A bit of soft ground at the local track after weekend rain but it had been dry since Saturday and it wasn't much worse than good to soft and a bit dead.
I was keen on Theatre Legend in the opening handicap hurdle after Chris Grant's six-year-old had shaped nicely here last time in a novice that looked quite deep at the time, and was sure to improve on that physically.
Down in trip, he travelled and jumped with aplomb, finally confirming the impression he made in his two bumper wins, and he looks the sort to win again before the season is out.
En Meme Temps has been mentioned here before as not one to trust, looking an awkward sort in the paddock and routinely carrying his head high. He ran on when it was all over but be an unlikely type to be retained by is current handler.
Bonne Question was very weak in the market having been put in short on the back of a bold showing at Sandown, but that came only 11 days ago and had incurred an 8lb impost, quite a hike for an exposed 10-year-old, and it wasn't difficult to oppose.
Top Ville Ben was all the rage to quickly atone for his fall in the RSA last week, and after looking fine in the prelims he hardly put a foot wrong in slamming four rivals.
Sent into overdrive down the far side, he was in his element out on his own and can't be faulted, although stiffer tests lie in wait from a lofty perch and such low hanging fruit may not be so readily available hereafter.
Louis Vac Pouch is a big strong chaser but looked very tired when falling two out, having tried to make up ground on the runaway leader, and a drop back in trip should see him in better light.
Noruki isn't a bad sort and was staying on in third when taking a tumble, so handicaps could now be open to him, while Sam's Gunner looked fit enough on his second start over fences, but was circumspect over the obstacles and didn't really achieve much for a second successive race.
Minella Warrior cost connections 180k and is starting to reward them, staying on strongly to win a Class 2 staying handicap under D Bass, who was hard at work some way out.
A lovely big chaser in the making, the winner has a touch of class having run in the Persian War a few months ago, and proved himself up to winning from a mark of 133.
Skipthescales had to make his own running as these conditions wouldn't have brought out his bottomless stamina, not looking all that comfortable in front and running on again after the last.
He's a bonny horse with a bit of scope, and with his trainer being adroit at placing his staying chasers he can land a decent pot next season over marathon trips.
Know The Score didn't make much appeal despite winning at Hexham earlier in the campaign, and this 380k purchase looks really one-paced, on and off the bridle throughout he came there to win his race but was readily outpointed.
His finishing effort was poor and a wind op is probably on the agenda now, as a tongue-tie and cheekpieces failed to bring about the necessary improvement.
A 0-100 handicap hurdle didn't set the pulse racing and they were a modest bunch, the royal runner No Trumps failing to take the eye and she'll be off to the paddocks sooner rather than later.
Border Victor continues to hold condition well and he was the most likely to run his race, despite competing off a career higher mark, S Quinlan a notable booking and he duly booted home a double.
It goes without saying this isn't strong form and he'll do well to find a weaker race than this, runner-up Gallows Point showing some form for the first time while proving a very difficult ride.
The ground was just about soft enough for Caraline in a tight looking handicap chase and she had tumbled down the weights in this dryest of winters, the booking of B Garritty a major plus.
Twice a course winner, she saw out the extra two furlongs nicely to land a bit of a punt after looking overpriced in the morning, doubts surrounding all the others.
Ballasalla was put in really short despite not looking the most resilient under pressure the last twice, and while the longer trip was bound to suit the burden of proof remained with him, and still does after unshipping B Hughes three out.
Lough Salt is another with plenty to be desired on the resolution front and he was another to be strongly opposed having been backed down to silly odds, doing nothing off the bridle once more.
Oak Vintage is banging his head against a wall from a rating higher than his last win, but will come back in time, while Captain Mowbray may have needed this off a break and could well win again once returned to 3m.
The bumper wasn't the strongest, the twice raced Sheshoon Sonny having a good opportunity to get off the mark and this nice stamp of a horse didn't let odds on supporters down.
A little anxious and keen beforehand, he over-raced early on but had enough in hand to run out a ready winner in the end.
Disappointment of the race was Almazhar Garde, an athletic type who set decent fractions for a bumper, only to fold tamely once straightening up. Eleanor Bob once again looked immature and she may not have all that much ability.
Dhowin and Ulverston shaped with promise considering they looked backward beforehand.