Derby hints abound as new venue Nottingham provide further clues to finding this year's champion, but we'll start at Yarmouth where Roxholme Poppy looks ripe to supplement her impressive heat victory last week in the third semi-final of the Leger (20:59).
While last week's extremely wet conditions made it difficult to precisely evaluate performances there was no doubt that Hayley Keightley's Yorkshire Leger heroine was head and shoulders above the opposition, and she can land short odds ahead of likely favourite status for this weekend's final. Aayamza Breeze confirmed last month's last gasp Regency success was no flash in the pan with a comfortable victory of her own and rates the most likely other qualifier.
Butt best for Keightley double
Keightley's Roxholme Butt has drawn a particularly competitive second semi-final (20:44) but is fancied to provide connections with a double having secured the inside berth. Not that it will be easy with sole wide seed Brigadier Bullet set to confirm form over re-opposing Stardom and grab the other qualifying spot.
Maggie may prove best
The opening semi-final (20:29) is just as tough with prolific winning Ridgedale Max again proving his consistency in last week's first round. He looks sure to go close for Phil Simmonds but with a little more luck in running I fancy Slippy Maggie, eye-catching in defeat last week, and another week further out of season to emerge on top even if this trip is undoubtedly at her minimum.
Holland ripe for Clonbrien double
Back at Derby HQ ace Irish handler Graham Holland has garnered the strongest of teams headed by litter-brothers Clonbrien Swift and Clonbrien Prince and both are as good as unopposable in their respective Trial Stakes. With no disrespect to the opposition Prince (19:19) has bagged arguably the easier contest and his early toe can soon put him to the fore while Swift (20:08), successful from stripes last week but likely to be even better suited by his trap two berth can complete a short-price double. With its emphasis on stamina the Derby trip looks ideal for both littermates who rate strong candidates to play major roles in this year's proceedings.
Holland's Irish Derby finalist Slippy Cian is another who will relish the set-up at Colwick Park and will likely form the opening leg of many multiples tonight (19:05) but I'll take my chance with prolific winner Brinkleys Poet who hinted he was closing in on his best form last week and can get first run.
Dec to dominate
Martyn Wiley's in-form Romford raider Knockduff Declan has been afforded an excellent opportunity to make a winning Nottingham debut (19:36) and should not be ignored while Lynn Cook's regular Notts OR winner Plaza Lep has enough early toe to initiate another success for the locally based runner (20:23).
Forest Mike faces no easy task clearing pace on his inside but his consistency in that department ensures he makes plenty of appeal (20:37) while strong-running Meet Me looks best in the closer (21:40).
For the long odds punters well-drawn Swift Sabbath is worth including at attractive odds in a red-hot contest (20:51).