Having been in pretty good form so far this week, I've had a good look both at Ascot and Newmarket's Friday card, which I'll be covering for Racing TV in the studio.
At this stage, I've only the one fancy for Newmarket, but if you're able to watch the channel at all on Friday, I'll hopefully have another suggested play or two for you to consider.Last chance to get your free month trial of Racing TV! Every race live from over 80 meetings from some of the best British and Irish racecourses. Click here for more details.
I am very mindful of the fact that low numbers have had very little, if any chance on the straight course this week and am still smarting over Maydanny who won his race on the far side on Wednesday but finished back in seventh overall, just smarting a decent each-way bet with six places.
However, I have seen things turn around quickly over the years regarding track bias and at least with a draw in stall one I accept that I am committed, as there is no possibility of him coming across over this five-furlong trip.
Close examination of his defeats as a two-year-old suggests his form was better than it was rated and he looked a really fast horse when dropped to the minimum for his reappearance where he bolted up at Kempton.
Never Dark has never run on turf and certainly not on soft ground but his half-brothers Midnight Dance and Dark Shot both broke their maidens on soft ground, so he should have it in him to go well on this surface.
If the draw is impossible he cannot win and an each-way bet will in all likelihood mean we lose twice as much, so I am going in win only on this occasion.
This horse's close second at Haydock to Lord North looks like a seriously good run after that horse followed up in the Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday and certainly looks better form than any of the runners from Newmarket’s Coronation Cup showed.
His two runs at York last summer, a win and an excellent third in the Juddmonte International, look the best form in this field and all he needs to do is reproduce that form over today’s 12 furlongs to win this.
Given that he is out of Attraction, stamina is obviously a potential issue but his recent finishing efforts have suggested the trip is worth a try.
This horse, although consistent, is possibly still a bit of an under-achiever in my eyes, but Ascot and soft ground give him the best opportunity to land a really big prize and at the odds he is worth chancing.
He won over course and distance at the Shergar Cup meeting and then showed he acts on very soft ground with a win at Leicester. Around these two wins he also mixed it in big-field handicaps at Haydock and York performing with great credit at the former before running well despite losing a shoe and getting struck into at York.
He ran as though needing the run on his reappearance and although he won't be a sexy runner here I feel under these conditions he looks a solid each-way option.
From four runs inside a month across last August and September, he won two of them and was only just beaten in the other two. He charged up the handicap as a result of those performances, all of which came on very soft ground, and in hindsight it was no surpise that he bombed out on his final start after such a busy time.
Hopefully he will come back fit and well and he is one of very few who look suited by today’s conditions in this field of mainly exposed sprinters. The Rowley Mile can suit frontrunners like him.
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