although he wasn't going away at the line and this sort of ride looks important to him.
The runner-up improved again as expected from Newbury and even further would see him in better light, while Frozen Flame caught the eye back in fourth under a quiet ride.
Not that well bred, he nevertheless cost 145k a year ago and clearly went amiss on debut. He has some size about him and his progress should be monitored.
When And The New was bounced into an early lead in the following novice over the minimum trip I turned to a colleague and said I'll cry a river if this thing stays in front to the line.
With very good form in the spring bumpers, he was firmly on the radar here but while he looked a decent sort in the paddock, I was expecting something of greater stature.
Strong and sturdy, he looked the type that would improve for a spin and as he was long in the market and hooded for the first time, an educational outing was expected.
But positive tactics are usually a good sign and he battled gamely when joined by warm order Ravenhill Road three out, jumped really well when it mattered and probably ran out quite a comfortable winner. A quite moment was required.
The jolly was disappointing, and connections looked shocked as the unbeaten record was snatched from him. One of the hopes of the north, it's possible he found the ground a bit on the soft side but I expected this big strong horse to overcome that, with fitness not an issue.
Perhaps he does want better ground, but I suspect something further may come to light in due course.
Django Django took the eye beforehand, albeit on the light-framed side, and he stayed on to split the aforementioned pair which won't do his mark any good at all.
Henderson's French Crusader was quite backward both mentally and physically, Niblawi looked quite small against some of these while Not That Fuisse once again showed ability but probably needs another summer before he flourishes.
The mares Listed chase looked at the mercy of Rene's Girl, who had jumped well on her two previous goes over fences and wouldn't have been suited by a drop in trip last time.
Casting aside minor doubts over the ground, she jumped and galloped her inferior rivals ragged to collect in style from Song Saa, who ran her usual honest race.
The mystery of the race was the support for Same Circus, an out and out stayer who jumped poorly when finishing third in a weak race over 3m at Wetherby last time.
She looks a well-handicapped horse if returned to timber and while she got round again here, jumping was quite a big issue again. She needs a trip, and in staying on she showed there's races to be won over fences if kept to smaller tracks.
Another mares race, a very hotly contested handicap, followed and a whole host would be given chances.
Oscar Rose once again ran as though she's better than her mark, out of position when the pace quickened and merely looking one-paced, she could be ready for further or a more positive ride.
All My Love is very likeable despite her diminutive frame, and she travelled up best before her stamina gave way. The winner Woolstone One came from a similar position to Oscar Rose so should be marked up a bit as either one with a bit more toe or simply better handicapped. The form should stand up.
I expected Crystal Lad and General Mahler to step up on their previous efforts over fences as both looked well handicapped ahead of the handicap chase, particularly the former.
But neither really looked that happy and again the ground may have been an issue, as both jumped stickily at times, and perhaps are worth another chance.
I had given up on Red Infantry after he found nothing again on his seasonal debut at Aintree and he did the same here last time out. The visor needed to work and it certainly did, the beast travelling sweetly as ever, and stayed on strongly when asked for extra. Whether he'll build on this is anyone's guess.
The finale was of little betting interest, and it duly fell to the robust Cheque En Blanc, who outstayed the lot of them. Log On seemed to settle better here and perhaps the penny is starting to drop; he may be worth keeping an eye on back over fences.