A decent enough card assembled for the Geordie masses (very droll - Ed) on ground that was officially soft, heavy in places but good to soft in the home straight. Essentially it was decent ground for the time of year.
The card had a good shape to it and we got off to a flyer when the good thing Cadeyrn landed the opening novice hurdle by a diminishing, yet cosy, neck.
The M Scudamore inmate was first sighted here in a Haydock bumper I said at the time might be 'very good' and has thrown up graded winners Claimantakinforgan (try saying that in a Geordie accent) and Global Stage.
The likeable Cadeyrn had shown plenty on his second start over timber at Chepstow last time and this looked a perfect opportunity to show us what he is capable of, with a warm favourite having his seventh run in a novice or maiden event.
If it was a boxing match you would have called it off before the start, the jolly having very little about it physically and the comparison with our lengthy, strong hero simply meant we had to go in again.
Cadeyrn needs another summer to fully strengthen as there is still plenty to work on here, but they are taking their time with him and I suspect they think quite a bit of him.
Bob Mahler may yet pick up a novice but he didn't look straight forward in the heat of battle, and a mark of 125 could well prove to be his ceiling.
The other 'runner' was Donna's Delight but he's a tall gelding that still has some filling to do, and while he clearly has ability this son of Portrait Gallery may not be the most straight forward.
Petticoat Tails was a much more worthy favourite in the following mares hurdle, having plenty of scope albeit on the light-framed side. I've seen her before and quite like her, and she only seems to do enough.
Her form was well in advance of this lot and while the strong looking My Old Gold threw down a strong challenge she always seemed to be coming off second best. The runner-up may come on again for this and is a shoo-in for something similar.
Birch Vale was in good order and went well before weakening surprisingly quickly from two out. She may not have been able to go with them on the ground, but she ought to be better than this in time.
Kimberlite Candy was strong in the market for the featured staying chase but he's been anything but straight forward and the cash for him never felt right.
I backed Newtown Lad at Bangor last time when they went like stink for the first mile, and he didn't mess around here either although the fractions made more sense.
He didn't do much wrong but found course specialist De Vous A Moi too tough a competitor on the day, the Smith horse relishing the long straight once more and moreover the return to fences.
This was a decent contest and Central Flame ran his race in third, with the suspicion that he's still not 100% fit and that 3m stretches his stamina. There's a race for him from this mark if everything falls into place, which it would have to unless they changed the personnel.
With four no-hopers in the eight-runner staying hurdle there were some great angles to be had, none better than Skipthescales, who was in a slightly weaker race than of late and with the addition of blinkers and the excellent A Nicol doing the steering, he looking very hard to keep out the frame.
The beast travelled far better in the blinds and it was indeed a matter of steering him home ahead of the frustrating Tickanrun, runner-up for a fifth time while American Life is another that loves to chase others home.
The 2m handicap chase was interesting as the front pair in the betting Whitsundays and Casual Cavalier were very opposable being far from the most straight forward, and there was a real wildcard up against them in Jaunty Thor.
The handicapper had taken a chance in dropping the animal 6lb from his last outing in June, and he rocked up looking to have done plenty of work at home.
Very strong in the market, he looked a stonking bet but after uneventful first half he lost ground at several fences and found himself on the back foot.
Better knowledge of the opposition and indeed of the horse itself might have resulted in a more pleasing outcome, for it looked like Dunne panicked, rushing the 8yro up on the home turn to take the lead four out.
Such an effort surely took plenty out of the horse, and frankly I was surprised he was still a couple clear jumping the last, but he was worn down close home by the hitherto mediocre Charlie Snow Angel, thwarting a decent punt close home.
The runner-up isn't an easy conveyance, but he won't be thumped for this and with a suitable break can surely make amends providing things fall right.
Lord County duly followed up Friday's comfortable Doncaster win in the finale, but that bird had long since flown. Modulus looked in great heart but this didn't provide a stiff enough test and the ground probably wasn't deep enough either. One suspects he still has races in him this spring.