It's been a couple of weeks since I've taken an in depth look at the racing and, whilst today's cards don't especially lend themselves to trends profiling, I thought I'd waltz through the Brighton meeting in search of some punting prospects into which we can sink our teeth.
In a fair sized post, I've also got news of a race at Beverley with a familiar sponsor, my trip last week and what's coming up this week.
So first let's head on the metaphorical rattler to the seaside, and cast a glance over the Brighton races.
They start at 2.10 with a five furlong sprint handicap, for moderate horses (0-55). Plenty who like to race prominently here, but very little true front running speed. In fact, just Ishipink and What Katy Did are likely to try to contest the speed here.
Whilst the former will probably be over-priced (ran well enough to win a race like this four starts ago, and been tinkered with since), What Katy Did ought to run well if not troubled by Ishipink in the early stages. She led for most of the way over six furlongs last time and, with the drop back in trip here, she might just stay away.
Certainly her best winning turf form - off a mark of 60 (albeit two years ago) - gives her every chance here off just 46.Best One won this last year, and the race should be run to suit, but he's not in the same form now. Do More Business has been beaten enough times here to make him a very risky proposition, despite his flattering form figures.
It's a moderate race at best, and with doubts about all of the runners, What Katy Did looks to have a more straightforward chance than most at 7/1 (Betfred).
Moving on to the 2.40, a six furlong sprint, the most notable things are a) six of the eight are course and distance winners and a seventh has won over the course and at the distance, though not together, and b) good old The Tatling is running at the venerable age of 14.
Let's start with The Tatling, whose three career runs here have yielded two wins and a second place. Obviously, he's old and slower than he was, but he's a last time out winner with lots of track pedigree. He's a hold up horse in a race with some pace, so they ought to come back to him. Whether he can actually 'quicken' past them with his zimmer frame is questionable, but the 5/1 looks fair each way value.
Mandhooma has been in the first two in nine of his sixteen starts here at Brighton, including when second last time out over a furlong further, and when winning this last year. He'll be held up and, although he's snuck up the handicap to 65 (never won above 62), he might be in the form of his life.
Elsie's Orphan is far less exposed than most, with just four turf starts. That quartet of grass runs includes a win and a second place, the win being convincing and being here last time out. She's up six pounds in the handicap and may improve to account for that hike.
Bermondsey Bob is another last time out winner, who has previously won here over course and distance. As a runner with a bit more early toe than many, he might get the run of things on the front, but more likely is that he'll set it up for a closing type: all of the above mentioned horses will be suited by that.
He's another who has to defy a six pound rise and, whilst conditions are optimal today, I'm not sure he has the requisite scope to improve in a competitive race.
Peter Island is a dual course and distance winner who is plummeting down the handicap. Alas, there's always a reason for handicap plummeters and it's this: they're not showing anything on the track! Peter Island was last in two higher class starts here before an improved third place finish last time. That was on the all weather though, and off a much lower mark.
This easier grade will be in his benefit but I'm looking for a horse which has beaten more than two rivals in his prior four starts, including over course, distance, going and grade two runs back. Not for me.
Of the rest, Comadoir was third in this last year, when entering the race in similarly poor form. He might try to lead again here, and I doubt he'll get home; Highland Harvest looks past his best, and is beaten further each time he runs here in recent starts; and, Stonecrabstomorrow is a five furlong horse who gives the impression he wants further but, these days, does not.
So, a bold bid expected from Bermondsey Bob, but in the later stages, I'm expecting Mandhooma and Elsie's Orphan to fight it out. The 4/1 on Mandhooma looks fair enough.
The 3.10 is a maiden and some respite from the deeper, more competitive races is welcome. Richard Hannon's Dixie's Dream is a shade of odds on after two promising fourth placed runs, both over six furlongs and both as a fancied horse. He was beaten far enough last time out though in a moderate time, so I'd be happy enough to oppose him here if I can find one.
Flying Kitty ran an eye-catching race when beaten around five lengths on debut under similar conditions to today's, and she was outpaced when dropped in trip on all weather last time (possibly not suited by the surface too). She's definitely worth another chance under conditions which should be fine.
Lucifers Shadow didn't show an awful lot last time over five at Warwick, but that was a better race than this, and he might improve a little.
Eve Johnson Houghton's juvenile debutantes don't usually show enough to win, but that didn't stop Zingana doing the biz at 100/1 (!) last week... on balance though, I'm prepared to accept that Uncle Roger will improve and leave him today.
That leaves Gary Moore's Two Bridges. Lots of Gary's show more second time out, but not many win and, again, I'll pass this chap up.
Whilst the favourite has an obvious 'shade of odds on' chance, the value play may well be John Bridger's Flying Kitty, for whom a repeat of her debut run would see her go close. Flying Kitty is 13/2 with SkyBet as I write.
The 3.40 is a big field low grade seven furlong handicap, and looks very tricky. Both of My Flame's turf wins have come over course and distance on good to firm ground, and he was rated 52 and 54 when achieving them. Today, on good to firm, he is rated 53. A break doesn't seem to inconvenience him (won on debut this season) so two months off should be fine.
One who looks on the short side to me is Ian Williams' Tourist. Whislt the stable is highly respected, the horse has little to no turf form and was out of sorts on his favoured all weather surface recently too.
St Ignacius looks a far brighter prospect this afternoon, with recent course form and a mark from which winning is entirely feasible. 4/1 is hardly banker material but he is more likely to run his race than many and should be in the shake up come the jam stick.
Olney Lass is a fifteen run maiden, who has been running on all weather and is opposable on first glance. But if you look further back to her turf form she has a squeak. Granted, it's not a squeak that I'll be backing, but I can see why some would.
The rest don't really appeal and, in a very trappy affair, I'm siding each way with 14/1 shot, My Flame.
The fact that Dancing Welcome (0 from 18 on turf) is the 7/2 favourite tells you all you need to know about the 4.10. It's a race for braver / hardier / more foolish souls than me.
The 4.40 has an ever bigger field of handicappers racing over a mile. The top one, Fire King, won easily enough last week, cruising into the race before running away from them. Three of his last four runs would give him every chance, and a six pound mandatory rise for that last win may not be enough to stop him going in again. 5/1 is perfectly fair.
At the other end of the handicap, Salvationist has had plenty of chances and only managed to win in a selling handicap. He'll probably take plenty of support in the market, but wouldn't be for me. At a bigger price, Ocean Countess has four course wins at around this mark and, big IF, if she comes back to form would dance away from most of these.
Safest option though is the improving last time out course and distance winner, Fire King, at 5/1.
The seventh of eight races, at 5.10, is a mile and a quarter basement handicap. The top one, Royal Defence, came back to form when winning under the same conditions here two weeks ago. Up six pounds, you'll be relying on him being able to run two races the same back to back. Saying that, he's relatively unexposed, having run just sixteen times on turf, and won off as high a mark as 80 back in 2009.
Special Endeavour would have been the only one able to go with Royal Defence on the best of their form, but he's looking regressive. Strangely, he's fourth market choice here which might suggest that better is expected today. It's too much of a leap of faith for me, but wouldn't be the biggest surprise if he reverted to his best this afternoon.
In a race where stakes should be kept small, Royal Defence is the obvious play.
The 'get out stakes' at 5.40, is a mile and a half apprentice handicap. Looking only at the jockeys who can ride narrows this down to Command Marshal, Galiotto, Olimamu, Astroleo, Barbirolli and Tecktal.
Tecktal has been running well in hurdle races, which gives her a chance in this context; Astroleo was a course and distance winner for today's pilot not long since and that's an obvious plus here; Command Marshal has the best jockey in the race and won on his penultimate start; Galiotto won three back under Ryan Moore, but Harry Bentley is no Ryan Moore; and, Olimamu needs to improve markedly.
Astroleo looks sure to run well, but his price reflects that. Consequently, I'll hunt for some value with Command Marshal and Tecktal each way. Both are around the 10 or 11/1 mark and have strong riders and lots of stamina.
One other race of note today is the 3.00 at Beverley, sponsored by my mate and Mr Irish Big Race Trends, Tony Mac. It's the Finding Winners At irishbigracetrends.com Handicap, run over a mile and half a furlong.
Eight go to post including extreme Beverley specialist, Shadowtime. He's a five time winner here, four of them at today's trip, and one of them last time out. He's still a pound lower than his highest winning rating of 77, and - obviously - conditions will suit.
Against him is the nap hand seeking I Confess, whose four wins on the bounce have demonstrated his versatility (three all weather wins and a trip to Guernsey for a turf triumph at L'Ancresse). That was his first turf win in thirty tries and I find it hard to see him winning here.
A better alternative might be Toto Skyllachy, a winner two runs back, and in the right grade. But they'll all have to go to beat Shadowtime.
Have a great day, Tony. Sorry I can't be there with you.
The main reason I can't be there with Tony today is because I'm catching up on the work I didn't do while I was away in Bilbao. To summarise my time, I'll use a few words: beer, music festival, Coldplay, Blondie, camping, beer, Kasabian, beer, Kaiser Chiefs, rain, Beady Eye (Liam next to us at airport on way in), Crystal Castles, beer, Guggenheim Museum, beer, Suede, rain, Noisettes, camping, The Black Crowes (front man next to use at airport on way out), Chemical Brothers, beer, rain, flight delays, missed train, expensive taxi, late night, zzzzzzzzz.
Great fun, but need a holiday now!
Coming up this week: Well I Declare tomorrow, as well as a preview of the Open Golf tournament; Trainers in Form on Thursday; weekend racing preview on Friday. Also, do check out the 'news' feature where more daily content will be added from today.
Have a great day, and let's hope for some winners at the seaside this afternoon.