Peaks and troughs, dear reader, are the ebbs and flows of life. And for horse racing punters, it's no different. After three days of bruising combat, giving best each time to the bookmakers, a change of tack yesterday worked the oracle for me.
I decided to focus on a couple of key trainer stats in two of the later races, and my reward was to be well and truly bailed out. Sir Michael Stoute's record in the Wolferton Handicap was bettered only by Mark Johnston's in the Queen's Vase. I backed these handler's hopes and was handsomely compensated.
On the week I'm still showing a hefty enough loss, but it's much (much!) more acceptable than it was this time yesterday.
To today's final Royal Ascot day of the quintet. And here are the key stats and the Matt's fancies, for what they're worth.
2.30 Chesham Stakes: Remarkably, of the last ten winners, nine had had just the one start prior to lining up here. If you believe this to be material, you can eliminate no less than ten of the seventeen runners.
Matt's Fancy: Mark Johnston's Shakespearean won his sole start to date, and the trainer has had 3 winners and 3 placed from his eleven runners in the race in the past decade.
3.05: Hardwicke Stakes: 12 of the last 13 winners had already scored in a Group race. Four of this line up haven't, leaving us with five.
Matt's Fancy: Hardly the most inspiring choice, but they'll have to go some to beat Doctor Fremantle, and his trainer has a 50% placed horse record in the last ten years (two wins and five placed from 14 runners).
3.45 Golden Jubilee Stakes: Somewhat tenuously, perhaps, a 4yo has not won in the last five years, despite their numerical pre-eminence. Indeed, just two of the fifteen places have been filled by that age group. 3yo's, getting the big weight for age allowance, have a decent record over the same period, with one winner and three places from just a handful of runners.
Matt's Fancy: In a wide open, and truly fascinatingly international race, I'm going to side each way with Michael 'Ding Dong' Bell's Art Connoisseur. He was devastating here last year when winning the Coventry, and looks an out and out sprinter. His current odds of 33/1 were also those that fellow 3yo Kingsgate Native paid out when prevailing last season.
4.20 Wokingham Handicap: 12 of the last 13 winners were in the top four last time out, which scratches a whopping seventeen of the 28 runners at a single swoop.
Matt's Fancy: Drawn close to either rail seems to help, so I'm going to split my stake on Jimmy Styles and High Standing. They're both pretty short in the market, but they look certain to run good races.
4.55 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes: 9 out of the last ten winners had 1-3 runs this season prior to winning. We can lose eight of 19, leaving 11.
Matt's Fancy: I like the look of the progressive Hatton Flight. Again, not exactly a dark horse having won all three starts this term, but he's in great nick, comes from a top stable and ticks plenty of boxes.
5.30 Queen Alexandra Stakes: Definitely not a case of saving the best til last, this race over 2m6f is a case of saving the longest til last (it's the longest flat race in the British calendar, I believe). Horses aged 4, 5 or 6 have won each of the last 13 renewals.
Matt's Fancy: I sure hope I don't need a big odds horse to get me out of jail at this point! Amerigo is bred to stay eight miles in the mud, and he'll be the one for me. He's pretty exposed, and fairly ordinary. But then, so are most of the opposition, so he'll do.
Wishing you every fortune in surviving what looks another very tricky day.