Aintree's card is a cracker by Sunday standards, and it's there that Keith Melrose is attempting the Placepot.
"Silver Roque’s win on his debut for Fergal O’Brien was embarrassingly easy, to the point that even a 12-lb rise won’t be enough to keep him out of the three here."
13:10 - There must be a good chance that Vendor will laugh at a BHA mark of 136 returned to handicaps, but he's certainly priced accordingly against pretty solid opposition. Doubts are being sounded over many due to the ground, but one who surely won't be affected is Son of Flicka, the Coral Cup winner at this year's Cheltenham Festival who seems to find all ground coming alike to him, while he also has form at this track. Our second spot is taken by Teak, who's switched to the in-form Ian Williams yard and showed enough for his previous connections to suggest he'll be competitive from a BHA mark of 116.
13:40 - Some guesswork is almost always required in these autumn juvenile contests, and this race is no different. We're actually going with a couple of debutants: British debutant For Two (Paul Nicholls recruit from France who won his only start there) and hurdling debutant Moidore. The latter is useful on the Flat, showing his best form on testing ground, and trainer John Quinn is as good as any at getting horses to make a smooth transition between Flat and jumps.
14:15 - A four-runner maiden chase, in which we unfortunately can't rule any out. Therefore, the Placepot golden rule of taking them all applies.
14:50 - Plenty in this three-mile handicap hurdle would be well suited by this turning into a slog, including favourite Lovcen and our two selections - Mavalenta and Ely Brown. The former is including chiefly because she has both fitness and stable form on her side, though she also remains unexposed over staying trips. Ely Brown is more established, but he finds himself on a fair mark starting out for burgeoning trainer Charlie Longsdon and could well be on the premises if his new yard can work the oracle first time out.
15:25 - We're in need of a banker, and mercifully an oasis has appeared on the horizon. Silver Roque's win on his debut for Fergal O'Brien (he had been with the now-retired Henrietta Knight) was embarrassingly easy, to the point that even a 12-lb rise won't be enough to keep him out of the three here. He also jumped superbly last time, so he should be well-equipped for the stern test posed by the fences of the Mildmay Course.
16:00 - This is an interesting novice, with a couple of point winners and an expensively-bought bumper winner making his debut for the Donald McCain yard. That said, the apparent strength of Funny Star's successful hurdling debut in France, as well as the edge in experience it gives him, is enough to nominate him as a banker in our Placepot perm; just pray that all five stand their ground.
13:10 - 1, 12
13:40 - 1, 5
14:15 - 1, 2, 3, 4
14:50 - 9, 11
15:25 - 8
16:00 - 1
= 32 lines