The Betfair Sportsbook have priced up a plethora of races ahead of the weekend's ITV races, and our resident tipster Tony Calvin has one antepost bet for you to consider at York...
"The Saeed bin Suroor stable could be ready to catch fire after a few recent winners, and Group 1-winning 3lb claimer Cieren Fallon is already jocked up on Great Example."
Ante-post betting can be a real killer - and it was all going so well, too.
It was 4pm last Friday.
The ground at Newmarket was already officially soft, from good to firm on Tuesday morning, when I took a flier and put up the mud-loving Raising Sand at 20/1 for Saturday's Bunbury Cup.
And at 4pm, the heavens opened again at Newmarket just before the Falmouth Stakes, albeit briefly, and I thought "game on".
Fast forward 24 hours to 45 minutes before the aforementioned handicap and I got an email, telling me the horse was just about to be pulled out of the race due to the quick ground (and, to be fair, the times backed up that assessment).
I suppose that tells you a few things.
Never rely on an official going description, and never underestimate how quickly tracks can dry out.
And, thirdly, how much I can whine.
But I do feel it personally and professionally when I cost readers money in cold blood - someone responded that I was going "soft" (I assume it wasn't a pun) when I apologised for the horse's no-show on Twitter , but I make no apologies for that - and that will never change.
Nor should it. We are dealing with other people's money here and tipsters should never, ever lose sight of that fact.
Anyway, self-pity over, let's get involved with this weekend's fare, when we have ITV covering both Saturday and Sunday racing.
Moonlight arguably the best option in a Silver Cup that could cut up badly
I probably should shut up about the weather, but it is currently good at York and if the forecast is right, then they will be racing on quick ground on the Knavesmire at the weekend, watering-permitting.
So I was scratching my head as to why the Betfair Sportsbook made Trueshan their 2/1 favourite for the John Smith's Silver Cup at the track on Saturday (1.55pm).
Don't get me wrong. I am a big fan of the horse and he ran a satisfactory reappearance at Newmarket, but he also has an entry at Haydock on Friday and he surely won't run at York if it turns fast (he was pulled out on that ground at Windsor last season and has never raced on quicker than good).
The striking thing about this race is the likelihood of this 11-runner race cutting up massively.
Eagles By Day is also in that Friday Haydock race along with Trueshan, along with the jocked-up Ispolini, while Selino and Vivid Diamond also have weekend Newbury options.
And of the others Communique, Das Horrisgle and Universal Order are all unproven over this 1m5f188yd trip, while Ranch Hand surely would want softer ground than appears likely.
Moonlight Spirit was due to run at Longchamp on Tuesday, but he was pulled out of the race, and he is arguably the most solid in here and he was available at 6s in the marketplace, when as short as 11/4 elsewhere).
However, he was a tailed-off last in the Gold Cup last time, so not that solid.
No wonder the betting was all around the place on Monday.
Lots of positives for Great Example... but also a negative
The big ante-post race of the weekend is the John Smith's Cup (2.30pm) and Great Example was the one that immediately took my eye at 12/1.
The Saeed bin Suroor stable could be ready to catch fire after a few recent winners, and Group 1-winning 3lb claimer Cieren Fallon is already jocked up on Great Example.
The expected quick ground will be no issue for this lightly-raced 4yo and he shaped like the best horse in the race on good to firm at Newbury last time out - as he had done at Goodwood previously - when quickening and taking out 3 lengths out of his field approaching the final furlong before that effort told late on.
He went up 4lb for that defeat (which came in first-time cheekpieces) but I suspect he remains a very well-handicapped horse - possibly one with Group-race pretentions later on in the year - though there is one big, possible, negative for him.
He can hang badly, and it was perhaps highly relevant that he got on the far rail at Newbury. He certainly wouldn't want to be wandering around in a big field at York, and he may not be able to get on the far rail here if drawn wide on Thursday.
Perhaps the trainer will switch to blinkers or a visor here to help straighten him out. I was very tempted at 12s, but I was inclined to wait and see what happens with the draw and headgear on Thursday morning.
York specialist What's The Story (he has won here twice and was third to Pivoine, who is coming back down nicely in the weights, in this race last season) is an obvious contender having blown away the cobwebs at Ascot, but the handicapper has stubbornly left him on a mark of 108 and he will surely find at least one too good at these weights, however much he loves this place.
This is Good Birthday's trip but whether it will be his ground come Saturday is the concern here - he was pulled out at Doncaster on good to firm last season, and the trainer-owner also have Pivoine in here - and Tinandali shaped very well again when third from off the pace to Sky Defender at Epsom.
Kasaman looks interesting but quick ground a concern
He didn't show much in two starts in Meydan earlier in the year for his new trainer, but he has been dropped 5lb to a mark of 95 after those efforts, which makes him well treated on his form in France (where he was even tried in Group 1 company last season, being beaten just 5 ½ lengths by Japan in the Grand Prix de Paris).
His current mark of 95 looks a gift on that run, and indeed his earlier Group 2 fourth, but quick ground would be an unknown for him and connections may wait for an easier surface. His Group 2-winning half-brother Kesampour was best with cut.
No such ground concerns for All Muffrih, who could find 1m4f on fast ground his optimum. His effort on possibly unfavourable soft ground at Ascot, where he was too keen as well, is easily enough forgiven (well by me, anyway) but the Betfair Sportsbook are, unfortunately, fully alive to his chances at 7/1.
Plenty of other races but let's stick with Great Example
The four ITV races at Newbury (it is also looks like being quick ground here too, unless they get carried away with the watering can) on Saturday consists of three conditions races and a 13-runner fillies' handicap, so I am struggling for a weekend bet, I can assure you.
The Sportsbook have priced up 14 races in the UK on Saturday and Sunday though - and we also have the Irish Oaks this weekend - so there must be an ante-post bet somewhere.
To be honest, Sunday's races were not that easy to decipher either - Wokingham fourth Gulliver looks solid in the 6f hanidcap at Newbury - but at least Themaxwecan looks like getting his conditions in the Marsh Cup (4pm) at that course.
He was withdrawn at Newmarket last Friday on account of the soft ground and his earlier fourth at Royal Ascot (where Selino, who is double-entered this week, inished 1 ¼-lengths ahead of him in second) marks him down as a big player and the Sportsbook's 8/1 is the biggest in the marketplace.
That is a fair bet but he does race off a career-high mark here, against some less exposed sorts, and the nagging doubt is that his trainer has three others in here, and this horse did also miss an obvious target when not confirmed for the Northumberland Plate last month.
I won't be backing him myself then, for all that 8s is very fair, so I can't put him up.
Now, thankfully, I am under no pressure whatsoever to up a tip in these columns - that is a luxury not afforded to others - but I can't believe I couldn't find a weekend bet in 14 races, so I genuinely went back and looked at all of them again.
Perhaps I am just being too cautious, though I do think carrying a profit and loss (as every tipster should) does instil discipline.
However, on reflection, I am going to put my doubts aside and stick up Great Example win-only at 12/1.
His waywardness is a concern - he also showed it when beating a dual subsequent winner easily in a fair time at Nottingham (he again managed to get on the far fence that day) - but the turn of foot he showed before getting reeled in late at both Goodwood and Newbury last season (he traded at 1.222/9 and 1.011/100 respectively in-running) leads me to believe there is plenty more to come from him if delivered later.
And this well-bred colt (by Cape Cross out of a Group 3 winner rated 112 at her peak) has had just the seven starts too, so perhaps it was an issue of inexperience, which time will have healed.
Anyway, Fallon is booked for the horse for the first time (and his 3lb claim offsets most of the 4lb rise for that Newbury run), and hopefully he can sort out any issues that arise in the race.
Providing the horse runs, of course...
Tony Calvin's Profit/Loss
June 1-July 8 2010 inclusive:
April 14 2017 to March 15 2020 inclusive (all recommended exchange bets are settled at Betfair SP)