It didn't take long to get stuck into a bet, and just as well because I love this meeting each year. Top-class racing action throughout the week and just a reminder for punters that these meetings are a rollercoaster, but let's kick off with a winner!
Dusky to down rivals in opener
Dusky Lord 9.08/1 is in my notes as "wait for a sharp six or a stiff five", so the fact that he now gets five and a half furlongs in the opening 13:50 Symphony Group Handicap is a happy middle ground for me and my notepad.
Many will say that he is now eight pounds higher than his last victory and had few excuses from a good draw at Goodwood, but I would argue that this horse needs a flat track and this extra half a furlong to be at his best.
He scored at Newmarket on seasonal return, so I could be spouting nonsense, but he did roll around in the dip, and I thought the track masked his superiority over a good field.
He ran a scorcher at Epsom next time from a poor drawn but almost lost his action coming down the hill and was eased off, and he was caught too far back at Newmarket when a fast finishing fourth. I would also argue that he wasn't entirely at home at Goodwood on the downhill run, throwing his head from side to side and finished with running left.
Today will be the first time he has had a flat track and fast ground, and as mentioned, the trip is spot on. There are lots to like, including his draw next to favourite and front runner Dakota Gold. Pace horses Ancient Times, Good Eye, Copper Knight, Bond Chairman and King Of Stars are all drawn in double-figure stalls suggesting the place to be is high.
He looks worth chancing with blinkers replacing the cheek-pieces to keep him lit.
Buick may have chosen the wrong one!
In the 15:00 Great Voltigeur Stakes, William Buick would have had the choice between Secret State 3.02/1 and Walk Of Stars 5.04/1 and opted for the former. I am not one to doubt one of the greatest jockeys of our generation, but I think he may have this one wrong.
Secret State didn't need to improve on his excellent Ascot victory to win at Goodwood, and that race at the Sussex venue wasn't overly strong, and he held on at the finish. I am siding with James Doyle and Walk Of Stars, who has stacks of potential when he learns to race, and it must be remembered he was once the ante-post favourite for the Derby.
He took a good step forward when unfavoured by the stop-start gallop at Newmarket in the Bahrain Trophy, and he had to wait for a run at the rear of the field. He was very keen that day, so his performance can be further upgraded, and his form ties in with the favourite. He is excellent value here, and with a stronger pace and this more conventional track more to his liking he gets the vote to take another step forward.
Dubai Honour has been insulted by the market
In the 15:35 at Newmarket, Dubai Honour 41.040/1 has been left cold by the market despite running extremely well in defeat here in a slowly run affair behind Sir Busker. He is not a speed horse but one that relies on stamina to win the day, and he didn't get to show that 25 days ago. He was held up at the field's rear and outsped at the finish by a proven miler.
He is better than he was able to show there, and while it is a stiff task to beat superstar stablemate Baaeed, he will get a stronger pace to aim at today, and this has clearly been the plan with his latest effort, a prep run. He is 15.014/1 in the W/O Baaeed market on the Betfair Sportsbook, and that's a price I advise taking. Let's not forget he beat Mishriff in the Champion Stakes at Ascot last year, and there's more to come.
A disclaimer for readers. My NAP of the day comes in the 16:45 Fillies' Handicap and is Vertiginous 13.012/1, but she is not in one of the ITV Racing races covered in this column today.