Cheltenham 14:00 - Attaglance and Edgardo Sol
Malcolm Jefferson would have trudged away from Cheltenham a dejected figure after his Attaglance got touched off in somewhat unfortunate circumstances at the Festival last season but, ground-permitting, compensation awaits tomorrow afternoon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup
Back him at odds of 12.011/1 or bigger.
I say compensation but this race is actually worth over £56,000 to the winner, while the Festival handicap was "only" worth £34,000.
And on that subject, it is surprising how limited, while still enticing, the prize money is on offer at the likes of Royal Ascot and Cheltenham compared to similar class races throughout the season.
And the upcoming King George's prize money is comfortably bettered by the Betfair Chase, so history and prestige don't always equate to pound notes in this game. Well, not unless the incredibly generous Qipco outfit are sponsoring.
Anyway, I digress, and back to Attaglance. I don't think there is any doubt that he would have won with a clear run when beaten by half a length by Present View back in March, and I think he is still fairly handicapped off a 6lb mark.
On paper, I thought his reappearance fifth at Market Rasen was disappointing. And then I watched the video, and saw that he wasn't given too hard a time of it whatsoever there.
There are negatives. He is none from 10 over fences, ran poorly in this race last season and could have done without Thursday night's 10mm of rain.
However, it is still only good to soft and 36 hours of dry weather were forecast after the rain ceased early this morning, and I have to view his return to Cheltenham as a positive - he also won the boys race at the Festival two years ago - and he looks highly likely to take a hand in the finish providing the ground doesn't get too testing. This doesn't look that a strong a race for the money.
But keep an eye on the weather, folks. It could be Jefferson pulls him out if the ground if he deems that the ground is riding too soft, so I am going into this particular fight two-handed, as I want Edgardo Sol on my side at odds of 17.016/1 as well.
To be honest, I am not totally convinced by the form of the Paddy Power won by Caid Du Berlais. But what struck me most about that race on re-viewing today - aside from the fact what a beast Buywise would be if he could jump - was how well Edgardo Sol was travelling going to two out. In fact, Daryl Jacob took a pull at one stage.
He was eventually well beaten into eighth there - perhaps emptying out on the very testing ground - but I think that he has a big handicap in him, and this could be that race provided the ground rides no worse than good to soft.
He is 1lb lower here and he has run some of his better races at Cheltenham, especially on this New Course, notably when second in the County Hurdle two years ago.
And I can't get out of my head just how well he ran first time up at Aintree considering he hit about four fences on the inner, still finishing second to subsequent Peterborough Chase winner Wishfull Thinking, with Grand Sefton fourth Rolling Aces in third and Shloer Chase winner Uxizandre only fourth.
It wouldn't surprise if The New One was beaten in the International at 15:10, though the race clearly lacks any depth - backing Bertimont for a place could be a possible play - but I think the horse he beat a head in last season's Aintree Hurdle could be up to winning the Relkeel at 15:45.
Initially, I was disappointed by Rock On Ruby's third in the Elite last time, but in hindsight he ran well enough off a mark of 160 and it could be that he simply doesn't have the pace for 2m these days, and don't forget that he first came to prominence as a 2m4f horse.
He is the pick of the weights here on his last two runs, and doesn't carry a penalty here either. Good to soft ground is fine for him, even though he ideally wouldn't have wanted Thursday night's rain.
On a day where the Channel Four races offer limited betting opportunities, for my MO at least, I think he is one to consider at short odds, but I won't be playing unless I can get 2/1+.
The novices' hurdle at 14:35 doesn't appeal much from a betting point, though the way it shapes up I may chuck a few quid win and place on Anteros at a massive price, stepping up to 3m for the first time.
You can normally rely on decent ground at Doncaster, even at this time of year, but it looks like being testing, providing the meeting beats the frost on Saturday morning, that is.
But neither of the races interest me betting-wise.
There is a good word for Marracudja in the Grade 2 Juvenile Hurdle - I had lunch with the owner last week and he thinks that he has a fair horse on his hands - but the market is likely to reflect that, especially as Paul Nicholls nominated him as his "dark horse" in a recent interview.
Dark horse, no longer then. And I may be even tempted into a lay if he gets too short, as I love getting stuck into these ex-French horses with reputations.
And the four-runner novices' chase at 14:50 is not my bag either, so I will stick with the two plays at Cheltenham.
Good luck today, and don't waste all your punting money shopping. And if you do your absolutes, remember children value and appreciate your time and love more than presents..
Back Attaglance at 12.011/1 in the 14:00 at Cheltenham
Back Edgardo Sol at 17.016/1 in the 14:00 at Cheltenham