The Group 1 action this side of the Channel centres on Newmarket's Sun Chariot at 14:45, and few would argue that Champers Elysees deserves to head the betting after what she did in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last time.
She looked to have it all to do there when turning into the straight second-last, but she mowed down some Group 1 fillies with ease there, with 1 ¼ lengths to spare over the Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Peaceful, who re-opposes here and was coming off a two-month break at Leopardstown, at the line.
Little wonder potential buyers came a calling after that win and she now runs in the well-known Japanese colours of Teruya Yoshida, and she is surely the one to beat here.
She clearly likes a strong pace to aim at, so the lack of a copper-bottomed front-runner here is a slight concern, but Veracious (who made all on the rail when winning the Falmouth last season), Cloak Of Spirts and Terebellum have gone forward in the past, so she should be okay on that score.
I think a price of around 7/2 for Champers Elysees is fair, especially as she has won on heavy (more of that in a minute) but she does not lack for credible rivals here - Terebellum is actually top on official figures and four others are rated within 2lb of her - so it is a race where I can let her go unbacked.
Last year's winner Billesdon Brook at around 10/1 and Lady Bowthorpe at over three times the price are each-way possibles if there is a decent gallop, as both like to be delivered late off a solid tempo.
The latter was a 66/1 chance in a place on Thursday afternoon - that couldn't last - and she shaped well from off the pace at Sandown last time, in a race in which you needed to be handy, so you can mark up her sixth there. And the fifth, who was also disadvantaged by racing towards the rear, came out and won a Listed race by 3 lengths next time.
Lady Bowthorpe herself had earlier absolutely bolted up by 4 lengths in a good time at Ascot - in fact that speed figure puts her in with a leading chance on the clock here - so she really could be a slow-maturing filly on a marked upward curve, and her Group 2 winning half-brother Speak In Colours progressed with age.
I should mention the ground at this point, and it is currently soft at Newmarket with a varying forecast, depending on what site you look at. One is not too bad, but another is very grim indeed and indicates it could be heavy ground come Saturday. I am working on that basis.
Anyway, Lady Bowthorpe ran well on her only previous start on soft ground - and her pedigree gives you plenty of encouragement it will suit, too - so she may not be the no-hoper the betting suggests.
Both her sire and dam handled testing ground well, as does Speak In Colours, so I am more than happy to back her at at 44.043/1 in the exchange win market.
And when the place markets firm up tomorrow, I am going to suggest you back her at 5.04/1 or bigger to finish in the first four. That price should be attainable.
Gurkha not such a Mighty price to beat 29 rivals
The old eyes glazed over when I looked at ITV's opener at Newmarket, the small matter of a 30-runner 2yo 6f sales race at 13:40.
Many will view this contest as being very easy to solve, as Mighty Gurkha has the best speed and form credentials after his Group 3 win at Kempton last time.
The first firm to price up made him a 13/8 chance with just the 29 rivals to beat, which I thought was skinny enough but that proved to be the best price out there by the end of the day once everyone else went up!
But he does carry an 8lb penalty for that success, he is unproven on soft ground and this massive field is going to split up into at least three groups, so he is going to need to be drawn in the right spot (though at least he has a midfield perch in 13).
Those are enough negatives for me to easily ignore him as a bet at the odds on offer, anyway.
My form/time alternative would be Country Carnival but she has an extreme draw in two and came last on her only start on soft, so she is hardly bet material either, albeit at 14/1+ on the exchange.
Iconic the Choice again alongside Words
The fillies' handicap at 14:10 looks more manageable and Iconic Choice immediately caught my eye again after being put in as the 25/1 outsider of the field.
I had a speculative go on her at Pontefract last time, despite the fact she finished last at Ascot previously, and I thought she shaped far more encouragingly in fourth to an all-the-way winner there.
Yes, she didn't really travel into the race very well and never looked like winning - so I am not getting carried away by the run - but she plugged on well enough up from off the pace on the possibly unfavoured centre part of the track, and her jockey reported she lost a shoe there, too (which may explain the fact that she wasn't going as easily as I would have liked in the early stages).
The handicapper has dropped her another 2lb for the run - she now runs off 89, having been rated 107 at her 2019 best, when she finished seventh in the 1,000 Guineas - and she has won on heavy, so hopefully she can bounce further back to form here, admittedly against some horses in peak form.
She could well blow out again but a price of 26.025/1 or bigger compensates for the risk. If the ground is as bad as I fear then her proven ability to handle the mud could be key.
I am having a second bet in the race though, as I think Wondrous Words could still be ahead of the handicapper. Back her at 7.06/1 or bigger.
She was very impressive when winning in the soft at Redcar and went off odds-on to follow up off a 9lb higher mark at Ayr last time.
But her jockey gave the fast-improving all-the-way winner too much rope there - if anything, she was travelling too well, which possibly lured the jockey into a sense of false security - and so I don't think she was seen at anything like her best that day, although the winner was completing her hat-trick and is very well regarded.
The handicapper has bumped her up another 2lb but that is fair enough, given the fact she pulled 4 lengths clear of the third, and this well-bred filly could have a lot more to offer.
She is by Lope de Vega out of a mare who showed her best on soft ground in Group 1 company, so I expect her to handle conditions. And the Redcar run pretty much confirmed that anyway.
A case of Wam bam thank you Mamba
Redcar's Two Year Old Trophy at 15:25 is another hugely competitive sales race, only this time we have just the 23 runners to choose from.
I wasn't going to waste too much of your time here as I didn't think I would be having a bet, but Mamba Wamba in a first-time visor (the stable are 1 from 7 with this option) looks pretty enticing at a double-figure price.
Back her at 12/1 each-way, five places, with the Betfair Sportsbook.
She has run a series of good races of late, including in soft ground when a close fourth in the Roses Stakes at York, and you can see why they put the headgear on her as she seemed to get a little bit lost at Ayr last time before staying on well to take fourth.
If her draw in seven is not an issue - at the last meeting here it paid to be high and come down the near rail - then I can see her going well, and she has decent claims on form and on the clock.
I wouldn't be laying her at a double-figures, anyway.
Logician has to be taken on at Ascot
There are four ITV races at Ascot, so we may as well take them in chronological order, and first up is the 5f Listed race at 13:55.
It is an open race but I thought the market pretty much had this spot on, with Tis Marvellous and Maid In India the two to beat and fairly priced around 6/1 on the exchange.
However, when the betting is what you were expecting, it is normally a sign to move on, so I will. I think those are the two to concentrate on here if you are playing, though the former may prefer better ground than appears likely.
Oh, I should mention the ground at Ascot is currently good to soft, with plenty of rain due on Friday and Saturday, so it could even turn heavy.
With that in mind, I definitely think Logician is an odds-on favourite to take on in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at 14:30.
The normal route here would be back a horse each-way against him, but that is a dangerous game to play with just eight runners, and that forecast increases the chances of a non-runner.
Indeed, it would not be a great shock if Logician was pulled out. In fact, expect non-runners galore at every meeting on Saturday.
There is little doubt that last year's unbeaten St Leger winner holds the best form credentials here - and he was still in the Arc at the start of the week - but he nearly died over the winter and I was not at all convinced by his win in a match against a non-stayer at Doncaster on his belated reappearance last month.
That told us next to nothing form-wise, even if the runner-up ran okay in a Listed race at Goodwood next time. He is also unproven on anything worse than good to soft, and I think he is ripe for taking on here.
In common with the rest of the world, I would be all over last year's 6-length winner Morando, who loves the mud and ran well in defeat on good ground at Chester last time, if I knew all eight would go - mind, you, his odds are ebbing away with every drop of rain, so I am going to keep this simple.
I am personally going to lay Logician at 1.84/5 or lower - and I suspect you will be able to oppose him as shorter odds than that guide price - so I will effectively have the field running for me at 5/4, so that is the best I am suggesting.
I think he could even blow out completely, so I may lay him in the place market too when that goes up.
Jazzy a Snazzy price in the Group 3 sprint
I love a big-field handicap and I would normally be in my element with the 18-runner 7f Challenge Cup at 15:05.
However, I struggled to find a bet.
River Nymph and last year's winner Kynren have obvious chances, as does the 2018 victor, Ascot specialist and confirmed mudlark Raising Sand, but the layers have not missed them in the betting at all.
Mind you, I was probably saying the same with Kynren last year and he somehow got smashed into 11/4 and won!
Orbaan at around 16/1 on the exchange was probably the closest I came to a bet, as he had no chance from well off the pace in the red-hot York handicap on his penultimate start and wasn't suited by a slowly-run sprint here over 1m last time, but he could need a pace collapse to be winning over this furlong-shorter trip.
Mind you, testing ground could help him on that score, and there is pace in here from the likes of Jack's Point and Shelir, and maybe Revich and Hey Jonesy - though this does not have the look of a burn-up by any means - so he could be okay.
However, he can pull his chance away if he doesn't settle, and I think I am best leaving this race alone, and indeed the 6f Group 3 race at 15:35.
I was hoping The Tin Man would be a touch bigger than 3/1 against last year's winner Cape Byron, but he isn't, so there endeth my interest.
Or so I thought.
In fact, Snazzy Jazzy, who goes so well in the ground and is tried in first-time cheek pieces, is probably the bet in the race at 10/1 each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook.
With 10 runners, hopefully at least eight stand their ground, and I like the angle of Snazzy Jazzy stepping back to 6f in ground this deep after running well below par over 7f in a slowly-run race at Goodwood last time.
He is a horse who revels in bad ground and he will not be far away if reproducing any of his three Haydock runs this season. Clive Cox is an excellent 10 from 49 with first-time cheekpieces in recent years.
Punters also have the first day of Arc meeting over in Longchamp to consider, but I will keep my Paris powder dry until Sunday. That is about the only thing that will be dry in the French capital, as it promises to be proper bottomless there.
I did have a good look at the Saturday card though, and I thought Princess Zoe was a fair price around 3/1 to down the favourite Call The Wind in the Prix du Cadran at 4pm, but not exactly bet-worthy.
But more of betting opportunities across the channel on Saturday afternoon. Best of luck.