Still no rain, officially good ground but it looked pretty dead especially on the chase course where the times suggested it was nearer soft and many looked to struggle in it.
The opening novice was a terrific event for the track, a bit of depth and some value to be had with the eventual winner Doctor Dex, who had some very solid form in bumpers (including here) and had the benefit of a run over timber behind him.
It's easy to crab young horses for their attitude and plenty were wary about this decent looking son of Oscar, but I put it down to greenness and it was again in evidence as he ran around going to the last.
However, having taken the measure of Constancio he looked to knuckle down well to put the race to bed and he should be able to build on this, for all that it maybe didn't turn out that competitive.
Garbanzo was heavily backed but anyone who had watched his hurdles debut would have had reservations about his jumping, while he didn't exactly jump out in the paddock or on the way to the start.
Ingleby Hollow ran on from the ruck to take third and this Flat exile certainly has the size to win handicaps in this sphere, of far greater interest going forward though are The Big Galloper and Oscar Wilde, two robust chasing types.
The former was the first of three runners for the C Byrnes yard, and was very weak in the market for the second time in succession...better can be expected of this useful looking stayer at some stage.
Byrnes' Minnies Secret was dwarfed by some of her rivals in the novices chase but had the form to contend, especially with warm favourite Just Don't Ask a very big, shouldery animal that will require very soft ground to show his best form.
He absolutely fell in here, with Minnies Secret losing ground at every fence and still only beaten a handful of lengths in a comical heat in which the three principals virtually came to a standstill at the top of the straight, when the front running Storm Control decided to call it a day.
A hostage to the fortune that was paid for him, the lengthy, light-framed youngster clearly has all sorts of issues and extended trainer K Lee's dismal winter, with just a solitary winner since April.
A very mediocre 0-120 handicap hurdle followed and nothing appealed in the paddock, and quite predictably it took a moment of pure jockeyship to settle it, the excellent S Quinlan saying go at the top of the straight after setting modest fractions.
It was a race-winning move, and for a second time in a week Wishfull Thinking found less than was hoped for, this time having something to aim at but unable to get by. The jury remains out on him but the Englands clearly have him in good heart.
Val Mome looks high in the weights and is a funny specimen, still weak in front.
Kauto Riko and Beau Bay resumed hostilities in a decent little handicap chase with the latter on 8lb better terms for last year's Hereford clash that saw them finish upsides.
Kauto Riko, often a buzzy type, was very edgy this time and got quite warm, but whether it affected his chance is a moot point, and he may just want it a bit softer as he never got to his old rival, who was given a very positive ride which made all the difference.
Nuts Well looks much better than when he ran here over Christmas and grabbed second despite never looking like winning, he may need to drop a few pounds but the fact remains he has never won during the mid-winter months.
Tree Of Liberty looked strong and well but was easily opposed being from the struggling K Lee kennel and this effort is worth forgiving for future reference, clearly there is a problem in the yard.
With the first two Byrnes runners down it was 'all aboard' Thosedaysaregone in the feature handicap hurdle, who backers might recall suffered from a 'tack malfunction' when 'fancied' for a novice hurdle at Sedgefield in October.
With the handbrake left at home and all girthstraps successfully deployed, the rather fetching son of Getaway was backed at all rates down to 11/10 prior to making something of a mockery of his 118 rating.
Bigger (pay)days lie ahead for connections of the six-year-old, who saw off the returning Simply A Legend, who took a walk in the market despite looking surprisingly straight considering an absence of several years.
To be honest it was all about one horse, the rest looked fit and well but were simply making up the numbers.
Manwell looks a different horse since a wind operation and once again jumped and travelled kindly despite the slight rise in class, but once straightened for home he took off and defied surprising market weakness to win as he liked.
Lord County ran a far better race than last time but still needs more time to strengthen up, and there's not much to say about the others particularly Agamemmon who is a big sturdy beast with a dismal outlook on the game.
The fillies' junior bumper, the second of its type at the track this term, wasn't much of a betting proposition with Fourshoes and Eleanor Bob well forward in the market.
However, nothing much stood out beforehand, eventual winner Zoutoise having more size and scope than the rest but appearing very much as though the race would do her good. Maybe it will, but she was far too good for this lot today even so.