Seven races live on ITV Racing today from both York and Sandown, and there's plenty to get through on a hectic day of racing. I am happy with our position on John Leeper in the 15:35 Ebor, and I wouldn't put anyone off going in again at the same price of 15.014/1.
It didn't take long to find the first bet. It comes in the 13:50 Symphony Group Strensall Stakes. The market has the right favourite in Mighty Ulysses 2.89/5, albeit rather short at the current odds. I can see him having a drift out to around 3.55/2 before the off with this extra furlong is not guaranteed to suit him.
Connections have already expressed their stamina doubts when saying, "He will stay at this trip now we know a mile and a quarter is not viable." He has proven vulnerable occasionally at the finish, and I am not entirely convinced there is much more to come.
There's more to come from improving Alflaila
Alflaila 4.57/2 is a much more tempting proposition to reverse form at this more conventional track. He finished 1 1/2 lengths well held behind Mighty Ulysses at Newmarket, but he wasn't best positioned on the rail and had to switch for a run. It was more straightforward for the winner, but the selection closed on him right to the line.
His tendency to be slowly away is concerning. Still, there is plenty of pace to ensure a good gallop here to use his stamina. He ran a blinder at this venue in the Nursery Handicap on this card last year from stall 16, so we know he handles the track. The ground is no issue, and I am sure there is a bigger performance in this horse. He is not done improving, and back under Jim Crowley can come out on top.
Haggas' hero can land Solario
This 14:40 Solario Stakes is a cracking race, but if there is to a star in this field and follow the likes of Kingman and Too Darn Hot to win this contest then it's surely William Haggas' Desert Hero 3.7511/4
He showed plenty of promise on debut, and he looks just the sort of being able to mix it at the top level this year. He powered away under hand and heels on soft ground at Haydock, but it would be folly to think he needs those conditions to prove useful. Stamina is his asset, and it's encouraging that the runner-up came out and won next time.
He is entered for the Derby next year along with The Foxes, and his 34.033/1 could be long gone after this contest.
The shape of this race suggests that they are likely to go a good clip up front with the likes of Wahaaj 7.513/2 and Dornoch Castle 13.012/1 drawn stalls three and one, and the stiff uphill finish should play to the selections strengths - don't panic if he is outpaced early.
He makes plenty of appeal with the promise of more to come - the Queens runner Reach For The Moon won this contest last term.
Soulcombe screaming for this trip
Soulcombe 4.03/1 has been steadily progressive for William Haggas and took a big step forward after receiving the cruellest chop of all and the fitting of the blinkers. He can land the competitive 14:25 Melrose Handicap.
He hit the line extremely hard at Goodwood at a track that would never play to the strengths of a horse with "lazyitus". He was under the pump for some time but ran on very strongly at the death to encourage this longer trip.
He is a horse I had down in my notes as "wait for a long home straight, flat track and 1m6f" Today, he gets all three for a trainer that excels here, and he will leave this handicap mark of 83 well behind him in due course. He should get the perfect set-up today, and there will be nothing finishing as strongly as this progressive, quirky horse.