First blog of the month after being consigned to the 'disabled list' however it looks like we're back in the game after a little trip to blustery Cumbria.
The opening maiden hurdle saw many punters give another chance to the lightly raced eight-year-old Baracalu who looked fit and raring to go after another lengthy break.
Things were looking good into the dip but he found nothing up the hill and I wouldn't put this defeat down to a lack of fitness...you have to know when to fold 'em and he's just downright disappointing.
Second favourite Sunny Express was quite an unfurnished four-year-old on paddock inspection, the type to be better over time, which didn't leave many other options.
With the McCain yard still fairly quiet Gaelik Coast made little appeal as he looked to be carrying some condition and he didn't appear to have come to himself, while Curramore is no looker from a yard that has few winners.
However, the latter was the beneficiary of a patient ride and his stamina and experience was enough on the day, he looks a mudlark but may not have needed to improve to land this.
Of interest in behind were both Claret Dabbler, a decent looking sort that should come on for the run, and Wye Aye, who hasn't been the easiest to handle this autumn but showed the first sign of ability when running on very late. A meagre rating will soon come his way and there's every chance he'll find a race in the course of time.
One of the hopes of the north was back in action in the novices chase and Windsor Avenue did not let supporters down with a scintillating display of jumping and galloping to beat Ballymoy fair and square despite conceding a penalty.
A very attractive looking horse with size and scope, the sky really is the limit for B Ellison and the team. I clocked his lap time from winning post to winning post three seconds quicker than Hell's Kitchen later on the card, having already run half a mile further.
We can all make various different assumptions but this looks like a 155+ type effort and the fact he was still strong at the line augurs well for a potential trip to Cheltenham in the near future.
The mares handicap hurdle was a tight little race in the betting but Amberose was all the rage for a trainer with a phenomenal record in handicap hurdles and the gamble was landed by a narrow margin.
The winner looked fit from an absence but Irish raider Lily's Gem made plenty of appeal having built up a solid portfolio of form and having gone down by just a neck there's a chance the form is quite strong, both finishing with plenty in the tank.
Disappointment of the race was Methodtothemadness although her victory here came on the stiffer track in a race where everything went right for her. By Gold Well, there's every chance she will need much further than the minimum and probably better ground.
As mentioned earlier, the quirky looking Hell's Kitchen landed the Graduation Chase but only after the last fence departure of Midnight Shadow and Djingle, who fell independently.
The former lacks a little bit of scope but has loads of strength and seems to jump perfectly well, however he guessed at the last and paid the price when looking to have the race at his mercy.
Djingle had jumped well but was badly in at the weights and was simply giving best to a superior horse when capsizing. I wasn't that taken by him physically but he's still young and has time to fill out.
Chesterfield looked fit enough and had probably been targeted at the race, he ran to his mark and sets the level of form.
I've more notes about Pookie Pekan than almost any other horse but he's rarely missed by the market and he continued on an upward curve by taking the handicap chase with some ease.
Given a clearer sight at his fences than is sometimes the case, he proved himself a sound enough jumper in bounding clear of Never Up and staying on far too strongly for the rest, in the manner of a horse that should get further.
Last time out winner Le Frank was weak in the betting and was given no sort of ride, allowed to sit well off the pace in the manner of one not really at the races. He continues to frustrate on the whole, rarely putting two races together, with connections seemingly not sure what he ideal conditions are.
That just left a bumper and it was something of a surprise to see the warm favourite One Fine Man short of peak fitness, neither well muscled behind the saddle or tight around the middle.
Jeremy progeny have not yet proved themselves on ground this soft and the race was ripe for a turn up and the Irish raider Arcadian Sunrise provided the ammunition, running right away late on to win decisively.
Quite well made and endowed with stamina, the winner is the type to go well under a penalty and do okay over hurdles in time.
The Smith pair ran well despite looking like chase types for the future, both carrying plenty of condition, although I'd rather mark up their efforts than denigrate the overall form because of that.
Small Present was probably the nicer of the pair in the paddock but he faded late on after trying to mix it with the winner, while Jayaaah came home nicely and he clearly has ability.
Even the third placed Elusive Red looked a fairly decent specimen while Yorvik was a really nice chase type who should step up on this with a more positive ride, and overall I'd view the race quite positively.