It's day two at the Ebor Festival in York and Tony Calvin is backing four runners on the Knavesmire including a promising duo in the 15:45...
"A stalking ride is what won What's The Story the day here last year from an outside stall – he is again drawn wide in 18 – and he clearly loves it around here."
Love has certainly not beaten any top-notchers in her two Classic successes but the problem for her would-be layers in the Yorkshire Oaks at 15:15 is that she has dismissed them with such ease.
So do you really want to get her in the book, even at around 4/9, especially when her visually stunning victory at Epsom was backed up by the clock, too?
Alpinista a Yorkshire Oaks bet without the favourite
I don't have a strong opinion either way at the current prices, but I would look to try to get her beaten if forced to have a bet (which we never are, obviously and thankfully), especially with rain around from Wednesday afternoon onwards. They think she is best on fast ground.
One Voice is her biggest form rival after her narrow second to Fancy Blue in the Nassau last time and the distaff side of her pedigree - her dam was a 1m4f winner - gives encouragement she will stay this longer trip.
All five of her rivals have chances of sorts and I really was very impressed by Alpinista's win over 1m2f at Salisbury last weekend, and her pedigree is all stamina. I think she is a filly going places at 1m4f+, and further easing in the ground could suit her, given her pedigree.
Maybe I will look to back her without the favourite when those markets appear on Wednesday morning - she is the outsider in the outright betting, as even her revised rating of 105 suggests she should be - but it's a no-tip race for me at the moment.
Or it was until the Betfair Sportsbook came to the rescue and priced up the "without Love" market on Wednesday afternoon, and made Alpinista a 16/1 chance!
Back her at 16s, and she would remain a bet at 12/1 or bigger.
I know this is a big step up in class from Listed company at Salisbury for the filly and but I loved the way she dictated from the front (albeit in a steadily-run race) and pulled further clear close home, there and Sir Mark Prescott has clearly sensed an opportunity here.
It was firm ground last weekend and she won't get an easy lead here (if she gets one at all) with Manuela De Vega in the line-up, but her pedigree suggests this longer trip and easier ground will see her to even better effect.
Among her successes, her dam could boast a 2m3f Listed win in soft ground, and I reckon Alpinista could announce herself as a high-class performer here.
The other Group action at York on Thursday is the Lowther Stakes at 13:45.
I promise I do look at these 2yo races but I very rarely come up with anything approaching a bet. Queen Mary runner-up Sacred is the obvious favourite in here but do I really want to be backing her at around 9/4 in here after an absence of two months?
The answer is no, though I probably didn't even need to write it. Similar comments apply at a similar price with Devious Company in the 2yo sales race at 14:15.
What's The Story has stamina to succeed
Thankfully a 1m handicap has come to save me at 14:45.
Actually, I am not sure about the "coming to save me" part as it was 7/1 the field when this was priced up early on Tuesday afternoon - though Top Rank has assumed clear favouritism since - and this is one tricky race to solve.
It is full of improvers like Prompting. Montatham and the aforementioned, unbeaten Top Rank, sexy unlucky horses and eyecatchers like Sir Busker and Walhaan (did the latter catch the eye and then some at Ascot last time), and more exposed sorts who are well handicapped on their old form.
You will probably need to have 7lb in hand to be winning this contest, which probably makes my win and place recommendation on What's The Story a bit brain-dead, as the 6yo definitely does not have that much to play with.
But what he has in his favour is that I strongly suspect that his early-season campaign has been geared solely towards this race again. He beat Vale Of Kent by a head, with subsequent Ascot plunge winner Kynren well beaten off in third, in a very quick time in this contest last season.
He is 3lb higher here despite being beaten in all of his next four starts but he shaped well when surprisingly going from the front over 1m2f at Newcastle last time - that was surely the most blatant of tee-ups for this - especially as I think he is best under a patient ride in a strongly-run race over 1m.
He gets 1m2f well enough but I think today's conditions are his optimum, and if we get further rain to put the emphasis more on stamina over this 1m so much the better (he handles any ground, including soft, on which he bolted up at Doncaster back in 2017).
A stalking ride is what won him the day here last year from an outside stall - he is again drawn wide in 18 - and he clearly loves it around here.
I suspect he will probably find a couple too good, but hopefully not four. Back him at 21.020/1 win and 5.04/1 or bigger in the traditional four-places market (you may want to consider backing him in the five-places line instead if you want that extra safety net).
Mutamaasik was my alternative at 16/1, but this is too competitive a race to fire too many bullets at.
Two bets for the 15:45
I am struggling for bets on Thursday, especially as I suspect that Bharani Star - the horse that I was toying with tipping in the 1m4f fillies' Listed race at 15:45 - is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited and could easily be a non-runner given the current toxicity around them (as the controversial owner's intended runner at Kempton on Tuesday night, Business, was).
I think she is an outside player on her Ribblesdale fourth (on good to soft) and the opening 33/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook was an insult to her form claims - she is only 3lb off the top-rated fillies in here and didn't run that badly in the Oaks last time - and no way representative of her winning chances.
She may well be pulled out on Thursday - though the owner's Magic J did run in the opener on Wednesday - but I have to tip here and now, and I can't let her go unselected at 21.020/1 or bigger.
However, if I think Alpinista has a chance of following home Love in the Yorkshire Oaks (or perhaps causing a shock) then I have to be with the filly she beat at Salisbury last weekend, and Award Scheme is therefore deserving of a few quid at 8.07/1 or bigger, for all this will be the easiest ground she has faced.
She absolutely bolted up by five lengths from Black Lotus over an extended 1m2f here on good ground last month - okay, it was only from a mark of 87 but she looked a black-type sort all day long when making all there in a quick time - and there was no disgrace in her Salisbury second.
I clearly rate the winner and Award Scheme finished a head clear of the 108-rated Queen Power in third, and the way she finished off over 1m2f suggests she could well relish this extra 1f and 188 yards.
Her sire Siyouni (who handled cut very well) is a miler but the dam is far more stoutly-bred and this lightly-raced filly is also a half-sister to a 1m4f winner.
It was interesting to note after the York success, William Haggas (pictured above) mentioned the Salisbury race or this contest as her next target, so he must be very happy with how the filly has come out of her weekend exertions to be racing here, too.
Once ITV have gone off air there is a nursery and a fillies' handicap for punters to get their teeth into. I will not be joining them - though I did consider last year's winner Excellent Times and Anna Nerium each way in the closer - so this column is shorter and sweeter than is normally the case today.
What’s The Story at 21.020/1 win and 5.04/1 place, or bigger, in 14:45 at York
Alpinista at 16/1 in without favourite market with Betfair Sportsbook in 15:15 at York
Award Scheme at 8.07/1 or bigger in 15:45 at York
Bharani Star at 21.020/1 or bigger in 15:45 at York