Despite Royal Ascot being just around the corner there is some highly competitive racing on the box this Saturday and our big-price tipster Tony Calvin guides us through the afternoon and provides his recommended bets...
"If he is in anywhere near the same form that he was when a close fourth, beaten under a length, in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last season on good to soft ground - or indeed his sixth in the Dewhurst - then he is very well-handicapped off a mark of 96."
How much store do you set by the pre-race quotes of connections when betting?
Some trainers, like Brian Meehan, are unremittingly bullish about all of their runners. Others, like John Gosden, like to focus on the potential negatives. And then you have those who pretty much refuse to get involved in any meaningful information exchange and speculation, and trot out very bland lines, while other handlers presumably don't even pick up the phone and are rarely sighted in print.
I personally don't tend to take too much notice of them - unless of course it is about a specific and stated setback, which was not in the public domain - but some clearly do.
For example, I've noticed that Racing Post's Pricewise does tend to take fair heed of bullish comments from connections in the preview section of his paper, and why shouldn't he? You take in all the information at your disposal in this game, and he has access to more than most working for the trade paper.
So why am I rumbling on about nothing? Well, it's relevant because I was going to go in strong on the complete rag, Twin Sails, in the 15:35 at York.
And after reading some pretty negative comments from Dean Ivory, I still am. Back the horse at 38.037/1 or bigger.
Thanks to Nick Robson of the Press Association to pointing me in the direction of the following from the trainer:
"Some of my horses haven't been quite right, yet we've had a few winners this last week.
"Twin Sails was one of those who hasn't been right and he's also had some problems but it's a case of running him to find out a bit more.
"He's got good form in the book and while there wouldn't be much between them, I would favour Kadrizzi. If I can get Twin Sails right there's a big prize in him so I'm hoping he takes a step in the right direction."
Not an overwhelmingly positive update, I grant you, and I'm sure many will want to look elsewhere in the 20-runner 6f handicap as a result - Udontdodou is an obvious favourite and Sign Of The Kodiac is well-treated if translating that Chelmsford win to turf - but I am going to stick to my guns.
I am actually quite encouraged by the trainer quotes in a bizarre way, actually.
The trainer had some well-documented problems with pollen near his stables affecting his horses earlier in the season - well, if they weren't well-documented, then at least you know now - and it is interesting that Ivory says that Twin Sails has not "been right."
That would explain two modest runs this season - though Log Out Island's uncontested stroll at Newbury last time is worth ignoring for most of the beaten horses - and the bonus is that the horse has been dropped a hefty 8lb for them.
If he is in anywhere near the same form that he was when a close fourth, beaten under a length, in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last season on good to soft ground - or indeed his sixth in the Dewhurst - then he is very well-handicapped off a mark of 96.
Those efforts were over 7f but he has plenty of form over 6f - in fact, this strongly-run 6f with cut promises to be ideal - and the other big pointer to his chances is the stable form.
Ivory has had four winners, and two runners-up, in the last six days from only nine runners, and that is good going by anyone's standards. Let's hope that Twin Sails, half-owned by his father, notches up another winner for the Radlett yard.
It's a flier, but well worth it at the price, even if he is unproven on soft ground if the rain continues and the trainer is on record as saying that he prefers fast ground. But hey ho.
Secret Hint looks sure to go well in the 14:25. She overcame the widest draw when winning over 6f at Chester last time, is only 2lb higher here, and has excelled on both her starts over course and distance.
I liked her chances of following up but the more you look at the opposition - Lincoln will dot up off this mark at some point this season - the more dangers you can see. I will give her a reluctant swerve, as there was a lot of rain at York on Friday morning, with more forecast on Friday night, and she is unproven if it turns out soft.
In fact, I am surprised she wasn't left in at Salisbury on Sunday, as an option. Withernsea will love any more rain, though.
At a similar price, I thought Oceane was sure to go close in the opener at 13:50 for Serena Brotherton. Then that rain began to fall on Friday morning.
Quite a few in here are handicapped to excel if returning to their best, and recent course winner Nayel is a big danger with Katie Walsh in the saddle, but Oceane will not lack from the saddle.
He is on the same mark as when a close third to St Leger winner Simple Verse and subsequent Melrose winner Polarisation over this trip on fast ground at Salisbury in June last year, and there was more than enough promise in his recent fourth on his return to the Flat at the same track last time to suggest he has a winning chance here.
He took a while to get warmed up when fourth over 1m6f last time but the form looks solid - the fifth, Nigel, won well at Brighton this week - and we know that he handles this shorter trip. And I thought the fitting of cheek pieces for the first time sealed the deal.
But the rain looks to have got into the ground, and he disappointed in the soft at Newbury last year, so another sulking "no bet" for me, as it stands. Snoano is interesting if it is soft, or worse, come race-time.
The listed race at 15:00 looks a complete minefield with eight of the 12 runners separated by only 5lb on official ratings.
Any further rain would also make it trickier to call - suiting the likes of last year's winner Top Notch Tonto, blinkered for the first time - and I can't see much of an edge, to be honest.
I have already written over 1,000 words so I am going to ditch the fluff and get punchier with the tips, and first up at Musselburgh is Pearl Acclaim at 21.020/1 in the Tartan Trophy at 15:10.
Ideally, you want to be drawn high at Musselburgh but Demora (drawn 3) and Kingsgate Choice (1) have won the main race in recent seasons, and a few have been placed in the 5f sprints from low draws, and hopefully Pearl Acclaim can defy the one-stall, too.
He wasn't in the best of nick last time, but he is 5lb lower than when winning this race last season, his stable is in much better form of late, and the cheekpieces have been re-fitted for the first time in two years. And he was only just touched off when he wore them that day, off a 13lb higher mark than this. Olivia Fallow looks the one to beat.
I am going give Green Door another chance at 26.025/1 in the big one at 15:45 from stall eight.
I thought that he was going to take a hand in the Epsom Dash 2f out on Saturday, but his run rather petered out towards the centre of the track - you had to be on the rail that day - even if he was only beaten less than five lengths in the end.
He is 2lb lower here, and very well-treated on his Beverley win last season, so I will give him one more chance.
I wouldn't be surprised if favourite Kimberella were to bolt up but of the others at prices, Robot Boy, who can go well fresh, and Thesme, have chances, even though they are also drawn in single figures.
It is a case of watch-and-wait for my main fancy at Sandown, as Fire Ship in the 14:45 really does need cut in the ground to be seen to best effect. And the forecast does suggest some may be arriving tomorrow, but how much and when is anyone's guess.
So while I can't. or rather won't, put him up at the time of writing on ground edging towards good to firm, I will outline my case for him quickly. If the rain does come in time, I will post something on my twitter feed - @tony_calvin - tomorrow, and we will get involved.
Basically, at this time last year he finished a 3 length third to Top Notch Tonto and Gabrial off levels at York, and was rated 105. He is now rated 85 - obviously on the back of some modest runs, granted - and back on a track in which he has won and also finished a good third to Elm Park in listed company.
If he can beat off the two other potential pace angles in race and get to the lead from stall five - and he hasn't dominated a race for a while, and that is crucial to him running well - then he could bounce back to form and take the world of beating from this mark.
He does have form on good ground - indeed he has won on officially good to firm ground in the past - but he really does need rain, though. Keep an eye peeled on the weather, and my twitter feed, tomorrow.
Star Blaze must go well in the 14:10 if the formbook tells us anything, even though I accept 3yo handicaps do lend themselves to a lot of guesswork.
But Star Blaze did remarkably well to win his Newmarket maiden over 1m last time, getting on top only close home after looking to be going nowhere for most of the race, and 1m1f on a stiffer track looks sure to suit.
The form of that race is working out well, too, with the second, third and fifth all finishing a good second next time, and the fourth winning. Everything points to him being much better than a mark of 82 and he rates a bet at 8.07/1 or bigger, or you can back him on the Sportsbook at 8/1.
The unpenalised Ornate would take a fair bit of beating in the 15:20 if returning to the form of his Flying Childers second last season but he clearly has questions to answer after his last run at Lingfield in January.
Last year's Queen Mary runner-up Easton Angel is the obvious favourite but she has a 3lb penalty for her comeback win at York and, more importantly, is drawn eight of nine.
It's look too tricky to me.
Back Star Blaze at 8.07/1 in the 14:10 at Sandown
Back Pearl Acclaim at 21.020/1 in the 15:10 at Musselburgh
Back Twin Sails at 38.037/1 in the 15:35 at York
Back Green Door at 26.025/1 in the 15:45 at Musselburgh