Were it not for the fact that he also held two other Saturday engagements, I would have probably tipped Christopher Wood ante-post for Newmarket's 1m6f handicap at 15:00 on Friday.
But now he has been confirmed for the task in hand and the course has had a bit of rain - it was good to soft on Thursday morning, and I imagine any more will be welcome for connections - I have no hesitation in putting him at 10/1 each way, five places, with the Betfair Sportsbook.
Christopher Wood can thrive in competitive field
It is clearly a hugely competitive handicap - and the 14s and 12s in the marketplace went on Thursday morning - but the selection has a very convincing profile for a race of this nature.
He was rated 145 over hurdles after winning by a wide margin in the soft at Musselburgh two jumps starts ago, and he made a telling impression on his Flat debut for Paul Nicholls when coming with a strong late run to win over 1m4f at Pontefract last month.
That victory strongly suggested this extra 2f would suit here - the 7/2 chance traded at 60.059/1 in running - as he only got into overdrive in the shadow of the post under today's 3lb claimer Megan Nicholls. He isn't certain to get 1m6f, but he has already outstayed his pedigree and the indications are that he will.
Given the time of the race was good and the form has worked out okay - it has not been franked without blemish but the fourth has won since, and a couple have run well in defeat - a 3lb rise looks very manageable.
Indeed, his current hurdles mark of 143 suggests he remains very ably handicapped on the level off 88.
Nicholls (dad, not daughter) is four from 13 on the Flat this season, and has got the ball rolling nicely over jumps of late too, and I think he could well have another winner on his hands here.
Even good ground will be fine for Christopher Wood, as we saw at Pontefract, but confidence would increase with every drop of rain, especially as all his previous handlers, and the current one, believe he is most effective with plenty of cut.
Fighting chance for the 13:50
The two 9yos in the opening ITV 7f handicap at 13:50 Charles Molson and Boy In The Bar, interested me but it appears that their trainers seem to believe that they need good ground at worst (I can't see it myself). So it will not be a surprise if they both get pulled out if the ground does remain good to soft, or deeper.
I like nothing more than a handicap puzzle to solve but I have to admit that I struggled with this particular task, not least because of the ground questions.
I rate the chances of the aforementioned oldies if they run but, after a while, I discovered that I was looking the obvious in the face and ignoring it.
No longer though, as Fighting Temeraire is surely as solid as it gets in here and is the each way bet in the race at 8/1 each way, five places, with the Betfair Sportsbook, even though that he too was pulled out of an intended engagement on good to soft on the Rowley course last month.
But they surely have to give it a go here - I am working on the basis of good soft - as everything else looks perfect for him.
If he is withdrawn, then so be it - and it was still drizzling at Newmarket when I finished this article - but I have to make a judgement call 24 hours in advance of the race.
All of his last 10 starts have been on the all-weather and his most recent run was just under a fortnight ago at Lingfield, on his first outing since March.
He went off a very weak 33/1 chance there (Betfair SP of 45.13) but he travelled well throughout after jumping smartly, and won decisively.
He has gone up 5lb to a mark of 84 but the 5lb looks justified, especially as the runner-up should have won at Chelmsford next time instead of finishing an unlucky second, and he has been rated as high as 93 in the past.
His turf form stands close inspection too, and indeed his record on the July course is superb, with form figures of 2113 here, and I think connections should give it a go on the ground come what may.
Lucander the bet in red-hot 15:35
There's nothing doing for me in the Group 2 Fillies' race at 14:25 but the 1m2f handicap at 15:35 looks a tasty little heat. In fact, it looks red-hot.
Kipps has broken a few punting hearts - pre-race and in-running - in his two starts this season (has traded at 1.11 and 1.35 in run) but I like the angle of him stepping back down to 1m2f again, and the first-time blinkers are well worth trying given the way he failed to put both of those races to bed after travelling like a dream.
But he went up 5lb for that Ascot second and this could be every bit as strong a handicap; you could run well and only finish fifth in here, so I can just above leave him alone myself.
I was very interested in Lucander too, but unfortunately the 14/1 with the Sportsbook went on Thursday morning. And then the 12s did, too.
He too has gone up 5lb for his latest run, when just touched off in a three-way photo at Haydock, but he is clearly progressive and he proved himself effective on both fast and slow ground last season.
That Haydock run came in a very good time, too, and it appears very strong handicap form. The winner was having his first start for a very shrewd owner-trainer combo, and the second, fourth and fifth all went into the race on the back of his reappearance wins.
Lucander has tended to hit a flat spot over a mile before staying on powerfully - he traded at 16.5, 60.059/1 and 23.022/1 in his three successes last term - so the step up to 1m2f really promises to suit here, especially as there is plenty of stamina on the dam side.
The natural temptation is to sulk and not bet once you have missed the stand-out prices, but I do think there is plenty of mileage in his price at 10/1 each way, four places. In fact, I think he is a very good each way bet with the extra place.
I mentioned on Monday's Weighed In Podcast how eye-catching a race that Magic Wand ran when fourth in Sunday's Eclipse.
On the face of it that was as good a performance as she has run in a brilliant global career to date and she didn't have a hard time of it in doing so either.
Many expected her to try to soften up Ghaiyyath for her stablemate Japan, but she was ridden to finish off her race from the rear, and she did it well.
This may have been the plan all along for her, as won the Mackinnon in Australia just four days after running in the Melbourne Cup, and she certainly has the tools to go from the front now stepped down to a mile again.
Her chances really confused the layers early on Wednesday afternoon, with the Sportsbook going up at 7/1 first show, while another made her just 3/1 for this Group 1 at 16:10 but she is a major player here, especially if there is no more rain.
However, I suspect Terebellum could be a tough cookie to crumble, so I will swerve the race with just the seven runners, especially as that 7s has long gone.
Magic Wand would be my bet in the race at 9/2, if forced, and maybe look in the Without Favourite market on Friday, too, if you want an interest.
Two bets for Market Rasen
The ground is currently good (good to soft in places) at Market Rasen after 14mm overnight on Wednesday, but there are still showers lingering (and the course also put 20mm on earlier in the week) so I am going to proceed on the basis of good to soft. The 12-runner 2m125yd handicap hurdle is first up at 14:05 and it is no surprise to see 5/1 the field.
On the face of it, Ingleby Hollow has showed precious little in two starts on the Flat of late, including when last at Doncaster 10 days ago, but both of those efforts came on good to firm and the easier surface here will suit him.
He also has a fair record when backing up similarly quickly, and he is on the same mark as when third in this race last season. His record suggests a bit of cut is ideal for him and, all things considered, I think he is worth a small bet at 26.025/1 or bigger.
Of the opposition, the better the ground the better Dino's Velvet's chances, and the course and distance winner is 2lb well-in here after his recent Southwell third. He does look very solid and I will add him as a saver at 8.07/1 or bigger, and pray they get very little, or no more, rain.
Everything else is in his favour, and a measure of how well handicapped he is - aside from that recent, promising Southwell run - is that he chased home Verdana Blue (racing off just 154) off a 1lb higher mark in the Scottish Champion Hurdle last season.
Connections believe he needs an end-to-end gallop to shine and he should get that here, with several of these having gone forward in the past, with Brandon Castle probably the most likely pace-setter.
The Plate at 14:40 looks far too tough for me to solve, though Adrrastos ran a blinder in the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot and the cheek pieces, that he wore for the first time when winning at Kempton last October, are back on here.
I have seen worse 14/1+ chances than him, but the extended 2m5f is a question mark and I am inclined to leave the race alone.