Tony Calvin surprises himself at Lingfield by finding two bets, including one that has performed well over course and distance and another that looks a very fair chance at 12/1...
"Some of her better efforts have come at this track, including a third off a 4lb higher mark under today’s jockey in December 2019, and I am willing to back her with my own cash."
Having lost the premier fixtures at Warwick and Newbury to the frost after morning inspections on Friday - they are now due to be run on Monday and Sunday, February 21 respectively - ITV have had to re-route to Lingfield on Saturday.
Not even the most upbeat of presenters is going to be pretending it is anything approaching a like-for-like switch. Think Jonny Gray being replaced by Wee Jimmy Krankie in the Scottish second row this weekend for their Six Nations match.
That sounds like an unnecessarily snobby and uppity thing to write - and it probably is, sorry - but the all-weather is not normally my thing, only four have rocked up for the 0-95 (and it is worth 11.5k, too) on the card, and there is not a horse rated higher than 78 in the other three ITV Class 4 and 5 contests.
So, it is fair to say, that I was not hopeful of firing up the Quattro and screeching off into the punting sunset before I started looking at the terrestrial fare.
After all, normal rules apply. If I am not backing anything, then you can be damn sure that I am not tipping. That should be the stance of every pundit, but unfortunately it isn't. And don't start me on those who recommend without a price.
Anyway let's get down to business. We stemmed the recent bleed with a much-needed recommended 33/1 winner last Sunday (unfortunately she only counts at a Betfair SP of 19.32 for P and L purposes) , and I did actually find two at Lingfield that I was willing to have a small bet on.
I was shocked, I tell you.
Capriolette will do for me
It is not in the aforementioned 0-95 at 14:00 which is actually a trappy little race given three of the four are possible pace-setters, so a tactical affair is in store - the exception to date has been Water Of Leith - and all were in good form the last time we saw them.
There isn't much between them on the clock either. The market currently favours Water Of Leith over Secret Handsheikh but it is simply not a race in which I have an opinion.
There doesn't actually seem to be any guaranteed pace in the six-runner 1m handicap at 14:35, so there is an opportunity for one of the riders to take the initiative.
Guessing who that rider is not too easy though, but you can see why the early betting likes the lightly-raced Crackling most after his narrow second to course specialist Daafr at Southwell last time.
Maybe Luke Morris will go forward on the fairly-handicapped Apex King, but nothing doing here.
I hope Morris wins the next though, as Capriolette is a bet at 10.09/1 or bigger in the 15:10.
I have her down as one of three possible front-runners here, even from her midfield draw in six, but she takes a lead more often than not, so she is at least tactically versatile.
She was given an aggressive ride from the start when fourth over course and distance three starts ago - she was drawn nine of 10 there, and had to use plenty of gas early to dispute the lead - and I would be inclined to mark that run up.
She is 2lb lower here after solid efforts in defeat at Wolverhampton and Kempton, and I like the angle of her stepping back up to 1m2f again (she stays further) with her handicap mark inching down.
Some of her better efforts have come at this track too, including a third off a 4lb higher mark under today's jockey in December 2019, and I am willing to back her with my own cash.
The stable is going okay despite the lack of a recent winner - they have had horses beaten a head and three-quarters-of-a-length into second of late - and she will do for me on the quietist of Saturdays.
Real Estate is a very fair bet
I thought Cappananty Con was solid in the 15:45 but he was never likely to be missed in the market in this dead-eight 6f handicap, though 4s is probably fair, in truth.
In fact, his stablemate Real Estate is arguably of more betting interesting at a bigger price - the first firm up made him a 12/1 chance - and he is the second punt, however unlikely, on this Lingfield card.
In fact, he is. Back him at 13.012/1 or bigger.
He didn't pull up any trees over course and distance last time when fifth of six but that is easily forgivable as it was his first start since July, and he has been dropped a handy 2lb for it, too.
That puts him on a 1lb lower mark than when beaten just a head over course and distance last June, and I think he just about wins this if he returns to that form.
The first and third won next time, and the fourth, fifth and sixth have scored twice since too, and Real Estate's Lingfield form figures read 32651125.
Throw in the fact that trainer Michael Attwater has saddled three recent winners (at 10s, 40s and 12s) and hold-up performer Real Estate should have a decent pace to aim (three possible leaders). He's a very fair bet.
ITV were also planning to show Chelmsford but that meeting bit the dust on Friday afternoon, and Naas has to pass a 7:30am inspection on Saturday morning as well, so we will leave it there.
Or maybe not, as I really have nothing to input into the four terrestrial races there.
It is competitive enough, with only one of the four handicaps failing to attract eight runners, but two 0-55s, a 0-70 and a 0-80 ain't doing it for me at a track where I can't readily recall having a bet in the last 12 months.
I personally would have preferred to see the ITV cameras focus on Naas instead, but that is also subject to a 7:30am inspection on Saturday (as is Chelmsford) due to a threat of snow and ice.
This weather really is the gift that keeps taking, but losing racing is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things and we should never lose sight of that fact.
Too many do.
Anyway, that is me over and out.
I surprised myself in finding two bets at Lingfield, that much is sure, so hopefully the -5 temperatures the course is set to experience on Friday night don't scupper those punting plans.