The down point of Martin Todhunter’s recent fortunes has to have been at Ayr, writes John Budden.

His lightly-raced mare Sophie Olivia put in a storming late run to join Maurice Barnes’s in-form Bafana Blue, only to come down at the last fence.

Some compensation for this expensive reverse for the Orton trainer came shortly afterwards with Ringaringarosie at Sedgefield. Danny McMenamin’s mount dropped back to the rear of the field at the halfway stage before producing a truly remarkable rally before two out which carried her from last to first and record a third course success.

Barnes is enjoying his best-ever start to the autumn campaign and, prior to Newcastle's meeting last Friday, he was officially 'the hottest trainer' in the UK, with Nicky Richards in second place, completing a remarkable one-two for Cumbrian stables.

Maurice did not saddle a winner at Newcastle but he went close with the appropriately named Farlam King who finished a brave runner-up to Mr Love, the warm favourite in the opener, partnered by Tommy Dowson who himself began his professional career with the Barnes stable.

The Barry Murtagh-trained Border Victor looked the form choice for the Newcastle novice chase, but he was making his chase debut and did not seem to be happy over the bigger obstacles,making a number of jumping errors before being pulled up.

Catterick stage their first jumps meeting of the season this afternoon and Jimmy Moffatt could be the Cumbrian trainer to follow.

The Cartmel handler has Turtle Wars, with Barrow's Charlotte Jones in the saddle, for the opening conditional jockeys hurdle, but his best chance comes later in the day with The Steward, who ran well in stronger company at Ayr last time out and who should be better suited to Catterick's sharper circuit.

Richards has Teddy Tee, who is overdue a win, engaged in the three-mile chase, Ryan Day has the ride.