2015 was a mixed year for East Indies. If former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson were to give an assessment, it would probably be along the lines of: "First-half good, second-half not so good."
The second period came at Newmarket. He completely bombed out in a valuable sales race at HQ - the contest won by Hugo Palmer's Gifted Master. East Indies finished last, but the puzzling aspect was him running over 7f. That really isn't his trip.
The good part came at Kempton, he blitzed a field from the front to score by seven lengths in his maiden, over a suitable 1m2f. He held a Racing Post Trophy entry at the time, so the fact he makes his handicap debut from 84 makes a bit of appeal.
The three-year-old can be a bit of a tearaway, and keenness is a worry. However, his trainer John Gosden will use the pacifier - the hood, to calm him down.
The son of Authorized is a real galloper, and I like front-runners at Leicester. Over the 1m2f trip they can get racing some way out, and now armed with the headgear, he can put in a decent show from top weight.
One of my favourite National Hunt horses - Tidal Bay landed this in 2012. 'Landed' probably doesn't cover the performance though. The evergreen enigma routed a field in the mud by 15 lengths with a ton in hand, and the way Paul Nicholls brought him back to his best was a truly remarkable training feat. With plenty of rain about on Friday evening, conditions might not be too far off that golden day.
Nicholls of course has several shots to fire on Saturday in the 'down-to-the-wire' battle for the trainers' title. However, I am taking two from elsewhere.
My first selection is Theatre Guide at 16/1 on the Sportsbook. Colin Tizzard's nine-year-old finished second to Smad Place in this season's Hennessy, before slamming a field in a traditionally hot race at Kempton from a mark of 139. He saw it out strongly that day, and whilst he is racing from an 11lb higher mark, he could still be a danger considering he was a 147 rated novice.
His negatron would be the heavy fall last time at Cheltenham, but his jumping was spot on previously. He also acts in soft.
I will also be having a bet on Carole's Destrier; a winner of the Betfair London National earlier in the season - proving himself over today's marathon trip that afternoon.
Neil Mullholland's eight-year-old is a fairly consistent performer, and I still have the feeling there's more to come - especially given a real stamina test. We know he stays, and he is fairly versatile with conditions underfoot, but as a winner on soft and heavy too, the more rain the better.
Saturday's Recommended Bets
Back East Indies @ [8.0] in the 15:25 at Leicester
Back Theatre Guide @ 16/1 in the 16:10 at Sandown (Sportsbook price) (half point)
Back Carole's Destrier @ [14.0] in the 16:10 at Sandown (half point)
Alan Dudman's profit and loss
Weekly P/L: -1.0
2015 P/L: +20.14