It's low grade fare today, dear reader, but for every race there must be a winner, and 4/1 in a seller pays no less than 4/1 in a Grade 1, so let's see what we can establish about today's punting action.
Starting at Folkestone, and I am seriously tempted to take on Medermit in the 1.10 race. He looked to my eye to have a hard race last time and, though consistent in his placed efforts, one win from four runs is not enough for me to dash to snaffle odds on.
Against him are a few likely types, not least of which is my ten to follow horse, Ballygowan Star. (Very) tenderly handled on his debut for Jim Best t'other day, I'm surprised the stewards didn't require further information. Here's what the Racing Post made of it:
"The horse that really caught the eye was Ballygowan Star, who never looked to be asked a serious question on his hurdling debut. He is surely much better than he showed in this, although it was reported after the race that he lost his action behind and he was also checked over by the vet."
Hmm.... Besty is known for his handicap hurdlers, and I suspect this one may be running for a low mark. Be sure though, this beast will win before the season's out and, depending on the mark he's bestowed, may notch a small sequence. But I don't think he'll be 'expected' today.
Jonjo's Quazy de Joie, at 2nd favourite, also looks opposable to me in the race, so I'm going to take two each way against the top two.
My choices are Uncle Eli and TTS horse, Massini Moon. The former, possibly named after the TrainerTrackStats forerunner, Uncle Eli's Magic System (anybody remember that - it was bloody brilliant and I swore by it as a fledgling punter!), ran well in a Graded hurdle last season and probably needed his debut this term (opened 8/1, sent off 12/1). He'll strip fitter today, and ought to place.
Massini Moon is by promising jumps sire, Dr Massini, and - placed twice in bumpers on sharp tracks - might make more of a mark in the mud here. (Did you like that? Massini Moon might make more of a mark in the mud... ahem)
The rest of the card is tricky at best, so it's over to Fakenham to see what's cooking...
In the 1.30, my mate David's in the syndicate behind Silvergino (they also had the mighty Kadarann a few seasons back). He tells me that the horse is a trier, but just not that able. He didn't sound especially confident, but then he was the same last time and the bloody thing won!)
At 2.00, Starluck is a worthy favourite on form in the book. In the same ownership as Grand National winner, Rough Quest (I was at Aintree in the Martell hospitality suite the day he won, and I'd backed him - fantastic memory!), he might well go in again.
But I'm going to side, each way again, with James Fanshawe's debutante, Long Distance. 'The Scholarly One', as I respectfully refer to James, is one of the savviest trainers around and he has only a few runners over barriers. His record here over the last five seasons is a preposterous 80% (albeit on only five runners, but four winners is a tidy return), and you can expect this one to know his task today.
To complete an unlikely each way patent, I'm away to Southwell, where there is quite a strong profile horse in the 2.50. Dado Mush is top weight, and has a 50% win rate from ten starts here. Kirsty Milczarek is not only a very able jockey, but she also gets on brilliantly with the Mush.
Kirsty was not up last time, when this one probably needed the run after a break (drifted from 16's out to 25's), and in the right class, off the right mark, he might run close.
So there you have it: a mediocre card, but three with live each way chances to get us to the 'Pay' window.
Good luck if you're playing today.