Into day three of the St Leger Festival on Friday and Tony Calvin has his eye on a couple of selections to build the bank ahead of an exciting looking weekend...
"The ever-impressive Hugo Palmer has made no secret of the regard in which he holds Not Never, believing he could be a Cup horse next year, so you have to suspect that he is still well-treated off a mark of 95."
Friday's Channel 4 races at Doncaster are not the most bet-inducing I have seen - and it is definitely a small-stakes day ahead of a bumper weekend of punting opportunities - but Fun Mac looks a very solid proposition in the Doncaster Cup at 15:05.
He has developed into a very smart stayer this season, beating William Of Orange by 11 lengths at Salisbury (albeit getting 6lb from the runner-up) before finding only Clondaw Warrior too good in the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f. So we know this trip holds no fears.
It was undeniably disappointing that he couldn't see off The Twisler at Goodwood last time, but there were possible excuses that day.
The first is that the winner obviously improved out of all recognition. The second is that a slog through very testing conditions wasn't ideal. And the third is that he may not have been at his peak after being withdrawn at the start of the Ebor a week earlier, having found to be lame. That wouldn't have been an ideal preparation.
He needs to improve to beat some of these, but I think he remains a progressive four-year-old who is well up to this class. We are playing at far shorter prices than the norm, but he is worth a small interest at 7.413/2.
Gutaifan is clearly the form pick in the Flying Childers at 13:55 but I wouldn't touch him at the price with so many potential improvers in the Group 2 contest.
The other juvenile Group race at 15:40 is an absolute cracker and I will not have been alone in waiting for Pure Diamond to come out again after her stunning Kempton success last month.
She was found to have finished lame on her Goodwood debut but she really showed what she was capable of on the all-weather last time, beating Kasseopia by six lengths.
You got the impression that Charlie Fellowes, the trainer of the runner-up, was rather crestfallen that his horse was so easily swept aside at Kempton. And we found out why when Kasseopia was incredibly impressive herself when winning by nine lengths last week. She's a fair tool herself.
This is clearly a big step up in class for Pure Diamond, against horses with proven, and winning, Group form and lightly-raced opposition with similar scope for improvement, so I will sit this one out.
But I'd be disappointed if the Godolphin horse isn't at least on the premises come the line, if not calling time on the other runners.
Not Never will take all the beating in the Mallard Stakes at 14:30, though I am a bit worried that Hugo Palmer might be tempted to withdraw the horse if the ground firms up too much, as he thinks he is best with a bit of give. And the formbook does back that up, to a degree.
But it is worth noting that after he won on good to soft at Chester in May, the trainer's assistant said "top-of-the-ground will bring more improvement". So hopefully he will run come what may.
I think he is worth a bet at 6.05/1 if taking his chance, as I don't think this handicap will take a lot of winning.
He nearly did it the hard way in the Melrose at York last time, leading soon after the start and seeing off all-comers up the straight before Polarisation grabbed him on the line to win by a neck.
The ever-impressive Palmer has made no secret of the regard in which he holds Not Never, believing he could be a Cup horse next year, so you have to suspect that he is still well-treated off a mark of 95.
And you certainly wouldn't be deterred by the progress Polarisation has made since, including when third in a hot handicap at Ascot last time. Not Never is now 9lb better off with the winner as a result, and I have to fancy him to overturn the form given his lightly-raced and progressive profile.
In the ATR-only races Shore Step looks a fair punt to win the 16:15 and Warfare catches my eye in the 17:25 but we will largely keep our powder dry on Friday.
Remember, boredom bets cost the same as the rest. So think ahead on days like this.
Back Not Never at 6.05/1 in the 14:30 at Doncaster
Back Fun Mac at 7.413/2 in the 15:05 at Doncaster