Tony Calvin returns to give his verdict on the Saturday televised action from Doncaster and day two of the Cheltenham International Meeting...
"Whatever way you do the math (or is it maths, I can never remember) Oscar Rose looks a potential blot on the handicap here off 118, and odds of 9/1 look decidedly enticing."
Small fields don't tend to readily lend themselves to betting opportunities - even the laziest of layers can adequately study, and price up, a single-figure field - so I did find it hard to eke out some weekend punts.
It is certainly not a Saturday where I will be wheeling out the betting big guns then, but I think Oscar Rose is probably the pick of the prices at [10.0] or better in the 15:40 at Cheltenham.
An even better bet for Betfair Sportsbook punters is backing the mare each-way at 9/1, with an enhanced four places on offer. Do that if you can.
Let's get the potential negatives out of the way first. The most worrying is probably the ground, as she disappointed in testing conditions at Sandown in March, though she didn't run at all badly when fourth in a bumper on a similar surface here last year.
The other is the extended 2m4f trip, as she flattened out a bit over a furlong shorter at Chepstow in October. But, then again, that was her reappearance, so maybe we should give her the benefit of the doubt, especially as she is a half-sister to a soft-ground Grand National Trial winner in Lie Forrit.
And, if she does stay as well as her talented older sis, then she is handicapped to win this race.
Her bumper form stands the closest of inspection - she was only beaten ½ length by Dame Rose at Aintree in April, and everyone saw what the winner did at Newbury recently (especially the handicapper, as she is now rated 137) - and her hurdling form isn't too shabby either.
She was beaten six lengths, off levels, by Sunshade at Ludlow last month and the unbeaten winner is now rated 134 after following up by 14 lengths at Market Rasen.
Whatever way you do the math (or is it maths, I can never remember) Oscar Rose looks a potential blot on the handicap here off 118, and odds of 9/1 look decidedly enticing.
King's Odyssey can make amends at Cheltenham
With small fields again the order of the day in both of the Grade 2 hurdles, the only other race on the card that interests me is the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at 13:55.
And, even then, this is a race that has disappointingly cut up to just 11 runners. For a £120k pot. Go figure.
You clearly have to fear the favourite Clan Des Obeaux, but he is plenty short enough at [4.7] and, at double the price, King's Odyssey is getting a bullseye of my finest at [8.2] or bigger.
However, once again, the Sportsbook are really enticing each-way players in with four places, and the 7/1 about my selection in those circumstances is equally appealing than the win-only Exchange option.
He doesn't have the most convincing or consistent profile if you focus on his most recent efforts, but I think it is a fair bet that he was being teed up for this valuable prize when third of four on his return over 2m at Carlisle last month.
I am probably doing him a bit of disservice there too, as that was a pretty promising effort over an inadequate trip, and one run in a good time, and the handicapper kindly dropped him 2lb for it.
That is 7lb lower than when coming to grief, when in with every chance, six out in this race last year. And, perhaps more relevant, only 1lb higher than when winning over course and distance on heavy ground in January 2016.
He clearly isn't the most robust horse and jumping could be an issue, but I do like his low-key run-in to this race, and today will hopefully be the day for a horse proven on the track and the ground, and one off a very tempting mark, too.
Braqueur to go well for Nicholls
The most interesting betting races at Doncaster are earlier on the card on ATR, but for the sake of time I'll stick to those on ITV.
The first terrestrial race on the telly box is the four-runner novices' chase at 14:10, and that is of no use to man or beast, and probably not the Levy, either.
No doubt connections of the quartet will be delighted at the turn-out for this £35k race, but no-one else is. Braqueur D'Or looks the most likely winner to me, if you are interested, and prices around 2/1 are probably fair enough if you are minded.
The £45k Grade 2 juvenile hurdle at 14:45 has at least attracted two more runners but is equally unappetising from a betting point of view.
It could well be that Eragon De Chanay is too big a price on ability compared to the sexier profiles of Act Of Valour and We Have A Dream, but juvenile hurdles are pretty much guessing games at this stage of the season and I can leave well alone.
I have to admit I have drawn a blank on the Doncaster card, as I went round in circles trying to find the winner of the three mile handicap chase at 15:20.
I was going to side with Ballybolley at around 5/1, as he will love the decent ground and comes here after a good third over 2m4f in the soft at Aintree last time.
But the three mile trip does worry me, even on this ground - he didn't really look to see it out fully over this trip at Sandown last season - so I can pass him by.
In fact, the more I think of it, Sego Success, winner of this race two years ago, is probably the safer conveyance, after a fair second on his return at Warwick in October, at a similar price. However, I am not pushing it if it isn't there, sorry.
Back King's Odyssey at [8.2] or bigger in 13:55 at Cheltenham and/or 7/1 each-way, four places, with Betfair Sportsbook.
Back Oscar Rose at [10.0] or bigger on Exchange in 15:40 at Cheltenham and/or 9/1 each-way Betfair Sportsbook, four places.