I wouldn't go as far as to say it was 'good to be back' at the Co Durham venue as it's a notorious graveyard for this particular railway shunter.
To be asked at the gate if I was a 'concession' punter - implying I look 66 despite not yet turning 50 - hardly improved the mood. 'It's hard to tell how old people are these days', apparently.
There were concessions all round in the first as Jimmy Moffatt's Yukon caused a turn-up, not that the owners standing right behind me minded too much. I've booked in to see the hearing consultant tomorrow.
Summer Moon ran poorly on his debut for Dr Newland and while I'm aware he had a winner the other day it certainly didn't cross my mind to take on the Ellison jolly with his ex-Flat stayer. Enthused was very fit but he lacks scope to be much good at this game.
Hajey ran a blinder despite looking burly, although the Waggott likes to keep plenty of condition on them. Heritier De Sivola might be one to keep an eye on at a lower level, needing this outing.
Atomic Angel made her debut over fences in the staying chase but she lacks the size and while jumping nimbly in the main I'd expect her to come up short in this discipline.
Ruth Jefferson went to £110k to secure Point winner Thermusa and this good walker probably has a fair future after making a winning debut despite looking green and novicey. She'll come on for the run fitness-wise but it's far too early to say how good she might be.
There was plenty of cash flying around for Reve De Niamh in this, despite her only costing £1200 quid. It was a 'no contest', but she too looked novicey and the cash might be recouped at some later date.
The mare's trainer Ian Jardine didn't go home empty hearted though, his well backed Half Shot landing the finale with plenty to spare.
An okay looker, he wore a red hood to the start as he's had a history of being difficult and he could be the sort to win again if they can channel the ability.
Hidden Commander looked really well and wasn't notably unfit but probably wouldn't have won even without a mistake two out, while Creative Control went into some notebooks but not this one.
I got him wrong last year when he sweated profusely prior to winning at Doncaster, and he looks a fairly honest sort. The fact Hughes took him wide throughout (as he had in an earlier chase) suggested today wasn't the day and he'll probably pick up a race at somewhere like Musselburgh.
He's only medium sized and compact though, so to my mind he's not one to get too excited about over fences and I'd be a little surprised if he ever rated much higher than 120. He'll be a better hurdler.
Sam Allwood is one of my favourite young trainers, probably because I was lucky enough to latch on to his multiple winners Sheneededtherun and Out On The Tear earlier than most.
He seems to have a knack of keeping them sweet for long periods and he's now got Bempton Cliffs to win three of his last four races over fences.
I don't like backing Flat breds in this sphere but this one seems to love the game, he's not the most robust but has size and scope. He's uses that Flat speed to get on the lead early and he showed plenty of stamina and determination to beat the in-form Tico Times.
He's probably a bit of a one-trick pony as he clearly loves to have it his own way in front, but Allwood can be relied upon to keep him fresh and there should be more to come.