Tarawa should be shorter than 12/113.00
Ylang Ylang's price is too good to ignore
Storm Agnes hasn't reached Newmarket it seems, and very little rain is now forecast (if any), so the dreaded "W" word has entered the building.
The ground for the start of the three-day meeting on Thursday is set to be good to firm, good in places, but York showed us at the Ebor meeting that minimal irrigation and natural fast ground was the way forward.
So at least Newmarket have done likewise by only putting 3mm down on Wednesday. Let's leave it there now, eh?
I found it impossible to dig out an ante-post bet on the four ITV races when I looked at the card on Sunday but the expected going has changed (it looked like being good to soft at that stage) and, of course so has the betting, so let's crack on.
Twelve have rocked up in the 1m Listed race at 13:50 and it is not easy to call, I can tell you.
Eight of the 12 are separated by just 5lb on official ratings and the pace map gives us little to go on, with the penalized Astral Beau and Quick Change likely go on from traps nine and 10 respectively. Those may not be the best draws for the forward-goers given the stalls are on the far side (I presume the higher draws are towards the centre).
We have first-time headgear for Tarawa, Silver Lady and Amanzoe. We haven't seen Silver Lady since York in May but I always respect Godolphin runners when they go down this route. William Haggas and Dermot Weld, however, are only average at best in the accroutrements area. So that adds another unknown.
As is always the case, it basically all came down to prices, and I could not believe it when the Sportsbook opened up just before midday on Wednesday and made Tarawa a 16/117.00 chance. Other firms did likewise, too.
Once confirmed for the race, I expected her to be among the market leaders as she is just about the best horse in the race on her Irish 1,000 Guineas fourth and her length third in the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes. She showed she handled good to firm ground with her second in Listed company in between those efforts.
She also did very well to finish as close as she did when a closing fifth in Group 2 company at Leopardstown last time, considering she was dropped in last from her wide draw, and the early betting looked bang wrong.
The initial cheekpieces replace the visor she has worn on her last two starts, and hopefully they will prove more of a help than a hindrance. Likewise the case with her being drawn 12 of 12. The latter does worry me, I'll admit.
She is now 12/113.00 with the Betfair Sportsbook and that, or 13.012/1 or bigger on the Exchange, rates a bet to me. It's a tough contest to call but she surely shouldn't be trading in single figures.
In fact, with the Sportsbook paying four places, I'll tip and back her each-way at 12/113.00. That's the generally available price in the marketplace (with 14 firms), and also the joint biggest out there.
Weld also puts first-time cheekpieces on Azazat in another ridiculously trappy 11-runner 1m4f Group 3 fillies and mares contest at 14:25.
I actually think she is the best value in the race at 10/111.00 as the step back up to 1m4f will suit her after her second over 1m2f last time, but she does need to improve for what will probably be the quickest ground she has raced on.
And it isn't as if there aren't five or six rivals, most obviously the 11/43.75 favourite Running Lion and the lightly-raced Sea Theme (opened up at 12/113.00 and now 9/110.00), you'd have to seriously respect against her.
If you trust in Aidan O'Brien to get Ylang Ylang back on track after she finished last of nine at odds of 6/52.20 in the Group 1 Moyglare last time, then you are probably getting adequately compensated by the Sportsbook quote of 9/25.50 for her in the Rockel Stakes at 15:00.
More than adequately.
Indeed, she is 5/16.00 elsewhere and around that on the Betfair Exchange, which is surely an over-reaction.
That simply has to be on the big side for the best filly in the race (on her previous Leopardstown defeat of the Moyglare runner-up Vespertilio in a good time). Maybe they will look to drop her in this time, instead of going forward, especially with two other pace rivals in here in the shape of Carla's Way and Alshinfarah.
A win for any of seven of the eight wouldn't surprise me that much - Marcella being the exception - but I can't get away from the Ylang Ylang price.
I appreciate if my auntie had a set, she'd be my uncle, and you have a very bad run to forgive, but she'd be 6/42.50 tops - if that - if coming here straight from that Leopardstown win in a good time.
She wouldn't be an each-way bet given the Curragh blow-out (where she was a little too keen out in front on rain-softened ground), so the precarious dead-eight is not a worry. But I am willing to back her at 9/25.50 win-only with the Sportsbook. If you can get bigger on the eEchange or elsewhere, then obviously do so.
A very tricky quartet of ITV races is completed by the six-runner 1m Group 2 Joel Stakes at 15:35.
Last year's all-the-way winner Mutasaabeq could get his own way out in front again here and his only defeat in five starts on the Rowley course came in the 2021 Guineas. However, he carries a 3lb penalty for his Group 2 win here in May, and that could tip the balance against him, for all he looks a likely back-to-lay vehicle for the in-running traders.
The return of Maljoom adds another bit of spice to the race along with the in-form Chindit but, with only 5lb separating all six runners on the ratings, and the prices pretty much what you would expect, I'll just stick with the two Irish plays.
Oh, and I'll get told off if I don't mention a free bet offer on racing multiples that Betfair are running this weekend.
I'll be back on Friday morning probably. I am go early with this column, as there are a very busy few days coming up and I wanted to get a head-start.
Read Ryan Moore: Debut winner Military the pick of my four on Thursday at Newmarket