After tipping a 16/1 winner on Thursday Tony Calvin makes the case for just one small stakes bet on a quiet - for him - punting day at the York Ebor Festival...
"Restorer is only 4lb higher than when winning at Newbury on his return, and his seventh at Goodwood before his run last time was a very commendable effort in a hot handicap."
Friday's opening 1m3f188yd 0-105 handicap at 13:45 has really cut up - just 11 of the 31 from the five-day stage stood their ground, though the winning prize money has gone down from 43k last year to 18k, I suppose - but it is still a good betting race to get stuck into.
Or is it was until what was going to be my only bet on the day, Dash Of Spice, got into the Ebor on Saturday and was declared a non-runner on Thursday morning.
So that plan was scuppered before it had started, and we are down to 10 now.
The big disappointment for me was that Zabeel Champion, ridden by Ryan Moore (below), was priced up so short, as he does look to have the most obvious of claims.
He had to take a lead at Goodwood last time, but he still posted an excellent effort to finish second, and I don't think a 3lb rise will stop him winning here.
Nor will the step up in trip and easier ground, though it will be drying out. In fact, I think they are positives. And he could now get an uncontested lead with what would have been his probable pace rival Dash Of Spice out.
But, as I have said, he has been priced up defensively enough at around 9/4 on the Exchange and it is simply a matter of whether I can find another to take him on with now that my first choice has fallen by the wayside.
Can anything stop Zabeel Champion?
I looked at On To Victory as he is a decent price at around 12/1, the assessor has given him a chance after his lengthy Flat absence and he goes well when fresh - plus he has finished fourth in a Melrose here in 2017 - and we have the usual unexposed John Gosden handicap inmate in the line-up in Alfaatik, and then the solid Restorer, who is 3lb well-in after his good recent second at Chester.
Restorer's two poor runs at this track (he beat only one home in this race last season) nearly stopped me putting him up win and place, but I shouldn't let defeats at 50/1 and 28/1 deter me on a very quiet punting day.
He is only 4lb higher than when winning at Newbury on his return, and his seventh at Goodwood before his run last time was a very commendable effort in a hot handicap.
I know he always runs well at Chester but he stepped it up another level there last time, when second to a horse who was winning for the fourth time in his last five outings (the defeat is easily forgiven as it was in soft ground at Haydock), and he was immediately clear of two horses that went into the race in peak form.
He is an 8yo now, against three sprightly 3yos amongst others, and that course form is a slight concern, but trip and ground are fine, and he is 3lb well-in, so he rates a small bet at 9.08/1 win and 2.56/4 place.
The Lonsdale Cup at 14:15 has attracted just seven runners, so we have obviously lost the each way option there.
It probably wouldn't have been a betting race with eight runners, in truth, as I couldn't easily rule out any of the septet, with Nayef Road and Enbihaar deserving of their status at the top of the market, and the remainder all holding place claims.
Sorry to be predictable but there are just too many unknowns for me to have an interest in the Gimcrack at 14:45.
We have five unbeaten juveniles in here, and they probably don't even number among the three form horses, so it is a big fat no from me.
There is no surprise to Battaash trading at heavy odds-on once again for the Nunthorpe at 15:15, as the race lacks any depth. And no 2yos have rocked up to give it any extra spice.
So what we have is effectively a match between Battaash against the up-and-comer Art Power, and I don't think you can argue with how the pair are priced up.
It is disappointing to see a 2yo maiden as the final ITV offering at 15:45 for all it is full of promising youngsters.
I know it is traditional to broadcast the race, as the Convivial is traditionally the most valuable 2yo maiden of the year, but it leaves me cold, especially with the promising Maximal out.
For me, maiden races being broadcast on terrestrial TV during a big meeting should be a no-no. Quite why the 16-runner 3yo 1m handicap at 16:50 isn't on ITV instead is anyone's guess.
I'll admit Rushmore was interesting at a price as he was given the kid gloves treatment at Newbury in a novice that is working out pretty well, but Naval Crown sets a fair standard and Tawleed ran a race full of promise when second at Goodwood on his debut.
I am also sorry to report that the aforementioned closing handicap hasn't thrown up a betting opportunity either, as it looks an absolute minefield of a race as I struggled to even get the 16 down to single figures on my initial shortlist.
You can't bet or tip in those circumstances.
Angel Power was interesting but... no bet
The only other race I haven't covered is the 1m2f handicap at 16:15. The world, their partner and their extended family in Australia saw how well Asiaaf travelled over 1m4f at Goodwood last time before the tank emptied, so she was never going to be missed in the betting here, for all she was raised 4lb for the defeat.
And, again, this is a really competitive handicap, for all there are just eight runners, and it is hard to narrow it down.
Virgin Snow is another filly who will be suited by coming down to 1m2f and a first-time hood will probably suit this free-going sort, but the one that interested me most was Angel Power at around 6.05/1 on the exchange.
She bumped into a well-handicapped horse in Tomorrow's Dream at Goodwood last time (for all the winner failed to fire when stepped up to Listed company next time) and a 1lb rise is fine. And she had earlier posted a good time when just touched off at Haydock. I like her most at the prices, but even then I don't believe she is a betting opportunity.
So, just the one Friday punt for me, even if it wasn't the one I was intending. As I always say, if the bet is not there, do not force it.
Good luck if you are getting stuck in, though.
Back Restorer at 9.08/1 win and 2.56/4 place in 13:45 at York