Rivabodiva tried hard and while she could not quite match the winner over three miles at Hexham this afternoon, her second placing illustrated her new-found consistency; she should be able to return to the winners spot again this season.
We had some promising runs from the others; Grand Morning, third, and Prince Dundee, fifth, have lovely ways of going and while they are both still weak they will have learnt a lot today on their journeys to being chasers. Jump For Dough has a good engine as despite some jumping errors and slow jumps he was a rallying fourth; he will be better than this with time, experience and more schooling. Haul Us In is still very green and her fifth place will be improved on when the ground is heavy and as she becomes more confident at her fences.
We head on to Kelso and Aintree tomorrow with three chasers and a bumper mare.
Misfits returns to Kelso where he ran a good race last year on his first try over fences. We muddled around with the distance after that but are back at two miles tomorrow and if he can settle early he should run an improved race.
Vengeur De Guye really needs it to be heavy to be at his best and we will decide after the first race if the ground conditons are suitable for him to run or not. He has been fresh at home and we had thought that this would be his ideal race but if the ground is at all fast he will not run.
In the mares bumper, we run Rubydoobs, like Misfits, by Beneficial. She can be hot at home but has been looking more settled recently and we are looking for a better run than last time out.
Meanwhile, Blair is off to Aintree with Imjoeking who is having a warm up run before a tilt back over the National fences at the start of December. He is an active horse with a bit of class and a fast run race will suit him tomorrow.
Today's photograph is of Spoils Of War, Champagnendiamonds and Vinos Choice heading back in after schooling this morning.