First up, dear reader, and by way of closure on the matter, thank you thank you thank you for your overwhelming and most generous support of both this and the Nag3 blog. I knew we had a loyal following but I had no idea that so many of you would 'stand up and be counted' by leaving a remark.
And what sound sense you make as well. Some pointed to the right of aggrieved punters to speak (absolutely supported in this camp); many resonated with the personal accountability element; and all were positive in their overall view of the blogs. Your kindness is truly appreciated, and both Gavin and I will continue to do 'our bit' by giving away loads of stuff and nonsense on an ongoing basis. [In fact, there's something at Nag3 now - no email required as is usually the case. :o) ]
To today, and lots of racing with the return of evening action to support the usual afternoon meetings. They race at Kempton, Southwell and Folkestone this arvo, with later races at Towcester and Bath (and Limerick to boot!).
At Folkestone, the draw can be a little tricky, and I'll be keeping a close eye on the opening 2.00 race to see which way the race falls. It's likely that the side favoured here will set the tone for the rest of the meeting (at least in races up to a mile), so it could prove enlightening. As things stand, course and distance winner, Miltons Choice (trained by Milton himself, of the Bradley clan) has the toppermost draw after the defection of Bataleur. He won the race last year and, if the bias is to high, then he'll go well.
Should it be low that prevail, I'd row in with Who's Winning. He's got his ideal conditions here (6f, good ground, and has won off much higher ratings). Moreover, he's a three times course winner, twice at the trip. Brendan Powell suffered a mediocre season over the jumps (as TTS punters will know), but he's way better than that as a trainer and his horses are now coming into form again.
These two against the field should give us a decent run. A point of caution however: many of the jockeys are extremely inexperienced apprentices (and all are apprentices), so small stakes only.
[STOP PRESS: First three home drawn 2, 4 and 1: low have it.]
At Kempton in the 4.50, Count Paris - being a son of Pivotal - may well prove effective on the All Weather, but the one bold duck egg to date gives limited hope, despite Mark Johnston's string flying and the attractive booking of a certain cheeky Italian in the plate (no, not me!).
Silent Hero is a progressive beast, but his draw in stall 2 looks tough to overcome, and this is a lot tougher than the Southwell contest he picked up as a juvenile.
I'll overlook them this time, in favour of Seek The Fair Land, who won last time out at Wolverhampton by five lengths to demonstrate his wellbeing. It's true that this is a far stiffer challenge, but he has proven his wellbeing as a 3yo (i.e. that he's trained on) and, from trap 6, he can stalk the likely pace-setter, Bobbie Soxer, and hopefully quicken at the furlong pole. At around 8/1, he looks an each way value punt.
Over at Southwell, a horse for whom I have a soft spot runs on unfamiliar territory. Pagan Starprincess is a thoroughly genuine young lady, and will take a lot of passing in this two miler (3.40). It's no surprise that she's been well backed, and she's worth a wager this afternoon. The mitigation for my reservation about this being her first run on the all weather, is that she wins on soft ground when hurdling, and the deeper surface here ought to suit. The kickback of course remains an unknown.
Bath tonight is, as it often is for me, unfathomable. I was looking for a low drawn front runner to oppose over 6f for the FRP subscribers last night, but could not find one alas. There will be other days for us soon enough.
Best of luck whatever you're backing today.