The flight in the back straight was missed out as at the previous meeting. I presume there is a rule that means hurdles are in a set position, as it would make sense just to move the hurdle.
6.30 2m 4.5f Maiden hurdle
I misjudged this race as I thought it would be between Pouilly and Jim The Gent. In the event JIM THE GENT pulled a bit early on and though leading two out, couldn't resist the challenge of DRIVERSFORD, who had made a promising debut in Ireland. The latter should go on from this, while JIM THE GENT may need slightly firmer ground, and he certainly wasn't inconvenienced by the longer trip.
POUILLY was hampered on the bend before three out but still threatened two out, only to fade. He's bred to be a staying chaser.
BEAUFOY went well to between the last two hurdles and was left behind by the first and second.
7.00 2m 4.5f Selling Handicap Hurdle
BLACK CHALK, a winning chaser, led at a decent pace but was found wanting in the straight. Worth watching back over fences.
BAMBY hadn't shown much previously but won this with any amount in hand and looks better than selling class.
FLOWER HAVEN ran well enough but couldn't get near the winner, and NAMED AT DINNER stayed past a couple over the last two.
7.30 3m Handicap Chase
Another fine performance by the in-form veteran MIGHTY FINE. Leading at a decent pace, he had half of these struggling very early and was clear entering the straight. In the end he ran out of steam on the run-in, but still found a little more to hold on from TOM SAYERS, but the two were well clear of the rest. MIGHTY FINE's credentials are there for all to see, and TOM SAYERS won't come up against such a tough opponent regularly.
The Johnson owned pair ITSMYBOY and COMMERCIAL EXPRESS were out the back for a long way but stayed on up the straight. The latter ran well considering his hike in the weights.
*** Sad postscript to the story is that the gallant performer MIGHTY FINE collapsed and died after the race.
8.00 3m 0.5f Handicap Hurdle
An ordinary staying event run at a gentle pace.
BARRACAT led for a long way but dropped away in the straight. He was in good form last winter, if inconsistent, but seems to be struggling a little now.
EL BANDINDOS was having only his fifth run, so might have more scope than the rest here. He stayed on very well and I would expect this one to follow up. THE RIGHT PEOPLE did nothing wrong in second and will be competitive in similar contests. The remainder basically plodded.
PANTHERS RUN showed some promise here in a novice event last time, but seems to have two ways of running.
8.30 2m 4.5f Novice Handicap Chase
GUNSON HIGHT won a chase at Hexham but fell last time. This time he whacked the first, rider lost his irons and the horse ran out. He's got ability but hisjumping is dicey at the moment.
LAWAAHEB led to 4 out and then weakened.
RUSSIAN SKY disputed the lead for a long way but faded in the straight. He often flatters to deceive and is one to oppose.
MISTER MAGNUM was badly hampered by KNOW THE ROPES on the run-in, but battled back determinedly. The winnere shows the right attitude and is at the right end of the handicap. KNOW THE ROPES got tired and hung towards the rail, but performed well enough.
9.00 2m 0.5f Handicap Hurdle
This looked a competitive event.
SUPPLY AND FIX took them along at a decent pace, was headed on the flat and only beaten a length. His rider, Jennifer Kidd, is a useful amateur, but was outridden in the straight. I reckon SUPPLY AND FIX can make amends if professionally handled or if aimed at an amateur hurdle.
GO FIGURE battled well to dead heat, has only had five races, is at the right end of the handicap and should in again.
GOLD GUN looked to have done neough only to be joined right on the line.
Form looks strong.