Tony Calvin casts his expert eye across Saturday's racing and picks four fancies between meetings at Ascot and Haydock...
"Buckwheat joined Godolphin in the winter and I thought that there was more promise in his two starts in Dubai, running well when sixth off a mark of 110 in a 1m4f handicap before probably finding the trip beyond him in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 1m6f."
14:40 Ascot - Buckwheat
Pether's Moon looks an obvious favourite in the 14:40 at Ascot, but he certainly hasn't been missed by the layers and this could prove to be a lot of more competitive than the market implies.
Yes, he ran a race brim full of promise when second to Gospel Choir last week but he carries a 3lb penalty for his listed race win at Kempton last November (admittedly, a convincing one from Gatewood) and on official marks has little, if anything, in hand on five or six of these, some of whom come here in equally good form as the favourite. And ex-Australian Kelinni is a fascinating contender on his first start for Marco Botti.
I am going to side with a horse who hasn't yet come up to expectations for Godolphin, and rate Buckwheat a fair alternative at odds of 17.016/1 or bigger.
He looked a horse going places when winning a 1m3f listed race at Chantilly on heavy ground for Andre Fabre last season but didn't cut much ice in Group 2 company on his next two starts - though he wasn't beaten far at Deauville - before finishing tailed off in the Prix Dollar.
He joined Godolphin in the winter and I thought that there was more promise in his two starts in Dubai, running well when sixth off a mark of 110 in a 1m4f handicap before probably finding the trip beyond him in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 1m6f.
His chances are not that obvious at first glance, but he is a 107-rated horse for whom 1m4f with cut in the ground could prove ideal and he is worth chancing at the odds.
15:50 Ascot - Ayaar
The opener at 14:05 looks very difficult to call, though I thought Swing Alone could go well at a price, and I can't get excited by much in the 1m handicap at 15:15.
However, I am not going to desert Ayaar at odds of 17.016/1 or better in the Victoria Cup at 15:50, and he rates my bet of the day.
He looked a horse to follow this season after rounding his 2013 campaign with a win at Newmarket, in which he impressed jockey Ryan Moore.
And I fancied him to make a winning reappearance off just a 4lb higher mark at Kempton last month. In the event, he could only finish third, but he didn't do himself any favours that day by racing far too keenly.
He still ran very promisingly though, finishing his race out well despite the obvious freshness, and the form was given a boost when the runner-up, Glen Moss, won a competitive handicap at Haydock next time.
I think that we will see a much-improved Ayaar today, and Frankie Dettori should be able to get him to settle much better in this bigger field. I rate his chances - he is a very well-handicapped horse off 97 and won't mind any ease in the ground - and will back him accordingly.
13:50 Haydock - Wyse Hill Teabags
Just when you think that you have left the National Hunt season behind up pops Haydock's Swinton meeting, but I am going to get involved courtesy of Wyse Hill Teabags in the 13:50.
Back him at odds of 13.012/1 or bigger.
He probably ran his best ever race over hurdles when runner-up here in 2011 but the 9yo is still battling on well despite advancing years, and followed up his February 3m1f Musselburgh win with a good third over 2m6f at Ayr last time.
The step back up to 3m with cut in the ground will suit, and the handicapper has kindly dropped him 1lb since Ayr.
15:30 Haydock - Skint
And I am going to chuck another few quid at Skint in the big one at 15:30, even if he does race from 2lb out of the handicap.
I backed him at massive odds at Sandown two starts ago, where he ran a very strange race, as he looked to be going ok in the straight until he made a slight mistake, only for his jockey to seemingly give up very quickly.
In his defence, this horse is a strong-traveller who often finds little, as he did when third at Wetherby last time, but I reckon he has a big race in him with the blinkers back on.
Back him at odds of 26.025/1 or bigger.
The Classic trials at Lingfield look very trappy, so I am happy to watch and learn. But for those who like to tune in and punt, I give a fair shout to Double Bluff upped in trip at 14:55.
Back Buckwheat at 17.016/1 or bigger in the 14:40 at Ascot
Back Ayaar at 17.016/1 or bigger in the 15:50 at Ascot
Back Wyse Hill Teabags at 13.012/1 or better in the 13:50 at Haydock
Back Skint at 26.025/1 or better in the 15:30 at Haydock