It's a relatively low-stakes betting day for Tony Calvin, but our resident tipster has still found three to back on the second day of Glorious Goodwood...
"I think the 4f (or so) straight at Goodwood will play to his staying strengths - he should be winding it up nicely on the run from the turn - and he is a very fair price at 12.011/1 or bigger."
Nobody can argue that Wednesday at Goodwood doesn't have the wow factor with the Sussex Stakes - though that won't have stopped every punter in the country moaning (or was it just me?) when they saw there were only seven runners - but my comments yesterday about the overall quality of the five-day meeting still ring true for me.
And a glance at Thursday's declarations suggests I could be continuing that theme tomorrow.
But maybe I am just becoming ever-more negative as the years advance and I should be grateful that, firstly, I am still here in the first place to whine and, secondly, to be doing something that is hardly a job.
As someone said on Twitter yesterday (presumably after losing some work, which many have, myself included, in recent months), it is a privilege to be paid to write about the sport, so I should shut it, and crack on.
Mohaather my Sussex fancy but I'll be watching not punting
It is also the case that you don't need high-end racing to create good betting opportunities (as no doubt those punting at Galway this week will agree with) and, indeed, the opposite is often the case for me, as is evidenced when I look at the Sussex at 15:15.
Now, I am firmly in the Mohaather camp here after what he did to San Donato and company in the Summer Mile at Ascot last time but he is now around an 11/4 chance on the exchange, stepping up in class against three Group 1 winners (including two Guineas scorers, to whom he has to give 8lb) as well as two very dangerous floaters from the Classic generation in Wichita and Vatican City.
I could spend a few hundred words outlining the pro and cons for each horse - maybe pondering why Irish 2000 Guineas winner Siskin is 9/4, while the horse he beat, Vatican City, is as big as 14/1 - but I just know that I will conclude that it is a no-bet race for me, while acknowledging Mohaather would be my selection if forced.
Champion hopefully a Smart bet this time
However, I am happy to set off on a punting retrieval mission in the 2m4f134yd handicap at 13:45.
I don't mind admitting that I did my absolute pieces on Smart Champion in the Northumberland Plate last time, but I am willing to forgive the run.
The 2m Newcastle all-weather track is not a place where you want to be coming from well off the pace, and Smart Champion can be a slow-starter and needs some rousting to get into top gear out of the gates.
So the race could not have worked out any worse for him as Callum Shepherd found himself second-last after a furlong and, not to put too fine a point on it, trying to make his ground up six-wide on the final turn was never going to end well for the jockey or the horse's chances.
Perhaps the horse just ran a bit flat there anyway just 11 days after his good fourth to Couer De Lion in the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f.
He again found himself too far back rounding the final bend there too, and he did well to be beaten just 1 ½ lengths at the line, and he would have been second in another 10 strides.
I think the 4f (or so) straight at Goodwood will play to his staying strengths - he should be winding it up nicely on the run from the turn - and he is a very fair price at 12.011/1 or bigger.
Quick, or at least drying, ground should be no problem at all for him.
I do think Couer De Lion is very solid too off just a 3lb higher mark here (though his jockey, "The Hammer" can only claim 3lb, and not 5lb, now), and he is a fair alternative at around 7/1.
Run-style suggests Sarvan will be suited by step up in trip
I thought the 1m4f handicap at 14:15 was exceptionally tricky, as befits a race full of progressive 3yos, seven of whom won last time out. Little wonder it was 11/2 the field if you shopped around when the markets first went up on Tuesday.
The closest I came to a bet in the race was Sarvan.
The handicapper took his defeat of the 89-rated Crystal Pegasus over 1m2f on quick ground at Pontefract last time at face value - he went into the maiden off a mark of 79 - and , while that could be deemed a touch harsh, you can see why, as he was impressive there and the pair pulled 12 lengths clear of the third.
As a son of Lope De Vega out a modest Dansili mare, his pedigree doesn't scream 1m4f but his run-style does.
I always like it when trainers mention targets in the immediate aftermath of a success, which are then taken up - he namechecked Goodwood handicaps (and the 1m6f Melrose, so George Scott clearly doesn't have any stamina concerns about the 1m4f here for him) after that Pontefract win earlier this month - and he obviously has high hopes for the progressive grey down the line.
I have talked myself into a small bet at 10.09/1 or bigger on a very quiet punting day for me.
Steel Bull looked a very good prospect when winning at Naas last week and he is a dangerous-looking proposition here, but it is a quick turnaround for the 2yo and Goodwood always presents a challenge with horses with limited experience, and the drying ground is an unknown. And the early 6s with the Betfair Sportsbook didn't last, as well!
Ballydoyle's Little Hawk can be Chief in the Molecomb
Experience is not something that Chief Little Hawk lacks, having had the four outings, and he improved to finish third to a couple of decent fillies at Cork last time.
This fast-ground debutant winner (in a fair time) was not well positioned on the track at either Ascot or the Curragh before that, with his Windsor Castle run a good effort given he raced down the unfavoured centre of the track and was only beaten 5 lengths.
It appears the Cork winner is well regarded too, so Chief Little Hawk is a rarity on two fronts. One, a Ballydoyle 2yo that represents value to my eye, and, two, a juvenile punt for me.
Back him at 8.07/1 or bigger in the Molecomb at 14:45 on what will probably be the quickest ground he has faced since his debut win (the Betfair Sportsbook are also going 7/1 at the time of filing).
There is nothing doing in the six-runner fillies 2yo race at 15:45 that much is sure.
I am going to leave it there, though I do think Al Shaqab's Toro Strike is very interesting in the closing 7f handicap at 16:20.
He had two subsequent winners just in behind him when fifth off this mark in a strong Britannia last time and I imagine this has been the plan for him ever since. That Ascot run came on soft ground but all his form last season came on good or faster going, so the drying conditions are a plus.
He was beaten just a length in a 7f nursery at this meeting last year, his Doncaster Sales third worked out well enough, and I suspect he is set to make his presence felt once again.
The first firm up on Tuesday made him an 8/1 chance, and that was fair enough if not bet-inducing in such a competitive handicap, so I will just stick to the ITV races.
Best of luck on another quiet, low-stakes, betting day for me, with Smart Champion my best punt. Let us hope loyalty pays.
Smart Champion at 12.011/1 or bigger in 13:45
Sarvan at 10.09/1 or bigger in 14:15
Chief Little Hawk at 8.07/1 or bigger in 14:45