Dark Shot has beaten just two of his 36 rivals in three starts this season, and probably ran his worst race yet at York last time on the bare figures, but delve a bit deeper and I reckon he is set to massively outrun his odds in the Stewards' cup consolation at 13:50.
Conditions are ideal for Dark Shot to bounce back
He did drop away very tamely after being in the firing line on the Knavesmire a fortnight ago, but the handicapper has given him every chance of bouncing back by dropping him 5lb to a mark of just 72 for that run, which means he has come down 10lb this term and 18lb since running at this meeting last year.
Now, he didn't shine in those two starts at this meeting last season - though he stayed furthest on the far side in this race last season, which never gave him any chance - but he is one seriously well handicapped horse if he hasn't gone completely, and a quick 6f on fast ground are exactly his conditions.
He has run three good races at this course and he was beaten just under two lengths when fourth in this race in 2018 off a 16lb higher mark.
I will admit there is a slight suspicion that he is better over 5f, as his second in the Epsom Dash and another 19-runner handicap at York last season suggest (those runs both came off marks of 86), but he has plenty of 6f form for that not to trouble me unduly.
He races off a career-low handicap mark here and what further intrigues me is that Scott Dixon has left off the headgear he has worn in his last 20 starts, presumably in a bid to discover the lost enthusiasm.
And this horse has performed very well without any assistance up top before; indeed, you could argue his best effort was a neck second in the Jack Berry House Handicap at York in 2018, when he split El Astronaute and Major Jumbo.
Of course, there is massive blow-out potential here but he is getting some of my cash at 40.039/1 or bigger. You can even make a case that a reproduction of the form of his seven and three-quarters-of-a-length last of 12 in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes on his return would be good enough here.
Back him at 40.039/1 or bigger (he is 40/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook at time of publishing).
One Hart primed to run huge race
The first firm to price up the race on Thursday made Dark Shot their 50/1 outsider of the field, and their next biggest-priced horse was One Hart at 40/1, but I have no hesitation in putting up the latter as a saver, too.
Back him at 34.033/1 or bigger.
In fact, if anything, Dark Shot is the saver, as I like the claims of One Hart even more.
Basically, this colt has been crying out for a drop back to 6f after not lasting home over 7f in his two starts this season and has been dropped 5lb for them.
So, off a mark of 77 over a quick 6f, he looks primed to run a huge race.
He proved he just about gets 7f when just touched off on the line, after trying to make all, in a Wolverhampton nursery (off a mark of 80) four starts ago but he is certainly not a strong stayer at that trip, and his core asset is his early pace, which will obviously be a big plus around here.
He has shaped with real promise over 7f at Newcastle and Sandown this season, not being ideally positioned on the former track first time up and not persevered with in Esher in a good 0-90 last time, and I can see him getting on or near the stands' rail from his draw in 14 and hopefully proving hard to reel in.
He is one of only two three-year-olds in the line-up (along with the dangerous-looking Batchelors Boy) and I am struggling to work out why he is such a big price.
Of course, there are more obvious winners such as the 4/1 Rewaayat, but no way should One Hart - who I think could be a real shortener in the next 24 hours - and Dark Shot be so dismissed in the market.
Platitude has everything going for him
Platitude is hopefully ready to strike on his return at Goodwood and he looks a fair price at 9.08/1 or bigger in the 1m6f handicap at 14:25.
The handicapper dropped him a generous 5lb for his first two starts of the campaign, especially as his Ascot run behind Calling The Wind was not devoid of promise, but he shaped even better when second to Mancini at Sandown last time. The winner got on the front end early doors there, and was not for passing up the straight.
That hopefully would have teed up the selection perfectly for his return to a course on which he has excelled in the past, winning a Listed race by five lengths over course and distance back in 2016 and when winning a handicap over track and trip (off a 13lb higher mark than this) in 2018.
Everything looks in his favour and he looks a solid bet, for all the yard could be in a touch better form.
Of the others, last year's winner King's Advice would worry me, but he has run like a drain on his last starts. That is no barrier to him coming back to form, though, given the stable, which leads me on to Mark Johnston's Hochfeld.
I am happy to play two horses in this race because I think the favourite Laafy is too short on the ground, and Hochfeld fits the bill.
He was third in this race off a 10lb higher mark than this in 2018 and he has been steadily running into form this season, actually finishing fourth in the Sandown race that Platitude finished runner-up in last time.
He couldn't get an uncontested lead as he was hassled by the winner there and had to soon give best, but his fourth was still a big improvement on his first two runs of the season.
He was dropped another 1lb for it though, meaning he has now come 11lb in the weights since last year, and he looks as though he could get his own way out in front here. And when he does that he is at his best, so I hope stablemate Themaxwecan doesn't try and assume a pacemaking role here, as he has done in the past.
Back him to make all at 10.09/1 or bigger. If he doesn't, I hope Platitude is the one to pick him up late.
The four-runner Lillie Langtry at 15:00 predictably doesn't interest me at all and then punters are confronted by the 28-runner Stewards' Cup proper at 15:35.
I could spend the half a day on here going through all the runners with chances in this 6f handicap - that would be all 28 of them - but I was mightily surprised recent Haydock winner Barbill was as big as 33/1+ on the exchange when I looked on Friday morning (he has been matched as high as 42.041/1).
He was gelded before that reappearance run and that, combined with a falling handicap mark, saw him win cosily there and the form is working out really well.
The runner-up Kimifive was unlucky in the Bunbury Cup next time, and the third and fourth have won convincingly since, which leads me to believe Barbill remains well handicapped off a 5lb mark here.
Indeed, he was rated 102 when finishing fourth to Khaadem and Oxted in Listed company at Newbury last season - and he went on run well in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes thereafter - so I certainly think he can do further damage off his revised mark.
He has fast-ground form and he also finished a very respectable sixth in the Molecomb here, his only previous start at the track.
Back him at 26.025/1 or bigger. It was disappointing that the punchy early prices have gone on the exchange, but that is still far too big.
I'd back Cold Front if pushed
Cold Front and Tomfre would be my two against the field in the 16:10, but I fully accept that the favourite Society Lion could be hard to beat as well as one of two others looking dangerous enough off their marks, so I have to pass.
If pushed for a bet it would be Cold Front at around 9/2 though - that is a very fair price for a horse of his profile from the William Haggas yard - as I think a mark of 91 is very fair on the evidence of his good to soft Haydock win last time and his dam handled fast ground well.
Unfortunately, the prices were too slow to come through for the closing 1m1f handicap at 17:10 as I was interested to see how Exec Chef was priced up on his first start for George Scott with cheek pieces fitted for the first time (stable is four from 27 with this option).
The horse was sold for 40,000gns at the July sales and that looks a fair purchase to me, as he has run two solid races over 1m this season and the step up in trip will suit a horse that gets 1m2f well.
He ran a good seventh in the valuable 1m2f handicap at this meeting last year, fast ground is what he wants, and he is fairly drawn in six. I also like the try with headgear for a horse that has fallen out of the winning habit in the last two seasons after racking up a hat-trick in the summer of 2018.
He would interest me at 10/1 or bigger here if you want a guide price.
There are also four Newmarket races live on ITV but none have attracted a field of more than seven runners, so they were immediately on the back-foot as betting mediums from the outset.
Karibana art around 4/1 in the 7f handicap (14:40) was the closest I came to a bet but it is Goodwood all the way for me on Saturday.
Be lucky, one and all.