Five jumpers went to post in the novice chase, the most interesting by far being quadruple winning hurdler The Dubai Way on his seasonal debut.
I was taken by the size of the beast but he's well put together and should make an even better chaser; the surprise being that having been campaigned so astutely last term he was set an implausible task on chase debut.
But with soft ground and probably an extra half mile, in time, he'll leave this sort of mark behind. The other newcomer Otter Moon looked even more in need of the run, but is a rangy chasing sort.
Essentially it was between the pair that have been in action already, and when the well-backed jolly McGroarty was handed a soft lead from flagfall, the writing was on the wall.
A decent enough sort himself, he probably didn't need to better last week's effort to win again, for all that he's a solid jumper things will surely be much tougher from now on. Flashing Glance was outpaced having ranged up two out, having gone keenly once again.
I thought his jumping was slicker this time and he'd be interesting returned to positive tactics at this trip, because ultimately he'll want further once he learns to settle.
The other race over the 'black ones' was a dismal 0-100 affair, with few worth a second look. Corner Creek has always looked like he is capable of a great deal better, and this son of Presenting looked fit and well on this comeback.
He made mighty hard work of it though, and he's not the type to trust in the consistency stakes.
The mares novice had a decent shape to it with Market Rasen bumper winner Dissavril taking out a large percentage. She was deeply impressive on heavy back in January but may have been flattered by racing on the better strip of ground that day.
She's a plain mare but clearly talented, and looked fit enough, but ultimately couldn't deliver on this lively terrain, returning with a sore-looking cut on the near fore.
She will improve, but the one with the experience was Chequered View and I thought she jumped with aplomb last time, staying on after getting outpaced. I didn't mind her, she has a bit of scope and moved well at the walk.
It was a sensible move to make the most of her experience, Aspell setting steady fractions, and ultimately it was probably fitness that won the day.
Kimberley Point (a distance behind at Market Rasen) still looked green beforehand, and had shaped like more of a stayer, so her introduction is all the more meritorious especially as she took an age to drop the bridle. She's probably no star but should win one of these.
Her stablemate Fidux looked fit and well for his seasonal bow in the next and he looked a very worthy favourite on the back of a string of decent efforts in stronger company, and he delivered in style.
This was all about handicapping, with the small Haafapiece unable to defy such a steep rise, while flat-bred Forecast benefited from a drop in the ratings and a wind op to return to form, and he has the size to jump a fence should they choose that route.
The ones at the top of the novice handicap looked mostly of interest in the next, with the The Captain and Asking Questions standing out as good looking chase sorts.
The former stopped quickly again after jumping and travelling well, and may have a physical issue which will hopefully get sorted, while the latter picked up where he left off and can improve further returned to fences.
It was surprising to see The Groovy Hoovy looking pretty straight for his return as most of Mr Sherwood's tend to need a run, but he was strong in the market and probably landed a bit of a touch. The booking of STD for Black Anthem looked a red herring, and so it proved.
The bumper saw the day-long gamble on the J Bethell-trained Adjourned landed with something in hand, the reliable B Hughes always in the right place on the athletic looking grey.
Megan's Choice was by some way the biggest of them and although he curled up a bit late on he was bang up against it giving lumps of weight to the three-year-old.
Three Bullet Gate looks a typical robust chasing type from the Dickin yard and he looked pretty forward, coming home quite strong to fill minor honours ahead of the filly Especially So, who didn't look entirely straight forward but has the physical attributes to make a splash in this sphere.