Tony Calvin returns for the second day of the Craven Meeting and has a fancy for both the televised action at Newmarket and also at Cheltenham...
"A fit Deauville will a lot of beating in the Earl Of Sefton at 15:00, but I am not sure I am willing to back him at around 9/4 with that doubt. In fact, I am not."
Aeolus primed to run a big race
Naggers was withdrawn from the opening 16-runner handicap at Newmarket at 13:50, on Tuesday morning, so be sure to check the each-way terms when betting.
Of course, the original place terms stand on the exchange, but I shall be backing Aeolus win-only anyway. Support him at [12.0] or bigger in the 6f handicap.
Ed Walker may have had only one winner in the past fortnight but all his horses have been running well - not one has been beaten by more than six lengths, and the stable's form figures read 442324271262 in that period - and his 7yo is surely primed to run a big race here.
He traditionally makes his comeback at this meeting, and often in the face of stiff tasks, but he ran a cracker in 2016 when only beaten in a four-way photo in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes.
The handicapper has given him a real chance here, and he is already 3lb lower than when second in the Stewards' Cup just four starts ago (he is on 100 now, having started last season on 107), and the weather can do what it likes, as he is equally at home on soft or good ground (Frankie Dettori reported it as "very soft" after galloping Cracksman before racing on Tuesday).
The cheekpieces that he wore for the first time (on soft ground) at Goodwood aren't on here, but that doesn't trouble me in the slightest, as he has loads of form without headgear. He is weighted to go very close, and Eastern Impact and Barrington (making his debut for Mick Appleby) could be his biggest threats.
Looking for a big run from Altyn Orda
The European Free Handicap at 14:25, has a seriously competitive look to it and a lot will depend on the state of readiness of these classy and promising 3yos, though three have had an outing.
I really haven't got a clue what will win, to be honest, so let's move on.
A fit Deauville will a lot of beating in the Earl Of Sefton at 15:00, but I am not sure I am willing to back him at around 9/4 with that doubt. In fact, I am not.
Deauville has any number of performances that would see him ease home here off these weights - he is unpenalised for Group-race wins due to the conditions of the race - but he does meet fit and in-form rivals in Master The World and Robin Of Navan, so it is easy to give the race a swerve.
Bar the opener, the ITV races are not punting mediums for me, but I hope Altyn Orda absolutely bolts up in the Nell Gwyn at 15:35, and puts herself firmly in line for a crack at the 1000 Guineas.
I have backed her, small, at 33/1 for the Classic, as I was pretty taken with her good-ground course and distance win in the Oh So Sharp, where she did a lot wrong and still won well from fair sorts.
She strikes me as the type to kick on this season as she matures and gains experience, but she hasn't been missed in the market at 7/2 in what looks a very deep race featuring a whole host of similarly promising fillies.
Worth taking a chance at Cheltenham
There is also a good card at Cheltenham, and I just wonder whether ITV, or rather ITV4, could have shoe-horned more than the 14:40, into their Wednesday afternoon coverage. There are some really interesting races either side of that 2m5f handicap chase.
But we are where we are, and it is another hugely competitive race to try and decipher.
I am going to give Quite By Chance another stab at [26.0] or bigger.
He has sulked after early mishaps on his last two starts, and he has a history of hitting one, but at least the handicapper has dropped him 4lb for those efforts (his first since a wind op) and the price tempted me in with his stable in much better form now.
He is now 6lb lower than when fourth to Frodon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup here in December 2016 (where he was only beaten two lengths and may have won but for being hampered) and the drying ground is in his favour, too.
Back Aeolus at [12.0] or bigger in 13:50 at Newmarket
Back Quite By Chance at [26.0] or bigger in 14:40 at Cheltenham