I enjoyed a rare day out at the races at Ascot on Saturday – though I do intend to get a life and venture out far more often during the National Hunt season – but I cannot help feeling that you miss out on an awful lot by being at the track.
And that is a not suck-up to Racing UK, especially on a day in which the channel had four afternoon meetings to contend with.
But you can only be in one place at a time, and you do not tend to miss a trick, or an interview, when watching on the box.
Anyway, I better shut up and get on with trying to eke out some winners for us.
There are some interesting contenders on Monday’s Windsor card. Awesome Allan was smashed up in the betting when second at Nottingham last week, and must have winning prospects off the same mark in the 5f handicap at 3.40pm.
Harlequin Striker has good claims of following up his Nottingham win off a 5lb higher mark in the handicap over a mile at 3.10pm and is a fair price at 6-1 with Hills, as is East Coast Lady at the same price in the 4.40pm, but Tomahawk Kid is my one bet on the card, and only to small stakes at 14-1, in the 2.10pm.
There are negatives, maybe among them stall 16 of 16, and the combination of 1m2f and soft ground is a concern.
However, he does stay the trip well and handle testing ground, and the handicapper has given him a real chance by dropping him 7lb for his last three runs. And he was having his first outing for eight weeks when a fair fifth at Nottingham last time.
He is now just 1lb higher than when second to Toulson at the same track in May – the winner won next time and they pulled 4 1/2 lengths clear of Panko, who also obliged on his following outing – and that makes him dangerously well handicapped here. He could go well at a price for the Ian Williams stable that is having a great year and remains among the winners.
He is top price 16-1 with Betfair, Paddy Power and William Hill but Skybet are offering five places on the race – they sponsor it – so back him at 14-1 each-way with them. That is a very generous offer in this now 15-runner handicap.
Charlie Fellowes has enjoyed a decent season, and had a couple of winners last week, but this juvenile certainly has not added to the coffers in his last starts, the most recent over 1m2f here.
But he did not run too badly under a 6lb penalty in a novice last time and he has been dropped 2lb for his return to nursery company.
He is now only 5lb higher than when winning over this 1m6f trip in heavy ground at Nottingham, when he got up close home to win by a short-head with the third, Sixties Secret, five lengths away, and that makes him of definite interest here.
Although none of the next four home there have won since, that does not tell the full story. They all ran well in defeat in nursery company on their next start and we know the soft conditions at Pontefract will hold no fears for him.
If they decide to go forward with him from stall five, he could go very close, and he rates a bet at 8-1 with BetVictor and Betfred (the latter firm are offering four places on the race, by the way, if you fancy backing the horse each way).
I saw enough promise in Silvery Moon’s run on good ground at York last time to make him an each-way betting proposition off a 2lb lower mark on softer ground.
He did pretty well last time considering he was asked to make his effort from the rear on the wide outside, and hopefully he will be ridden much closer to the pace.
He has course form figures of 282234 and is now 2lb lower than when second to Fastar, a progressive horse over a mile on heavy ground at Haydock just three starts ago.
The soft ground will serve him well, and everything looks in place for him to return to form. If he does, he will go well off this mark, and 9-1 looks a fair punt.
Escalating is back down to a mark from which he can be competitive and 20-1 about him with BetVictor and Ladbrokes looks fair, but good old Gamesome gets my vote at 9-1 with William Hill.
He has to contend with stall 15 of 15 here and this hold-up performer will need luck in running, and not to get too detached.
If things drop his way though he has a decent chance. His strike-rate – 1 from 32 - will have purists appalled, and he does have a bit of a reputation for being a bit of a monkey.
But he has dropped 15lb in the weights this season and comes here in very fair form, having finished a close-up fifth at Newcastle last time.
He has course form figures of 234 and, while he has been a frequent non-runner because of soft ground, he was only beaten a length on heavy over course and distance here last month.
William Hill are top price at 9-1 but a few firms are offering an extra place on the race – despite the two non-runners - so back him each-way at 8-1 (four places) with either Skybet, Ladbrokes, Betfair, Paddy Power, or Coral or Betfred.
Tony Calvin's Monday tips: (Prices correct at 9.45am)
2.20 Pontefract: Hemingford at 8-1 with BetVictor and Bet 365
3.20 Pontefract: Silvery Moon at a generally available 9-1
5.20 Pontefract: Gamesome at a generally available 8-1 Betfair, Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Sky Bet
Select any odd to add a bet