Tony Calvin picked up a 5/1 place with his first day bets at York and returns for Dante day with a trio of big-priced fancies...
"Considering the horse was beaten only ¾ length into second by Magical Memory in the Stewards' Cup and beaten just a length in the Ayr Gold Cup on his final start, I think the handicapper has been rather generous in only raising him 5lb for those runs."
Take a step back from the masterful, multiple Classic-winning trainer, the imperious breeding, the unbeaten tag and the undoubted potential, and can anyone seriously make Midterm a 4.3100/30 chance for the Derby and an enticing bet at 2.486/4 for the Dante at 15:15?
The obvious, and facetious answer, is yes, because that is what the Betfair exchange market currently makes the horse for Epsom - there isn't a more accurate betting guide out there - and it has to be said that the Derby opposition didn't exactly stick their hands up and shout "back me, instead" in the various trials last week.
Don't get me wrong, there was a lot to like about the way the son of Galileo and Midday won the Sandown Classic Trial in a good time and with a willing attitude, and earned him an official rating of 112.
But the form wasn't exactly advertised by Esher also-rans High Grounds and Dwight D at Chester, and I sensed more relief, than excitement, in connections after the victory, as the horse clearly does the bare minimum at home to judge from Sir Michael Stoute's post-race comments.
But, as he also said, perhaps the horse simply comes alive when he is saddled. Plenty do.
Either way, I couldn't have him on my mind at the current prices, certainly not in a Dante which is chock full of similarly unexposed horses ranged against him from top stables, not to mention the Royal Lodge 1-2 who are rated only 2lb his inferior.
The conclusion you have to draw from the fact that 12 horses line up at York is that trainers think the Derby is there for the taking this year - maiden winners Wings Of Desire and Choreographer are rated only 88 and 87 respectively - and they may well be right.
Certainly, John Gosden's beautifully-bred Wolverhampton winner Wings Of Desire has been well-backed at in the last 24 hours - perhaps no surprise given Frankie Dettori deserts Foundation for him - and we know that "Big John" doesn't mind sending Classic winners to the track to gain experience. Jack Hobbs, if you had forgotten.
But what we have here is effectively a guessing game, and it is not particularly one that I want to play with my money. If I was going to have a bet I would be inclined to place-lay the favourite, but it has to be a no-bet race for me.
Toofi grins all round when this one wins
I found the Middleton Stakes at 14:40 equally unappetising if truth be told. The placed horses from the Group 1 Fillies And Mares race at Ascot in October, Journey and Beautiful Romance, are clearly the rightful market leaders. But little more than that.
I think Toofi has to be of interest on his debut for Robert Cowell in the 5f handicap at 14:10 though, and I am happy to play towards the top end of the market.
Everyone knows what a dab hand Cowell is with his sprinters, and Marmalady won on her debut for the yard at Goodwood last month, and hopefully Toofi can repeat the feat.
Considering the horse was beaten only ¾ length into second by Magical Memory in the Stewards' Cup and beaten just a length in the Ayr Gold Cup on his final start, I think the handicapper has been rather generous in only raising him 5lb for those runs.
Obviously, the big question mark is whether he can reproduce that level of form on his first attempt over 5f, but he looks assured of a good tow into the race in this 17-runner handicap and I'll trust Cowell's judgement as regards the trip. Back him at 12.011/1 or bigger.
The handicapper has also been kind in dropping Son Of Africa 3lb for his last place in the Abernant - he had no chance at the weights - and he and Duke Of Firenze would be my alternatives at the prices.
More winners for In-form Easterby stable
The Hambleton Stakes at 15:45 is also fiercely competitive but my eyes are, predictably, immediately drawn to Express Himself.
I thought that he was given a distinctly average ride when fourth at Haydock last time, his jockey opting to up the inner from a wide draw, and I think he would have gone close to winning in different circumstances.
Off the same mark, I will put him up as a saver here at 12.011/1, but my main bet is One Word More at odds of 18.017/1 from a stable who have sent out four winners in the last week, including See The Sun on Wednesday.
He wasn't far off a career-best when just touched off over 7f here last June off a 1lb higher mark, and ran well in a race full of trouble and hard luck stories at Haydock on his reappearance.
Dropped 2lb for that run, and up a furlong back on a course where he goes so well, he looks to have a lot going for him at the price.
There is also a Channel 4 race on Salisbury at 14:25 but nothing leapt out at me in a tough-to-call 3yo fillies handicap.
Back Toofi at 11.010/1 or bigger in the 14:10 at York
Back One Word More at 21.020/1 in the 15:45 at York
Back Express Himself at 12.011/1 in the 15:45 at York