Partisan feeling aside, it was a terrific meeting, made all the sweeter by a capacity crowd of 2,000 to give the best atmosphere since 2019. And in the two feature events, we saw two outstanding horses that will be players in the top hunter chases next year. Law of Gold, a previous winner in 2019 of the point-to-point.co.uk Champion Novice Hunters Chase, returned to outpoint Bob And Co and Monbeg Chitchat in the Pertemps Network Stratford Foxhunter for Norfolk farmer David Kemp.
Meanwhile, Ulsterman David Christie made the 7 hour trip from the port at Stranraer worthwhile when the unexposed Vaucelet put the two best British novices to the sword in the point-to-point.co.uk Champion Novice Hunters, aka the John Corbett Cup. Fumet d'Oudairies (Tom Ellis) and Premier Magic (Bradley Gibbs) had got to this point with reputations enhanced, but the horses weren't aware of the back story. Vaucelet ran out a 2 3/4l winner, with a little in hand.
The professional cadre of handlers have also been keeping their end up over a busy holiday weekend. David Bridgwater is not best known for summer jumpers, but he's making every runner count presently, with 2 winners from just 9 runners this term, including Drake's Well in the Maiden Hurdle at Fontwell on Sunday. A third and a fourth at Uttoxeter and Huntingdon tell a story of wellbeing here so he may be worth following. Drake's Well was a second career winner for young Archie Bellamy.
Also successful at Fontwell was Graeme McPherson, whose 8 year old Sammlylou won his fifth hurdle race from 26 starts, in an all-Gloucestershire finish with rivals from Jackdaws Castle and Sophie Leech.
And keeping the county's end up, Martin Keighley banished the demons of 2020-21 by clocking his third winner of the season at Uttoxeter when Back On The Lash justified favouritism in the Novices Chase.
This is a time for restocking, and notable among the purchases at Tattersalls last week was Richard Hobson, who secured Garthorpe winner Wild Breeze, a son of Derby winner Pour Moi, knocked down for £40,000.