Getting involved at the tail-end of gambles is rarely a wise move. Short-termism - and the quest for a winner at any price when in the shop window - tends to make a lot of pundits and tipsters lose all sense of their normal risk and reward rationale and default to the obvious.
You should never, ever, back a horse because you "need" a winner at any price. Or, because you maybe haven't done your homework, you simply punt the favourite. You will lose in the long run.
The above came into my head when I was pondering over the chances of punted ante-post favourite Mange All in the Lincoln at 15:45.
Now, I bow to no-one in my regard for William Haggas - I think he is comfortably the best placer of a horse in the country, and I wouldn't like to take his bets - and his superb record in this race, which includes Penitent winning at odds of 3/1 in 2010 and stands an amazing three from six in total, demands that his horse demands the utmost respect. The gossip suggests he has been working the house down.
However, Mange All's current odds do not inspire me and he was the first horse I ruled out on price grounds alone, quickly followed by Gm Hopkins.
No, the horse I fancy is Mooharib at odds of 15.014/1 or bigger.
He has always been rated a horse of some potential by connections and this course and distance winner is 4lb better off for the three lengths he was beaten by Mange All at Ascot last July.
He has improved since, as has the winner, but what alerted me to his chance here was an eye-catching run at Deauville in December.
He was ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal there but such was the ineffectiveness of his jockey that he may as well have been piloted by Roland Orzabal (one for the 40/50 year-old popsters there..) and he did remarkably well to finish so close. Go and take a look at the video, and you will see what I mean.
Back on grass, this late-maturing type, unraced at two, could make up into a Group horse as a four-year-old and I think he has a big run in him off a mark of 100. He goes on any ground.
I nearly put Hillbilly Boy up as a saver, but I will stick with just the one dart.
My old mate Burano has chances in the Spring Mile but I am going to chuck a few quid at Indy in the 15:10 at odds of 13.012/1.
I get the impression that he may have slightly disappointed his shrewd trainer last season and, if is the case, then he could prove to be well treated off a mark of 93.
He was on the wrong end of a Ryan Moore masterclass when beaten by Master Carpenter at Sandown first time up, and disappointed at York before finishing off with a good third over an extended 1m2f at Doncaster.
It could be that a strongly-run, big-field 1m handicap is what this lightly-raced sort wants, and he has the potential to prove the best handicapped horse in here.
I also like the look of Astaire at odds of 4.57/2 or bigger in the Cammidge Trophy at 14:35. I am happy to play at shortish odds when the situation presents itself.
A top class two-year-old, when winning the Middle Park, his form tailed off towards the end of last season. But his first two efforts of 2014 give him big claims.
The formbook tells you that his second to Maarek at York was the better performance but he had the jockeys in behind very worried for a while when going from the front in the Greenham first time up, before failing to see out the 7f trip. If he shows the same kind of dash here, then he could prove very hard to beat.
I am not going to get involved at Kempton but I was interested in Latin Charm in the 14:50 - hopefully Marco Botti has a big weekend - and Boomerang Bob in the 15:25, though the latter is ridden by a very inexperienced 7lb claimer. That said, George Blackwell did finish second on the horse at Wolverhampton last time.
I am not sure how much punters warm to Dubai racing throughout the winter but it is the big one at Meydan tonight, and C4 are showing the Sheema Classic and the Dubai World Cup.
The World Cup looks California Chrome's to lose but at around 7/4 I can happily pass. And the same is pretty much true of Harp Star at 3/1 in the Sheema, though she looks the likeliest winner to me.
Everyone assumes that Moore replacing the horse's regular pilot will bring about a lot of improvement in the filly - she was given a shocker when sixth in the Arc - but there is a lot of strength in depth in this contest and I can afford to sit and watch this one without a bet.
Best of luck, as ever.
Recommended Bets (all Doncaster)
Back Astaire @ 4.57/2 or bigger in the 14:35
Back Indy @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the 15:10
Back Mooharib @ 15.014/1 or bigger in the Lincoln at 15:45