Cheltenham takes centre stage this Saturday afternoon and our big-price tipster Tony Calvin, fresh from tipping an 8/1 winner on Friday, is keen to back an outsider that holds strong claims in the feature race of the day...
"But at least Quite By Chance acts perfectly well on both good and soft ground, and there is little doubt that he is coming here in the form of his life."
Quite By Chance rates as one of the most attractive bets of recent weeks at odds of 22.021/1 win, and 4.57/2 place, in the grandly-titled Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at 13:50 at Cheltenham on Saturday afternoon.
However, the first place to start when assessing this race has to be another Gold Cup, the BetVictor variety, at this course last month where Village Vic was agonisingly collared close home in second.
The next three home all re-oppose here, as does the pulled-up Frodon, and to be honest you can make a fair case for all of them.
The unplaced Frodon was well-beaten in the end but he was still there with every chance when clouting four out.
Runner-up Village Vic ran his heart out on the Old Course there and won this race on the New Course last year (which he goes particularly well on, and he will again attempt to pummel the opposition from the front) though he continues to stride up the handicap.
The frustrating Buywise, third last month, could be exactly the type to benefit from a first-time visor, while fourth-placed Aso would have been a lot closer had he not hit the last two.
And then we have the fifth home, Bouvreuil, who took the safe route on the outside and is probably deserving of a lot of credit on that score alone.
It is probably flawed reasoning but if I can't work out which of the five from last month will come out on top then I don't want to be with the form at the prices - three of the five are at the head of the market - but I really do like Quite By Chance.
At the time of writing I don't really know what the ground will be at Cheltenham. It has been good all week but they have been watering, and there is an unsettled forecast to muddy the waters. And possibly the going.
But at least Quite By Chance acts perfectly well on both good and soft ground, and there is little doubt that he is coming here in the form of his life.
He was a late springer in the market when a 6-length winner over 2m1f at Ascot in October, and that form has worked out remarkably well. The third, fourth (Roman Flight, who re-opposes here) and eighth all won next time, and he then returned to the Berkshire track to run an absolute blinder last time.
Sire De Grugy proved 1 ½ lengths too good for him there but we all saw how well he ran in the Tingle Creek last week - just not well enough to fill my pockets, granted - and third Vaniteux went into that race off a very attractive mark on his novice form.
He may be 4lb higher but on that run alone he is no 20-1 chance, but take a look at the video of last time and you will see a horse who was crying out for a step back up in trip as he cut into the winner's lead on the run-in. He has won at up to 2m7f, after all, and this distance may be just what he wants on good ground.
One concern would be that a lot of his good form (if not all) has come on right-handed tracks and he has run poorly at this track before, but it's only a minor worry.
Of course, you can make a case for plenty - Kylemore Lough has the class but not the big-field handicap experience and Thomas Brown, up 5lb for his Aintree win, still looks on a fair mark to me - but he gets my vote.
And the beauty of backing him for a place is that the original terms of 1,2,3,4 stand on the exchange even if there is a non-runner in the 16-runner handicap, which looks likely if they don't get a lot of rain. A rule 4 is simply applied.
The rest of the C4 action actually makes limited appeal, and I am not one to force a bet.
I am a fan of Thistlecrack's half-brother West Approach in the 14:25 and I think he will be ridden more conservatively than he was over 2m5f here last time, but it is not the shape of race I look for when betting.
And neither is the 15:00.
The handicapper thinks My Tent Or Yours is on the wane and has dropped him 7lb to 155 after his Haydock third.
That could be a touch premature - not that it really matters, unless he comes down a few more pounds to make handicaps like the Betfair Hurdle feasible targets once again - as that race turned into a sprint on very deep ground.
As he hasn't won over hurdles since beating The New One in the 2013 Christmas Hurdle, he gets all the allowances here, so he really should win this well if returning to the form of his Champion Hurdle second back in March.
But, as I often say, I can easily let these short-priced horses win without my money.
As for the mares handicap hurdle at 15:35, thanks but no thanks. I think they should have either of the first three races on C4 instead, and in particular the 13:15 where I hope Vaniteux gives a boost to Quite By Chance's Ascot form, though Savello could give him something to think about off that mark.
There is also some good handicap action not on terrestrial TV at Doncaster, and instead we are served up a Grade 2 novices' chase and juvenile hurdle, which aren't the most competitive.
I have been waiting on Knock House to make his debut for his new yard for about two months now - they have been waiting for this better ground for him and he has been taken out of about four decent races at the overnight stage - and he definitely interested me in the 12:55 which will be broadcast on ATR.
I will stick to my terrestrial brief, though, so just the one bet for me this Saturday. But I make it a pretty strong one.
Back Quite By Chance at 22.021/1 win and 4.57/2 place in 13:50 at Cheltenham
You can read Tony's Saturday Racing Tips for the Ascot races on Saturday 17 December behind the link.