The much vaunted Telescope is in action at Chester on Thursday, but Tony Calvin is less than convinced by the hype around the four-year-old and instead has his eye on a couple of bigger priced runners on the card...
"Being by Monsun, his pedigree suggests he will relish this 1m4f and I can see this strong-traveller going close here, admittedly in a race teeming with horses from top stables with unknown potential."
The vibes coming from Freemason Lodge are that we may finally see the real deal from Telescope in the Betfair Price Rush Huxley Stakes at 14:15 on Thursday, but to be honest he doesn't have me hurrying to hit the blue button at odds of 3.7511/4 quite yet.
Quite frankly, the talk around him is getting a bit tiresome, as I don't think a 115-rated horse who has just a 50% winning strike rate merits such discussion.
Yes, he is owned by a high-profile group of individuals, with a very able and media-savvy racing manager in tow, but have you ever heard his trainer or jockey talking Telescope up to any significant degree? No, you haven't.
A lot of the "hype" emanated from the fact that some bookmakers made him favourite for the Derby at one stage last season after a win in a three-runner race at Leicester. And we all know that ante-post markets are not as robust as they once were, with relatively small money influencing them to a marked degree.
Actually, we have seen that in recent days when a Betfair Exchange customer was trying to back Australia and Taghrooda for the Derby and Oaks at odds lower than were generally available elsewhere - to the tune of around £10,000 - presumably as he couldn't get on with those firms and/or to the size he wanted.
His bets were matched on Betfair, but not before all the other firms cut their prices on the horses, accordingly.
Anyway, I have digressed a fair bit there, so back to Telescope. He could well post a career-best performance at Chester with that Sandown lung-clearer behind him, and Sir Michael Stoute showed with Gospel Choir at Newmarket last week what a master he is at bringing older horses to concert pitch.
He is probably the likeliest winner but I would be looking for a bigger price than around 11/4 myself, especially over 1m2f round this tight track, against some very credible rivals in Noble Mission and Ektihaam, and a non-runner makes this a seven-runner race and takes away the each-way angle for Sportsbook players, too.
I also can't see much of an edge into the 15:15, as I think there are just too many unexposed horses in the race to get a betting handle of it.
Chester 14:45 - Scotland
The same is obviously true of the three-year-olds in the Chester Vase, but I am willing to give Scotland another chance at odds of 10.09/1 or better.
He looked very promising when winning at Epsom last season and I thought he was set to give Western Hymn something to think about on his comeback at Newbury, travelling really well until finding disappointingly little in the final 2f.
His trainer blamed himself for that, saying "he needed the run far more than I anticipated", and if he has come on a lot for the run than he has a bigger chance than double-figure odds imply.
Being by Monsun, his pedigree suggests he will relish this 1m4f and I can see this strong-traveller going close here, admittedly in a race teeming with horses from top stables with unknown potential. And his stable is in flying form after a double here on Wednesday.
Chester 13:45 - Marcret
I am going to side with Marcret in the 13:45 at odds of 9.08/1 or better. Being drawn nine is not ideal, but apart from that he has a lot going for him.
The form of his reappearance third at Ripon is working out very well, with the runner-up subsequently bolting up at Pontefract and the fourth home San Cassiano finishing an excellent second to the well-handicapped Hit The Jackpot at Musselburgh next time.
And Marcret has an excellent record around here, too. He won the Huxley Stakes on this card in 2012, and dotted up by seven lengths in a decent claimer here last June. The softer the better for him, but more showers are forecast and he rates a pretty solid bet after that highly encouraging comeback run.
Back Marcret in the 13:45 at Chester at 9.08/1 or better
Back Scotland in the 14:45 at Chester at 10.09/1 or better