A hugely competitive day of racing at Newmarket and York has Tony Calvin - fresh from a 13/1 winner on Friday - licking his lips at the prospect of tipping a big-price winner or two on Saturday. Here are his thoughts...
"Given the way he travelled over 2m5f at Royal Ascot, I can't see the 2m2f trip being an issue, and this is a 4yo having just his 13th start and going into this race holding an impressive 50% winning strike rate. He will love the quick ground."
Something tells me that Willie Mullins is quite keen on going home with the Cesarewitch trophy on Saturday and more importantly the thick end of £500,000, as he is throwing seven darts at the board.
It could well be that this is a re-run of the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting when he saddled four of the first five home - Meri Devie let the side down by finishing only 13th - and they are all plausible winners.
The problem is that I am struggling to work out who is the best of his septet so, rightly or wrongly - Stratum appealed to me least at the prices - I am going to approach the 34-runner 2m2f handicap by ignoring all of his horses.
If Mullins wins, I lose. Not normally a betting situation you want to find yourself in, but there you go.
Uber looks a Cool bet in the Ces
A few outsiders caught my attention - one of the rags, Eye Of The Storm, very nearly made the betting list at a huge price - but none more so than Uber Cool at [24.0] or bigger.
This 4yo has a very progressive profile, his only defeat in his last four starts coming in the Queen Alexandra Stakes when he went off a 20/1 chance.
He had a stiffer task than those odds would suggest as an 88-rated horse up against a host of horses in the 100s off levels, but he was still travelling noticeably well on the inner 3f out.
His run petered out approaching the furlong marker, but it was still a good effort, and all the more meritorious considering he was struck into and had to have eight stitches afterwards.
He wasn't seen out again until winning in a good time over 1m6f at Yarmouth last month, when beating Friday's runaway York winner
Elegiac by a neck, and he is entitled to come forward from that run.
He will need to, as he is effectively 1lb badly-in with his 4lb penalty, but that was a decent handicap for the track and at least 5lb claimer Ray Dawson keeps the ride and the weight down.
Given the way he travelled over 2m5f at Royal Ascot, I can't see the 2m2f trip being an issue, and this is a 4yo having just his 13th start and going into this race holding an impressive 50% winning strike rate. He will love the quick ground.
Vis could still be very well handicapped
Vis A Vis and Cleonte are my two to focus on at the top of the market, with the former getting the betting call to arms at [14.0] or bigger. This is a long-term plot with a capital "P".
He has had just the two starts for current connections (he is owned by professional punters), winning at 20/1 at Sandown in June and then beating Just In Time easily at Kempton in early August.
He looked to relish every inch of the 2m that day, going away again at the finish, and Just in Time has obviously done the form no harm since, with the third, Gavlar, also winning next time out.
He could still be very well handicapped off an 8lb higher mark here, and the booking of Silvestre De Sousa is the icing on the cake.
Even though he won on quick ground at Sandown, he is ideally thought to want some cut, so that is the potential negative. But I can live with it.
I am only going to write about the races that I am tipping in this week, as otherwise my word count is going to go through the roof.
So I will leave Newmarket there, though if you wanted a "forced" selection in the 2yo races, it would be Sydney Opera House in the Zetland Stakes, a wild swing on Felix The Poet in the Autumn Stakes, and Mohawk in the Dewhurst.
However, as it stands, be aware that I have no intention of backing those.
No eyebrows raised about step back in trip
I fancy a couple at York though, and first up is Highbrow in the 14:05. There are a fair few to fear but he looks a bet at [10.0] or bigger to me.
He shaped really well over 1m2f and 1m3f in Listed races earlier in the season, and then connections chanced their arm in the King Edward VII Stakes over 1m4f at Royal Ascot.
That plan didn't work out and he was put away until reappearing over the same trip last month when, on the face of it, he was a good third to subsequent winner Byron Flyer at Doncaster.
But look at the video and it becomes even more encouraging, as he came there to win his race - he traded at [1.09] in the run - before his stamina faltered again.
Back down to 1m2f, he has a handicap in him, for sure, and hopefully he will be handle anything the York weather can throw at him. It was raining on Friday morning, and Saturday looks quite grim.
Cosmic the best bet of the day
Cosmic Law finished fourth to Dave Dexter and Vintage Brut at Ayr last time but I strongly fancy him to reverse those placings and go close in the Rockingham Stakes at 14:40. He is 3lb better off with the winner, for starters.
He interests me a lot at [9.0] or bigger, as I think he is more of a 5/1 chance. As such, he is my idea of the bet of the day.
He wasn't ideally positioned the way the race panned out at Ayr last time, but finished powerfully on the near side.
As I said above, there is a fair bit of rain forecast for York and that will be very good news if it arrives, as his best effort to date was a 6-length win in the Woodcote on soft ground in June.
A reproduction of that form would see him go very close here and, in between his Epsom win and his Ayr fourth, it is worth remembering the three races he took in were the Coventry, Vintage Stakes and Gimcrack (all Group 2s).
The first-time visor (replacing blinkers) will hopefully sharpen him up, too, not that the trainer's strike rate in this area (11 from 125) is anything out of the ordinary.
I will leave it there, as nothing is shouting at me in the 6f handicap.