The rain that swept in on Friday evening made the going soft, heavy in places, but the times suggest that perhaps it wasn't as testing as that.
Having spent time arriving at two selections for the meeting both were non-runners. The going change caused 18 horses to be pulled out.
6.50 6f Apprentice Handicap
Ironically this sprint event is named after Lord Advocate who was a stayer! Lord Advocate appeared in the paddock and looked full of beans, bucking and kicking. His owner said that he still thinks he's a racehorse and is still house in the racing yard. He looked in superb condition, as did the Nolan runners. The stable might have some slowcoaches amongst their inmates, but these horses are lovingly cared for, and no doubt have a better life than some of their more illustrious opponents.
RONDO went down early and came back a bit earlier than the others. He burst clear 1f out and won wuith a bit to spare. He looks one to watch our for when there's cut in the ground. His rider was suspended for 3 days as he cut across the second.
FISTRAL was well held despite the interference. Kirsty Milczarek was hard at work 2 out, but her mount responded well and kept on up the hill. Probably selling class but I would think this one can find a race. Third TURKISH SULTAN and 4th OUEF A LA NEIGE both had every chance and simply weren't good enough.
7.20 5f Handicap
There was some decent recent form from some of these and it turned out to be a competitive contest.
MELALCHRIST made all and stuck on to win by a couple of lengths. The rest were close together in the race for second. ROTHESAY DANCER(2nd), KATIE BOO(3rd) and PTARMIGAN RIDGE(4th) won't be penalised much if at all for being close up, and all three will continue to be competitive at this level.
11yo LEGAL SET went a decent pace for 4f and he would still be interesting dropped to selling company.
7.50 5f 3yo Median Auction
This looked a pretty poor event, but in the end it was closely fought with RUE SOLEIL just heading HOWARD'S TIPPLE close home. The latter had two handlers in the paddock, and has had plenty of chances, but did try hard and went close. LEMPICKA stayed on for third and can now be handicapped. Since this race was only 0.3 seconds slower than the handicap, allowing weight for age, I would imagine that the first three would be competitive at handicap level.
8.20 1m 3f 3-5yo Claimer
A dire looking event and not surprisingly no claims were received.
SIMPLY ST LUCIA has run respectably over hurdles and showed willingness to hold on having led at halfway, but won't find many poorer claimers. FRITH, looking fit after a break, stayed on for second. Favourite PATAVIAN had every chance, but didn't look all that keen to me.
RAGUANY found the front three too quick in the final 2 furlongs, and the rest just look slow.
8.50 1m 65y Handicap
STOLEN GLANCE won this with plenty in hand, scooting clear from over a furlong out.
NEIL'S LEGACY is in decent form and held off HOWARD'S ROCKET for second. The latter was stepping up on some poor previous form so I do wonder if the form is worth as much as it might seem. GREYFRIARS ABBEY started slowly, was rousted along coming into the straight and could never muster a challenge. I would imagine he will be capable of better given time.
1m 65yds 3yo Handicap
A moderate handicap won in convincing style by ICE BOX, leading 2 out and staying on for a comfortable 7 length win from MILSON'S POINT. I suspect the latter might just have found the distance stretching his stamina in the ground. FLAMESTONE, a fussy sort in the paddock, is only selling class and was a further 3 lengths back though keeping on willingly.
HEAVEN'S GATES was prominent to 2 out but then faded. He looked fit enough after a lay-off so the ground could have been against him.
CAPE DANCER weakened quickly 4 out, and was pulled up before the furlong pole. He looked sound afterwards, so perhaps it was a breathing problem.