As I said in an ante-post column earlier in the week, Newmarket's four ITV races on Friday don't really play to my betting strengths - if I have any, that is - but let's get stuck in regardless.
The going at Newmarket is currently good (good to firm in places).
The numbers for the opening 1m Listed race at 13:50 have held up very well, and a competitive field of 11 rocks up.
Crystal Caprice can perform
You can throw a blanket over most of the field from a form perspective, though Ascot disappointment Zanbaq is actually clear by 4lb on official figures, but undoubtedly Crystal Caprice is the filly with the sexiest profile as the archetypal Sir Michael Stoute blossoming, slow-burner and she heads the Sportsbook's market at 9/4 (5/2 on exchange).
You probably couldn't have offered up a messier description of her than that, but you get my drift. She is on the up.
Basically, the stable clearly think she is a filly going places but there is absolutely no juice in her current price against a number of rivals who have shown comparable form, and others that have equally winning and likeable profiles.
Or in Zanbaq and Romantic Rival's case, better form. And the latter is one I entertained at around 9s on the exchange.
She officially improved 11lb when third in a 7f Doncaster Group 3 last time at 150/1. She would have won with a clear run too and this step back up to a mile will suit her as well, as she had shown form over 1m1f and 1m2f when trained in France last year.
I know some people may view that 150/1 third as a fluke, but connections bought her for 110,000 euros off Godolphin in December, and tried her in Group 2 company here earlier in the season, so they presumably always held out high hopes for her.
Mystic Wells is a big price...
But you can make a case for four or five in here - I actually gave her stablemate, 33/1 chance Mystic Wells, a chance stepping back in trip, as a forcing ride over 1m could get some of these in trouble - and I am not inclined to force a bet.
Mind you, the 33s about Mystic Wells was tempting, even if a few in here could go forward too (maybe Crenelle, Random Harvest and Arion) and Boughey could be using this outing - her first since Royal Ascot - to tee-up a late autumn campaign over further.
She has course and distance form over the trip, albeit at a lower level obviously, and she has clearly shown a lot of pace being ridden aggressively over 1m2f-1m4f.
If you back her I suspect you'll get a run for your money, at least. But I'll just about let her go unbacked and untipped, even at 33s.
I may rue that decision, so I may chuck a tenner at her late doors if she hits a big price on the exchange, just in case.
We have lost some high-profile runners from the 1m4f Group 3 race at 14:25, with Albaflora and last year's winner Forbearance not being confirmed on Wednesday, but the big ante-post pair of Sea Silk Road and Eternal Pearl stand their ground.
Both have obvious claims but make little appeal at the prices (they are 6/5 and 5/2 respectively) and the fascinating one is undoubtedly Royal Scandal.
Now, she is rated just 89 here and the form of her Kempton novice win last time (admittedly under a 7lb penalty) is not really working out, with defeats for the placed horses since.
She was actually entered in a Doncaster handicap on the abandoned Saturday fixture, but connections are throwing her in the deeper end here in this Listed race, and I can see why.
She did it very well at Kempton and, crucially, she has a very attractive (and presumably valuable) pedigree, being by Dubawi out of Seal Of Approval, who won the Group 1 Fillies and Mares on Champions Day for the stable at Ascot in 2013.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if she won, but am I willing to bet on the necessary improvement at 10/1?
Probably not - the 14s was taken on Wednesday night - so I can hardly tell you to.
Gosden horse catches the eye...
One point of interest is John and The Real Slim Thady Gosden are trying 25s poke Queen Of The Skies in a first-time hood. The stable have a great record (6 from 13 since the pair joined forces) when trying this option, as we have seen recently with the likes of Trawlerman and Mimikyu of late.
A very healthy field of 14 for the Rockfel at 15:00, even in the absence of the Aidan O'Brien pair, and the buzz filly in here is undoubtedly Commissioning, who looked very smart when winning on her debut on the July course.
But she presumably has her quirks (she ran in a hood there and raced on her own towards the far side) and is a very short price (7/4 with the Sportsbook) against fillies with proven Group form, so she is definitely not for me.
None of the field is in truth. As with a lot of juvenile races, this is a bit of a guessing game, as the proven form horses like Olivia Maralda lock horns with five unbeaten fillies.
For obvious reasons it is very disappointing that the Joel Stakes at 15:35 has whittled down to seven runners - though it probably saved us the grief of having eight runners and waiting for the inevitable non-runner - but I was on the hunt for a win-only bet in the shape of Potapova.
This could set up nicely for her with a few prominent racers in here, most obviously Pogo and Oscula, and allow her to reproduce the waiting tactics that saw her bounce back to form in the Atalanta Stakes last time.
She sat last, covered up, and pounced wide on the outside to win decisively there and that form has depth, with the third and fifth winning Group 3s next time and the sixth was beaten only a nose in Listed company on her following start.
She has never raced at this track before, and getting settled and cover could be harder here in these wide expanses in a small field, but from what I saw at Sandown - and at Epsom earlier in the season when I thought she shaped like the best horse in the race - I like her chances.
As ever, the big problem is the price.
The Sportsbook installed her as the 5/2 favourite on Wednesday afternoon, and I was hoping for a fair bit bigger about a horse who doesn't have a consistent profile. She is around 11/4 on the exchange, and I'd want 7/2 and upwards to be backing her.
We also have three handicaps at Haydock to try to decipher, though I don't have any betting opinion on the nursery at 13:30.
And similar comments apply to the 1m handicap at 14:05, though I thought the lightly-raced Croupier was half-interesting, having gone up just 1lb for winning narrowly at Windsor last time. The 6/1 about him was fair, but nothing more.
Two pronged attack at Haydock
The going at Haydock is currently good, but a fair deal of rain could be coming throughout Thursday (6mm on one site), and that must be good news for Tom Ward, and maybe Ralph Beckett, too.
I have history with both of their horses in here, Ward's Double Cherry and Beckett's Speycaster, and I am going to suggest dutching the pair.
The history I have with Speycaster was in the form of a non-runner as I tipped him when he was one of the mass withdrawals here (due to firm ground) here at the start of the month. Along with bug Beverley eyecatcher Post Impressionist and Zain Nights, who both re-oppose here, from the same 1m6f handicap, in fact.
The reason why I liked him that day was that he was unable to take advantage of his low draw over 1m6f at Haydock previously on soft ground when stumbling coming out of the stalls - and it was quite a bad stumble too, costing him a few lengths and any chance of obtaining a forward position - so in the circumstances he did well to beaten just 4 ½ lengths into fourth.
And a certain Giavellotto, the Leger third, just happened to finish second there, with Double Cherry in sixth. Plenty of winners have come out of the race too, with the fifth, eighth, ninth and 13th all obliging since.
Speycaster is obviously something of a character (he was gelded before his latest run) and presumably they thought he wasn't putting it all in here last time too, so they try him in blinkers.
Ralph Beckett has a good record with this first-time headgear, generating a very healthy level-stakes profit into the equation, so he is my first bet 9/2 win-only with the Sportsbook.
He actually opened up at 15/2 in a place on Wednesday but that was never lasting.
I thought the heavily-backed Double Cherry was given a curious ride in that Haydock race, so I took a chance with him at Ascot last time.
He was very weak in the betting close to the off there and possibly ran as if needing the race after a two-month break. He was sat well off the pace there and that didn't prove the place to be, as only the impressive winner made up ground from the rear, so I'd be inclined to mark up after his staying-on fourth.
He steps back up to 1m6f here, having been dropped 1lb for the Ascot run, and it can rain as much as it likes for him.
Back him at 7s win-only with the Sportsbook.