Tony Calvin has negotiated his way through a tough closing card at Chester's May meeting and he has managed to pull out a pair of punts at fancy odds...
"...this trip on quickening ground is ideal for the Ebor third, and his stable have started the season well, which gives me hope that he is straight enough here. And he did win first time up in 2014."
If I thought the first two days at Chester were tricky then Friday's card is even harder in which to eke out a betting angle, so selections and stakes to a minimum for me.
The only upside is that the word count of this column is far less than usual as a result, so at least I am not going to take up as much of your time as I usually do...
Impossible to ignore O'Brien's Dee Stakes runner but price not persuasive
From a purist's point of view the Dee Stakes is the most interesting race and it has thrown up some high-class three-year-old colts in the past, notably Magician three years ago.
It will be a surprise if any of the eight-strong field in the 14:40 hit those heights but the obvious starting point is Aidan O'Brien's number one Cook Islands.
The colt looked like he was going to take a hand in the Ballysax at one point on his reappearance before getting tired in the heavy ground, and he was probably value for a good deal more praise than the near-12 lengths he was beaten there.
Back on a sounder surface on which he did well as a juvenile, you have to think that he is the likeliest winner in here. But his price at around 9/4 tells you that, and a few of his rivals have just as much scope for improvement, notably Linguistic. No bet.
Channon runner worth an interest in the Ormonde
The Ormonde Stakes at 15:10 initially looked similarly unappealing until I saw that Elidor was trading at 17.016/1, and he is worth a small interest.
Dartmouth is the rightful favourite after a good comeback win in the rescheduled John Porter at Chelmsford and it is interesting to see that his main form rival Wicklow Brave is tried in a first-time hood.
And then we have improvers in here like Cymro and unexposed sorts like Father Christmas, absent since his third in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. I'm not sure why he has been off the track but this has reportedly been his comeback target for a while.
But Elidor interests me at the price. Granted, he has 6lb and 5lb to find respectively with Wicklow Brave and Dartmouth on adjusted official ratings, but that isn't insurmountable and he ended last season on a career-high when beaten less than a length in a five-way photo off a hefty mark of 106 at Glorious Goodwood.
Presumably he, too, has had a problem since but this trip on quickening ground is ideal for the Ebor third, and his stable have started the season well, which gives me hope that he is straight enough here. And he did win first time up in 2014.
Arnold the bet in the opener
The 5f handicap at 15:45 looks nigh-on impossible. I genuinely can see all any of the nine winning, so I'll happily pass, thanks.
I will also have a small-stakes interest on Arnold Lane in the opener at 14:10 though, who will hopefully be the first leg of a Mick Channon double on the card.
The reasoning is simple. He has run well off higher marks than this on the all-weather this year, is in good form, is a course and distance winner at this meeting in the past, and is well-handicapped off 86.
And, oh yeah, he is drawn in one. He is occasionally sent on from the front, as when making all at Catterick last October, so hopefully he can bounce out smartly. Fast ground would be a slight concern, though he has won on it, but he looks worth a nibble at 9.08/1. Just a small one, mind you.
Nothing much appeals in the three RUK races at the end of the card either, though if you want an interest then Corporal Maddox at a double-figure price in the 16:20 and the more obvious Graceland in the last at 17:25 would be my token selections.
Back Arnold Lane at 9.08/1 in the 14:10
Back Elidor @ 17.016/1 in the 15:10