There is some good looking televised action on Saturday and Tony Calvin is back to talk through the cards at Newmarket and Goodwood, and pick out his best bets...
"Lightning Spear was undeniably disappointing in the Marois last time, despite not being beaten far, but he is the highest-rated in here on 117 and he is no 7/1 poke. He was effectively given no chance of winning in the steadily-run Sussex Stakes given the overly-patient ride he got, and if he returns to the form of his Queen Anne third in June - where again he had plenty of ground to make up late in testing conditions - then he has a winning chance."
Deciding when to punt is a fascinating topic in itself.
I have a colleague who never bets at less than 2/1 and another who rarely, if ever, considers a horse who is priced up at over 12/1.
Suffice to say that I am more in the former camp than the latter, but each to his own.
This thought occurred to me when I was considering the chances of Eastern Impact in Newmarket's 16:10.
When I assessed this race on RUK's "Betting Lab" on Thursday afternoon, I said I would be looking for about 7/2 or 4/1 about the horse.
Time has shown that was a touch on the wishful side, but he undoubtedly has a major chance, even if, as the highest-rated horse in the race, five other horses are within 5lb of him on official figures. And some of those come here on the back of some outstanding placed efforts in the big sprint handicaps.
But Eastern Impact never runs a bad race on this track, with the July course somehow bringing out the best in him. If his returns to the form of his July Cup sixth, not that his Curragh second last time was too shoddy, then I think he will take the world of beating.
However, I will sit on my hands for now. He said, sulking...
Symbolic appeals to me as the likeliest winner in the 15:00 after a good Chelmsford second but there are other, stronger bets elsewhere today.
They could be in the 15:35 if Newmarket gets rain and Walpole is allowed to take his chance as he is an improving, lightly-raced handicapper who will appreciate the step up to 1m5f.
But his trainer says he needs rain in order to run, so a watching brief with the weather is a must. Real Dominion would be my next best in the race, for what it is worth.
On to Goodwood...
The 7f maiden win of Rich Tapesty on the July course had substance as well as abundant promise - the time was good - and she would be my idea of the likeliest winner of the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood at 14:45.
Given her debut run-style and her stamina-laden breeding - she only really got into her stride in the final furlong or so at Newmarket, not surprising given that she has a whole host of 1m4f winners in her pedigree - she probably already wants a mile-plus though, so I am happy to let her go unbacked.
Especially on this tricky course, and with an unsettled weather forecast, though your guess is as good as mine as whether no rain arrives, or they get a thunderstorm and 20mm.
The Sweet Solera form is represented by runner-up Grecian Light, as well as three other horses in behind her that day. But that quartet all finished pretty much in a heap there, and they are beatable. More troublesome could be Promising stepping up in trip, and possibly easier ground than at Newbury last time.
Platitude and Sweeping Up would be my two against the field in the March Stakes at 15:55 - though Mr Singh could improve for being gelded since his last run - and I give Red Rannagh a big chance in the RUK race at 17:05 after an eye-catching run here last time for which he has been dropped a very handy 1lb.
This 9/1 chance is a cut Above
But there are two terrestrial Channel 4 bets at Goodwood, and the first is Above The Rest at 10.09/1 in the 15:20.
Of course, this is a devilishly difficult 20-runner handicap, as you'd expect of a 100k pot, and we are talking Goodwood here, so luck in running will be crucial.
However, if Above The Rest is given a fair bite of the fortune cookie then he has to go close for my money. And with my money.
He was one of the unluckiest losers of the season when tried in a first-time hood at York on his penultimate start - it was the most painful viewing of the season to date for me, though Australia's 80-minute penalty award in the World Cup quarter-final will never, ever, be eclipsed in any sport - and then he was always on the back foot after rearing and losing ground at the start at Chester last time, when he did well to finish third.
To rub salt into the wounds he has been raised 4lb for those defeats, but I am convinced he is a fair bit better than his handicap mark. And Jordan Vaughan claims 5lb, and he won on him at Haydock last season, so that's no negative and a draw in eight is okay. Hopefully, anyway.
Celebrate good times with this pair
The Celebration Mile at 16:30 is an interesting betting race in that I think the top two in the market are very opposable at the prices for all that they are improving last-time out winners - they are also the lowest-rated, though - and I am not convinced about Arod despite his trainer making bullish noises that he has last year's Sussex Stakes runner-up back to his best.
Back Toormore at 6.05/1 and Lightning Spear at 8.07/1, and the reasons for doing so are simple. They both ran excellent races in the Sussex Stakes from too far off the pace here last month, and I think they could dominate in this lesser grade.
Toormore may be carrying a 3lb penalty for his defeat of Lennox winner Dutch Connection at Sandown earlier in the season, but that was clearly high-class form. And in addition to his Sussex Stakes fourth, he also has course form figures of 1-2-1, all in Group 2 company. It also wouldn't surprise me if William Buick went on from the front here, if Arod doesn't.
Lightning Spear was undeniably disappointing in the Marois last time, despite not being beaten far, but he is the highest-rated in here on 117 and he is no 7/1 poke.
He was effectively given no chance of winning in the steadily-run Sussex Stakes given the overly-patient ride he got, and if he returns to the form of his Queen Anne third in June - where again he had plenty of ground to make up late in testing conditions - then he has a winning chance.
And if Goodwood does cop some rain then expect his odds to come in appreciably, though he has form on fast ground, too; indeed connections think he is better on a decent surface, even if the form book doesn't agree just yet.
The Beverley Bullet at 15:10 gives Muthmir an ideal opportunity to get back on the winning trail but whether he should be quite as short at 3.55/2 is another matter.
He is the likeliest scorer and a worthy favourite, don't get me wrong, but this is an incredibly strong renewal of this race, full of past winners, horses with proven course form, and last-time out winners. And the fact is that Muthmir is only 1lb clear on official ratings, so he has to be on his A-game.
I would have been all over Caspian Prince on his first start for a new stable and with the hood back on, were it not for his wide draw in 10.
There isn't much pace in the race and if he did get manage to get on the rail, then I think the Epsom Dash winner could blitz these from the front. But the draw has to be massively off-putting, even if that is factored in to his inflated odds of 15.014/1 and bigger as a result.
I don't have a strong opinion in the 15:45 - One Boy is solid if this doesn't come too soon after his good third at Musselburgh on Wednesday - so I'm happy to give that a miss, too.
Back Above The Rest at 10.09/1 in the 15:20 at Goodwood
Back Toormore at 6.05/1 and Lightning Spear at 8.07/1 in the 16:30 at Goodwood