There's plenty to get stuck into this week, and despite the Shergar Cup meeting getting a right good bashing on social media - it's actually a decent betting card.
Bashosh took up none of his four entries this week, so we will have to put that on ice for now, and Berkshire Breeze remains well found in the market and doesn't feature in today's column either.
Mr Mac to lead from pillar to post
We lucked out with our sole ante-post selection Seasett in the 14:25 at Haydock, who is a no-show on what I can only assume is ground concerns, but I want to go back in and have another crack at this contest, and I have found one at a nice price.
As mentioned in Monday's column, a small field was expected, with 11 entries having alternative engagements, and only seven have stood their ground.
One of those is three-year-old Mr McCann 6.05/1 for Hugo Palmer who I expected to go to Thirsk. Still, this looks to have cherry-picked and it's a blinding opportunity for this horse to bounce back after a disappointing run in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot. He has been given 51 days to get over those excursions, and this looks like a prime opportunity to dictate.
A straight mile at Ascot was never his bag - he is like a greyhound and needs a bend to zip round.
His season hasn't gone the way connections were hoping it would, but he has been flying high, and this is a drop into calmer waters on just his second start in a handicap.
The habitual front-runner started off the season with his new handler at Chester in the Listed Dee Stakes over 1m2f. Still, he was gunned down inside the final half furlong by Derby hopes Star Of India, Sonny Liston, Cresta and Dubai Poet - the latter narrowly touched off next time in the Jersey Stakes and all horses rated in the high 100's. He set a furious gallop that day, but perhaps a combination of a lack of a run and a trip too far saw his undoing.
German 2,000 Guineas run better than the result
Connections flew him to Germany 17 days later, but he was dealt the widest draw in stall 11 and was rushed up to try and make the running alongside recent Goodwood winner Rocchigiani. He was posted wide for much of the race and finished off under hand and heals riding to be beaten eight lengths by the outstanding Maljoom.
He now returns to Haydock, where he dominated a field as a two-year-old to win unchallenged and had some useful horses in behind - Modern Games and the 107-rated Triple Time being just two to mention.
He has the ideal scenario to bounce back to form today, taking on mainly exposed rivals, and while the 13.012/1 didn't last when the Betfair Sportsbook opened, and the 10.09/1 has gone, anything 6.05/1 or bigger is acceptable here.
Stick with Jack to land back to back
We stick with Haydock for their 15:00 Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes, and while I am usually very keen to find value away from the head of the market, that's only when something doesn't offer excellent value at the top of it.
I expected Grocer Jack to be trading closer to the even money mark for this contest rather than his 2.26/5, considering he is taking on a field mainly made up of horses that made their last start in handicap company. Last year's winner Fox Tales, outsider Maries Diamond and Passion And Glory (who has already been behind the selection) are the acceptions.
Still, he blitzed his field at Newbury in an electric time, and his form in defeat in Group company in France is superior to that of this field on their best day.
He is six pounds clear of his closest rating rival and unexposed on good ground with form figures 151221 since 2020. He makes stacks of appeal in this contest and should be backed at 2.111/10 or bigger.
No pace in the Dash and no bet, unless...
The Shergar Dash at 14:10 left me scratching my head. King Of Stars 7.06/1 is the only pace angle I could find, and with what's likely to be a good draw in stall eight, he should be playing a hand in the finish. Still, he has proven vulnerable inside the final furlong in many of his races over a stiff five furlongs.
Plenty of these sprinters are not the force of old, and that includes surprising favourite Arecibo 4.57/2. Surprising because he hasn't finished a race off for some time now, but perhaps the slower tempo of this handicap may prove up his street. Still, I like mine hitting the line strongly before backing next time out.
The blinkers need to work an oracle for Hurricane Ivor 7.06/1 to reproduce the 2021 goods after disappointing in every start this season. Judicial is a horse that loves a bend, and this drop to five furlongs for the first time since the Beverley Bullet doesn't look like a positive move.
Mokaatil no back number
The closest I came to a bet in this contest was Mokaatil 41.040/1, but he is a second reserve and unlikely to get a run. He has been better than the result the last twice when drawn out of it at Goodwood and Epsom, and his hold-up running style was not going to be suited by Chester - so you can throw that one out as well.
If he somehow gets a run here, I would have a couple of pence each way at those lofty 41.040/1 odds!
Haggas holds the ace with Pride Of Priory
It's not until Ascot's 15:20 that I want to have a good bet on this Shergar Cup card, which comes in the form of William Haggas' Pride Of Priory 4.57/2.
Kieran Shoemark thankfully has got the ride, and this progressive unexposed four-year-old has plenty going for him. Not only is this the best trainer and jockey combination in the race, but he arrives on a steep upward curve. He did excellently well to run down two fellow improvers at Newcastle when held up off a slow pace, and that form looks strong.
He should get a good clip to aim at here, and his odds are very fair. I expect him to go off a well-supported favourite for this, and anything bigger than 3.7511/4 is worth grabbing.
His trainer has suggested that he needs a small field to be at his best, and that would concur with his form. He has run in races with field sizes of ten or fewer runners five times and won four (the fifth was his debut run).