The key to Ascot Gold Cup day could well be how much water the course put down on Wednesday night - or indeed if the localised showers forecast by some in the area materialise afterwards - and at the time of writing (a hangover-free 5am kick off here, I'll have you know) I suspect that they won't hold back.
Personally, I'd be in favour of letting nature run its course - uniformity of ground, and less guesswork, is the punters' friend - but they will not run the risk of losing their star turn, Forgotten Rules, in the big race and who can blame them?
The last thing they would need are horses breaking down because of rattling firm ground, and it wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world if the "time boys" reported a definite ease in the ground after the Norfolk Stakes.
Looking at Thursday's racing, it struck me as though a fair few of the favourites would be hard to beat - and that it was exactly the kind of card where I wouldn't be in danger of being mistaken for Viz's Buster Gonad come 5.45pm.
But we plough on regardless.
As the market suggests, the Richard Hannon pair in the Norfolk at 14:30 are going to beat exceptionally hard to beat.
King Of Rooks may have been slightly flattered by his 5 length National Stakes - he bagged the rail and got an easy lead - but with the second winning the Coventry and the third going close in the Windsor Castle it is hard to argue with odds-on quotes.
His stablemate Log Out Island is also a bit of a tool judged on his fast-time 5f maiden success here in April, so it will take a big performance for someone to split them, let alone win.
But I think Jazz Legend could be the third best in here - I like Shanghai Glory but am surprised he is dropping back down to 5f - and I will be backing him win and place, at 23.022/1 and 4.03/1 or bigger.
In previous seasons, James Given's 2yos have tended to come on massively for the run - and plenty like Silk Bow still do - but, thanks to the investment of owners like The Cool Silk Partnership, he has a better class of horse this season and they can go in first time.
And that is exactly what this 170,000gns purchase did over 5f on good to soft ground at Haydock last month, and will no little style or promise, too. He travelled well in the lead and put the race to bed when asked to quicken at the furlong pole.
The bare form of that race is nothing special, and the time of the steadily-run race was poor, but he struck me as a juvenile going places. He could be playing for third at best here, but he is getting my dough win and place to small stakes.
I was taken by Time Test's Newbury handicap win off 93 last time and it is no surprise that he heads up the market, with Peacock in behind, in the 15:05.
But I think the layers have over-reacted to Ryan Moore getting on board Disegno, instead of staying loyal to Cape Clear Island, so I make the latter a bet at 13.012/1.
The horse isn't the easiest of rides and lacks a bit of tactical pace, so I am surprised that they haven't tried to stoke him up early and force the pace with him this season. He certainly doesn't lack stamina in his pedigree.
Hopefully, Joseph O'Brien will do that today, and on form he has a leading chance anyway, in an admittedly very tight race.
He did well when only beaten a length in the Hocquart, and stuck on well on the outside when finishing in midfield in the French Derby last time. This is a step down in class and, proven on fast ground, he is overpriced.
I am not in a rush to oppose Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Pleascach in the Ribblesdale at 15:45 even at odds of around 1.910/11. She is by some distance the form horse of the race, and should be suited by stepping up to 1m4f. The fact that connections were considering running her in the Irish Derby tells you everything you need to know.
The problem for those looking for each-way alternatives are the number of plausible options, as there is little between the next wave on form and plenty of unexposed improvers to consider, too.
I toyed with Wedding Vow in first-time blinkers, and Pamona - I bet connections were kicking themselves for not running at Epsom - before deciding to give this race a swerve.
It's odd how you can go off a long-term fancy as the race nears, and that is case with Vent De Force in the Gold Cup at 16:20.
Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy with my 20-1 ante-post bet and he won well enough at Sandown last time, and I hope he strolls home. But the more I look at that race the more I think that the supplemented Trip To Paris may well reverse the form over this extra distance.
Ed Dunlop's Chester Cup winner is a guaranteed stayer and is firmly on the up.
If they go to town on the watering, and the ground rides good, then Forgotten Rules will take the world of beating - and Tac de Boistron would be a big player, too - but I don't fancy the second favourite Mizzou at the price at all. I think Vent De Force would have given him plenty to think about here in April had he got a run.
At the current prices I have narrowed it down to Trip to Paris and 20-1 poke Havana Beat, and I will take the former at 13.012/1.
The Britannia at 17:00 is ridiculously competitive but I think the handicapper has given Heartbreak Hero a huge chance and he is no 75.074/1 chance in my book.
He impressed Ryan Moore when second in a 6f 110yd Doncaster sales race last season - Mattmu, getting 10lb, was a head away in third - and after that race he was rated 106.
He ran below par afterwards and he has also underperformed in two starts this season - though he had little chance in a Group 3 against the likes of Limato here last time - but he has now fallen to a mark of 94. He is the best-handicapped horse in this field on that Doncaster form, end of story.
And it is also worth noting that the William Haggas yard was under a cloud when he ran those two races over 6f in April, and are in much better nick now.
The other big question mark is the trip. But he is a half-brother to 1m2f/1m4f winners and everyone knows how well the progeny of his sire Exceed And Excel go at Ascot. The stamina is an undoubted worry but his price compensates for that. And then some.
A saver on King To Be at 22.021/1 is a must.
He broke my heart when failing by a nose to reel in Enlace over 7f at Goodwood last time - though the photo suggested a dead-heat wouldn't have been a surprise - and he paid for that effort with a 6lb rise in the weights.
But he promises to improve by that and more now stepping up to 1m for the first time, and he is a good second string to my bow.
There are about ten words going around for different horses in the last at 17:35 which isn't surprising as 3yo handicaps are always the stuff of gossip.
I don't have a firm opinion, so I'll sit this one out. Be lucky.
Back Jazz Legend @ 23.022/1 in the 14:30
Back Jazz Legend to Place @ 4.03/1 in the 14:30
Back Cape Clear Island at 13.012/1 in the 15:05
Back Trip To Paris at 13.012/1 in the 16:20
Back Heartbreak Hero at 75.074/1 in the 17:00
Back King To Be at 22.021/1 in the 17:00