It's a busy first day of the Future Champions Meeting at Newmarket and who better to take you through the racecard than tipster Tony Calvin. He also takes a look at the York meeting...
"David O’Meara is 6 from 31 with this headgear angle in 2016 and that becomes three from 10 since June this year, with form figures of 2130313716, and winners at 7/2, 11/1 and 25/1."
The day starts tough
As regular readers will know, cards dominated by 2yo races are never likely to have me reaching for the big betting stick, but let's take Newmarket in chronological order and see what gets hit.
First up is the Cornwallis at 13:50, in which Sergei Prokofiev bids to get back on track after beating just one horse home in his last two starts.
He is probably the one to beat in here on his Coventry third, but his recent efforts hardly scream "back me", even if he does drop back into Group 3 company and down to the trip over which he has secured his two victories to date.
He also doesn't have that much in hand of these form-wise anyway, and Well Done Fox and True Mason are far more palatable punts.
Well Done Fox posted a good time performance when chasing home Abbaye third Soldier's Call in the Flying Childers, and everyone saw that True Mason would be suited by the return to this minimum trip when he travelled like a dream and emptied late on in the Mill Reef.
However, they have not been missed in the market and, when you consider you also have improvers in here like Poetry and other solid Group performers like Barbill and Pocket Dynamo, it really isn't my kind of betting heat.
The Oh So Sharp Stakes at 14:25, is even more baffling to these strained eyes, with seven of the eight-strong field being last-time-out winners and none of the septet having raced more than three times.
The remaining filly just happens to the form horse in the shape of Angel's Hideaway, and she probably didn't run too far off her Group 3-winning form in the Cheveley Park last time.
She does have a 3lb penalty for that Ascot victory though, and she quite clearly faces a bunch of unexposed fillies from the top yards.
Winter's sister Frosty will probably be chief among many's list after her Dundalk debut win - very few of the stable's juveniles do the business first time out - but Hidden Message is a well-regarded once-raced winner for William Haggas (he puts the hood on her here) and Sunday Star won well over course and distance in a good time.
If I was going to have a bet maybe it would be an each-way investment on the more exposed Angel's Hideaway, but I really don't need races like this in my punting life. I guess enough as it is.
Interesting choice in a tight race
It is no surprise to see Limato and D'bai dominating the market for the 15:00, and the former posted one of his better efforts when running away with this race last year.
It's a tight little race though, and Dancing Star could be the coming force judged on her Doncaster win. But, as in the previous contest, we have the "dead eight" in here, and one non-runner could scupper the best-laid of each-way plans.
The first-time cheekpieces on Salateen makes him interesting, though, the so back him at [21.0] in the win and [4.5] or bigger in the place. Original place terms stand on the exchange, and that is a far bigger price than I was expecting.
David O'Meara is six from 31 with this headgear angle in 2016 and that becomes three from 10 since June this year, with form figures of 2130313716, and winners at 7/2, 11/1 and 25/1.
Salateen isn't far off the form horses at his best, has been running well enough in defeat, and he could be dangerous if the headgear works,
He is also likely to get his own way out in front here (providing they don't change tactics with the pieces) - he looks the sole pace angle - and he has also won a course-and-distance handicap off a mark of 100 here from the front.
Recovery Mission in Fillies' Mile
Connections seem to have laid the reason for Pretty Pollyanna's Cheveley Park defeat firmly at the jockey's door.
I am not sure about that but the filly is now on a recovery mission after that defeat, and is stepped up 2f into the bargain, too, in the Fillies' Mile at 15:35.
She should be favourite here on purely form grounds but, again, there is a lot of solidity and potential ranged up against her, with the unbeaten Antonio De Vega arguably the one to beat, though my slight preference would be for Hermosa stepping up to a mile.
Not enough to have a bet, though.
Breath Caught very nearly made it on to betting list in the Old Rowley Cup at 16:10, but the fact that he is effectively 3lb wrong at the weights with his 6lb penalty is off-putting, especially when placed alongside stamina doubts over this 1m4f trip.
He impressed when beating some progressive 3yos over 1m3f at Kempton recently, his first start since July, and he has winning course form - he was well-regarded earlier in the season, when winning here over 1m on his reappearance - and the pedigree, being a half-brother to Twice Over.
But this will be much more of a stamina test today, and he isn't really bred for middle distances - he made his own pace over a furlong-shorter trip at Kempton - and that concerns me in what is quite a deep race.
Just Hiss at the chance
I am getting stuck in at York though, where Just Hiss is a bet for me at [14.0] or bigger in the 14:40.
He hasn't run a bad race since a mid-season break, though I thought he looked a bit slow and disinterested when third at Carlisle on heavy ground.
However, I was a lot more encouraged by his fifth to Alemaratalyoum at Haydock last time, where he stuck on well in that decent 0-105 handicap, and he has been eased another 1lb for it.
There is a fair bit of rain forecast for York on Thursday night into Friday, which will also aid his cause, and he has yet to run a bad race in five starts here, with form figures of 48145.
The eighth came over an extended 1m2f, which wouldn't have suited (though he was beaten only 4 lengths), and the fifth came in this race last season when beaten just under 4 lengths off a 4lb higher mark.
He is poised to get back on the winning track at a fair price.
Winning form on soft
I was all set to take a swipe at Proschema at massive odds in the St Leger before the field was beefed up the late inclusion of Lah Ti Dar and Loxley, so he has to interest me off 105 in the 15:50, especially as he ran so well when eighth at Doncaster, beaten a respectable 12 lengths.
He had been ridden a bit more conservatively when third in the Melrose over course and distance previously - he likes to go forward but there are pace rivals in here - and I think he remains handicapped to go close off a 5lb higher mark. He has winning form in the soft, so any rain won't bother him.
He is well worth a bet at [10.0] or bigger.