Racing: It is Guineas weekend at Newmarket and the 2,000 Guineas takes pride of place tomorrow afternoon at 3.10, with all eyes on Camelot to land all the winter ante-post bets after storming to victory in the Racing Post at Doncaster last autumn.
Word has it that he has strengthened up into a cracking specimen over the winter, but also that connections are wary of him fully acting on the soft ground, such is his fluent action.
Bearing that last comment it may well pay to look for a bit of value elsewhere and the Aiden O’Brien-trained Power could well fit the bill.
This athletic individual did all that was asked of him as a juvenile and O’Brien has a good record with back-up horses in classics down through the years.
Power has reportedly filled out well through the off season and Ryan Moore takes the mount.
Of the remainder, French raiders Hermival (well-backed last week) and Abtaal have more improvement to come and should reverse recent form with the third musketeer French Fifteen.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Red Duke outrun his huge odds, while we have yet to see the very best of Doncaster third Fencing, who is reportedly working very well at home.
The Palace House Stakes at 3.45 will see 18 sprinters thundering up the last 5f of the Rowley Mile and Jonny Mudball can bridge the gap between high-class handicapper and Group Three level.
The lightly raced six-year-old got up in the final strides to deny Foxy Music at Nottingham.
The latter had the run of the race that day and I expect that form to be confirmed.
A bigger danger to the selection could come from Hamish McGonagall, while Night Carnation remains of interest despite a moderate returning effort.
The Jockey Club Stakes at 2.30 sees the return of Masked Marvel, but he may well find the concession of 5lbs to Meandre too much.
The French raider ran a cracker in the Arc behind Danedream and has always promised to make a better four-year-old and this looks a fair starting point before bigger challenges ahead.
The Thirsk Hunt Cup at 4.30 looks as competitive a renewal as we have seen for many a year with Dubai Dynamo nicely in and old boy Osteopathic Remedy along with Kiwi Bay set to make their marks.
But they may all have to pay a co-starring role behind the Godolphin-trained Farhh.
The four-year-old has only made two racecourse appearances but was successful on both occasions and he will need to win this off a mark of 100 if his entry in the Queen Anne is even to be contemplated.
The 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday looks an open affair, but it is hard to get past the claims of Maybe for the O’Brien camp. She gets a confident nod over Diala (good work reports) and outsider Sunday Times.