Neither of the two ITV races from Goodwood on Saturday made any betting appeal, so that narrowed it down to the terrestrial offerings at York and Haydock, with the later track supplying four of the eight races on the box.
I may as well get York out of the way before we get to the main meeting, and I was again very much drawn to Glenartney in the Group 3 Fillies' Stakes at 15:30.
Until I took stock. Read on.
Going for a Song?
I deliberately studied the race without looking at the prices, and when I went and sought them out afterwards on Monday afternoon, only one firm had gone up, making her an 8/1 chance in a very defensively-priced book (the first four in the market were 2s, 4s, 5s 5s). That is understandable given so many running plans are up in the air (a comment that applies to all weekend ITV races, in fact).
That 8s didn't strike me as overly-generous, but maybe I was being a bit hasty.
Will the Betfair Sportbook's 5/2 favourite Search For A Song rock up soon after her fourth in the Yorkshire Cup this week? When she backed up after a nine-day break at the Curragh last season, she underperformed, albeit in Group 1 company on heavy ground. Likewise, Crema Inglesa and Folk Dance have other weekend options.
We should mention the ground is currently good to soft at York after 12mm of rain on Sunday and the two weather sites I use give mixed signals as to what the rest of the week will bring - one largely dry, the other pretty wet - so we are in the dark there, as per usual.
Varian yard form is off-putting
The unpenalised Believe In Love is the stand-out on form here on her narrow Group 1 second at Longchamp in October and if you were being charitable she probably didn't run quite as tamely as it appears on her return at Chester, especially as she came out of the widest stall in 10.
But the form of the Roger Varian yard would have to worry you big-time at the moment - two from 32 in May, having been hitting their straps at 20pc+ in the previous six months - and that alone is enough to put me off at 7/2 (he has an unraced favourite at Nottingham on Tuesday afternoon).
Mighty Blue could bounce back from disappointment
Mighty Blue and Silence Please, both with decent comeback runs under their belts, are next in the betting at 5/1, and the former would probably interest me more of the pair, despite the mare having disappointed when only fourth at 11/8 (Urban Artist was in second) in what appeared ideal conditions in this race last season.
She is the second-best in here on official ratings, the stable have won with five of their last nine runners going into Tuesday's racing, and her record suggests she will take every millimetre of the rain knocking around the Knavesmire this week.
Wait for Thursday before backing Glenartney
I was reminded on Monday of the folly of concentrating solely on the horse who you have history with when assessing races, and that is undeniably true of Glenartney, so I went through all of her opponents carefully.
And none scared me too much - though maybe the jocked-up Eileendover is arguably the most solid ante-post proposition at 7s - except for Glenartney's profile itself.
And the fact that she is also in at Goodwood on Saturday, which very nearly passed me by. Some schoolboy error that would have been if I had tipped her.
She was also pulled out of races as frequently as she ran last season, so maybe she is a very fragile sort, and that is not what you look for in an ante-post bet, so I am not going to recommend backing her at 7s now, as I won't be playing here until is it is money-back time after Thursday decs at 10am.
But she must go well if rocking up. She was very weak in the market on her return (going off a Betfair SP of 11.43) and ran accordingly, if acceptably, though it transpired afterwards she had been struck into during the race.
She returns to the scene of her best effort, a third here over 1m4f, and she appears to me a filly who will be suited by this 1m6f trip, as there is plenty of stamina on the distaff side of her pedigree, as well as the visual impression of her run-style.
So, no bet for now, but I imagine she will be top of my list come Saturday, participation and price permitting, obviously. It sounds as if York is the plan for her, not Goodwood, but you have to wait.
The 5f handicap at 14:55 is the other York race on ITV, and I think everyone bar the stewards saw how well Jawwaal shaped here on his return last week.
The kitchen sink was not required and he has plenty of course form and he takes quick turnarounds pretty well. The general 12s is fair, but this is not a race I am being lured into at this stage.
Alligator Alley, fourth in Jawwaal's race last week, hasn't been missed in the market, though Zargun, sixth there, is not unreasonably priced at 14s.
Haydock fails to entice
Over to Haydock then, where it is also good to soft and with a mixed forecast. If you believe one site, we could be looking at soft/heavy for the two-day meeting but others say different.
I'll start with the Group 2 Temple Stakes at 15:45, a race in which the Nunthorpe winner Winter Power (and she escapes a penalty for that Group 1 win, too) will pick these up and throw them aside if returning here on her A-game, so little wonder she is 6/4.
She was 3/1 before the five-day decs on Monday morning, so well done if you gambled and played early..
Her overwhelming form presence dictates I am happy to leave the race alone, though it didn't surprise me to see some early nibbles for Came From The Dark (18s and 16s before the five-day decs on Monday, and 10s afterwards).
He is three from five at the course and handles soft, but maybe he would want better ground come Saturday, so the Sportsbook's current 5/1 is very easy to resist at this stage.
I am going to work on the basis of soft ground at Haydock on Saturday.
With that in mind, I thought Miranda was interesting in the 2m handicap at 14:00, but I was wanting a lot more bang for my buck than 8/1. Morando was next on the list at 14s but he has three weekend options.
Mighty Ulyssees and Tranquil Night dominate the betting, perhaps ridiculously so, for the 1m Silver Bowl handicap at 14:35 - they are priced up at 5/2 and 7/2 respectively in this 24-strong handicap - and that surely leaves the door open for a play against them.
Unfortunately, I found this an impossible race to sort out, as is often the case in these 3yo handicaps full of similar unexposed and progressive sorts.
I am afraid the weekend races defeated me as the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at 15:10 also failed to entice me in, so I will love you and leave you.
There is no point in forcing and engineering a bet, just to tick a tipping box.
Profit and Loss (from March 26; does not include Thursday's results)
Previous (April 14 2021 to March 25 2022)
P/L: + 183.1