13:50 Newbury - Midterm
We put the visor on him to help me out, as he raced a bit lazily when fifth here in the John Porter on his reappearance. It was a decent return to action though, he will be sharper here and he comes into this race in good shape. I think the softer ground will suit him as well.
He doesn't have much to find with Group 1 winners My Dream Boat and Hawkbill on official marks, but, unlike them, we know he is fully effective at this trip.
Across The Stars is also ready to start after missing an engagement last week, and he has form with ease in the ground. But his best form came on fast ground in the Voltigeur, and I just wonder whether the soft ground will fully play to his strengths. He is clearly a good middle-distance prospect for the yard this season, though.
14:20 Newbury - Private Matter
This is a tight race on official figures and my mount carries a 3lb penalty for his Listed race defeat of last week's French 1,000 Guineas winner Precieuse last October - form which is very similar to Simmie's, who also has an autumn verdict over that Classic winner - but that at least tells us that he can handle soft ground.
But I guess we knew that anyway. He shaped as though 7f was maybe just beyond him in the Free Handicap last time, but 6f and soft ground will hopefully see him go close in a race where you can give a few a chance by the looks of it.
14:55 Newbury - Contrast
He handled soft ground well enough at Haydock last season and he made a decent return when sixth over 1m in the Esher Cup, a race that is working out okay. If he stays this extra 2f in what will be testing conditions then he has place chances, but I don't think a mark of 93 gives him much to work with. Let's hope I am wrong and he improves for the step up in trip.
15:30 Newbury - Somehow
We could well be racing on near-heavy ground in the Lockinge and that probably isn't ideal for a few in here. But at least it will bring my filly's undoubted stamina into play. The progress she has made since stepping down from 1m4f has been pretty impressive, and she got the job done very well over 1m1f in the Dahlia Stakes on fast ground last time. Okay, that wasn't the strongest renewal of that race but it was another step forward for her and we know that the ground will be fine for her, as she has won on heavy.
She needs to improve again to beat the form horses Ribchester and Galileo Gold - and they are the two to beat - but conditions probably give her an added chance of doing so. However, I think Ribchester sets the form standard on his QEII second to Minding and he has plenty of form in deep ground, so he is a worthy favourite.
16:05 Newbury - Never Back Down NON-RUNNER
This is clearly a race in which no-one is going into confident of success - there are too many unknowns - but my colt made a very encouraging debut when just touched off at the Craven meeting and he went one better at Leicester last time.
He steps up to 6f on what will be unknown territory as regards the ground - it was fast on both his starts to date - but if he handles conditions then I think he has a fair form chance on what we have seen so far.
16:40 Newbury - Natavia
This is another race in which you can make a case for all of the runners, as they are all lightly-raced, unexposed and promising fillies, and the step up to 1m2f promises to suit three of them. We know Flood Warning, who I rode when winning at Sandown, and course and distance winner Gracious Diana stay this trip well but my mount appeared to shape really well over a mile on fast ground at Newmarket on her debut.
The filly who beat her was due to run at York on Friday, so that may give you a better handle on that form, and she is clearly a very-well bred filly who has the potential for a lot of improvement if staying the extra 2f and handling the soft ground.
17:10 Newbury - Dark Red
I have ridden him a couple of times before, winning on him at Chelmsford, and he will get his ground here. As he showed when winning at Epsom last season, he is at home on soft ground, and I suppose the main issue is whether he is quick enough to be winning over 1m, as all his good recent form is over 1m2f. But if conditions are really gruelling then that will suit on that front.