Small-field races don't really float Tony Calvin's boat ahead of Friday's racing at Doncaster's St Leger meeting but our man has unearthed a pair of 6/1 shots that he is keen on...
"She clearly stays a mile but there is no doubt in my mind that she is better at this 7f trip and she has a big form chance on her soft-ground defeat of Red Starlight over that distance at Ascot last October."
Whether it is the fast ground, or the prize-money levels on a very busy week for high-class fare, Friday's card at Doncaster has not attracted the field sizes anyone would have hoped for.
And as a result you will be glad to hear that this is probably my shortest-ever tipping column.
Sure, the quality is present in the shape of Stradivarius and his long-suffering sparring partner Dee Ex Bee in the Doncaster Cup at 15:10 but I don't think many will be falling over themselves to have a bet in this Group 2 contest.
Di chanced in competitive Group 3 contest
Luckily, the Fillies and Mares Group 3 at 14:10 has the numbers, if not the class, of the stayers, as the highest-rated in the field is just a mere 105.
It makes it very competitive though, with 6lb separating eight of the runners (and 8lb between 10 of them), so picking a favourite wasn't the easiest task for the layers, I imagine.
Angel's Hideaway has been very disappointing on her last two starts at Goodwood, but she is just about the form horse on her Guineas fourth and Jersey third.
The early jolly, with every firm surprisingly enough (not) when the betting opened on Wednesday morning was the 91-rated Farzeen, who has the sexy lightly-raced profile, if not the substance (so far) of several of the opposition. She is easily passed over.
The one I kept on coming back to was Di Fede, who rates a small-stakes interest at [7.0] or bigger.
She clearly stays a mile but there is no doubt in my mind that she is better at this 7f trip and she has a big form chance on her soft-ground defeat of Red Starlight over that distance at Ascot last October.
She handles quicker conditions equally as well though, and the mile experiment was ditched when she stepped back a furlong to contest a Group 3 at Goodwood last time.
It would be stretching it to say she was unlucky - it would be a downright lie, in fact - but she didn't get the run of the race on the inner, and she was a bit short of room late on as well, so I am inclined to take a positive view of that run.
It was a very strong race of its kind too, as all the horses that finished behind were Group winners.
There is plenty of pace on in here, which will suit her ideally under these conditions, and she'd probably be my idea of the right favourite.
Lion a bit of a sleeper in Mallard
The progressive Saroog is the short-priced favourite in a disappointing turn-out for the Mallard at 14:40 but Sleeping Lion looks a tad overpriced at [7.0] or bigger.
He never got competitive from his midfield position at York last time, but he stuck on doggedly enough late on and we probably didn't see the best of him there.
He is only 1lb higher than when chasing home Themaxwecan over 2m at Ascot previously, and that looks an exploitable mark given the winner has since finished second (to Saroog) and won at Goodwood.
Furthermore, Sleeping Lion has relatively few miles on the clock for a 4yo and this extended 1m6f on quick ground could prove his optimum conditions, as he stays 2m but has the pace to win over 1m4f.
And I imagine they will want to try and ride him handier in this small field, given that at least three of his rivals like to sit prominent at the very least.
Market has it spot on in Flying Childers
Unfortunately, I agree with the betting in the Flying Childers at 15:45 with A'Ali and Alligator Alley rightly taking out a dominant chunk of the market.
I suppose Flaming Princess could be an each-way alternative at 12/1 if all eight stand their ground, but this race is not really for me.
The remaining four races on the card on Sky have amassed just 25 runners, and the closest I came to a bet was Golden Apollo in the extended 6f handicap.
But when your idea of a possible bet is good old Golden Apollo, on a fair losing run since winning at Ascot in August 2017, at a short-enough price, it is best to take a pull and wait for the weekend.
Back Di Fede at [7.0] or bigger in 14:10 at Doncaster
Back Sleeping Lion at [7.0] or bigger in 14:40 at Doncaster