Top commentator Simon Holt is backing Washington DC to deliver the goods in the Temple Stakes at Haydock - he's got three Saturday selections.
Recommended bets: Simon Holt
Saturday's Group Two Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock is one of those sprints that could turn on a slow start, a bad step or a horse being caught, even briefly, on heels but, all things being equal, WASHINGTON DC looks the form horse.
Aidan O'Brien's colt is offered with the slight reservation that he has not been a prolific winner, but a reproduction of his reappearance second behind Marsha in the Palace House Stakes on 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket may prove good enough.
In that contest, Washington DC was the only horse to seriously challenge the progressive winner inside the final furlong and it is difficult to reason why Goldream (third), Kachy (fourth), Priceless (fifth), Alpha Delphini (eighth) or Thesme (14th) will turn the tables.
Ninth-placed Cotai Glory could improve, however, as he stumbled at the start that day, though is held by the selection on their running behind Marsha in last season's prestigious Prix de l'Abbaye, in which Washington DC ran another blinder, finishing just in front of the smart Mecca's Angel in third with Cotai Glory 1oth, Goldream 14th and Take Cover 15th.
The last-named will guarantee a strong pace here, and beat Cotai Glory over the course and distance last season (Encore D'Or well behind).
Meanwhile, Quiet Reflection was a revelation last season winning twice on this course over six furlongs (including in the Haydock Sprint Cup) as well as the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
However, Karl Burke's filly was kept to the longer distance throughout the campaign and, unless there is enough rain to ease the ground (thunderstorms are forecast), she may not be risked over five. Moreover, she has to carry a 5lb penalty and, until recently, was reported not to have been sparkling at home.
Last year's third Waady, beaten just over two lengths by Profitable and Mecca's Angel (Kachy sixth), would have stronger claims but for a somewhat under-whelming reappearance here over six furlongs a fortnight ago, though he is probably best at this minimum trip.
At York, WALL OF FIRE is fancied to record a second course and distance success in the listed Weddingmates.co.uk Grand Cup Stakes having landed the Melrose at the Ebor meeting last August before beating the reopposing Seamour (lacks a recent run) in the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster.
Hugo Palmer's talented, if maybe a little quirky, four-year-old had one run in Dubai in March and has twice performed well since, going under by a nose to Elidor at Nottingham and then finishing close up in fourth behind Western Hymn in the Group Three Ormonde Stakes at Chester on a course that might not have been ideal.
Those victories here and at Doncaster suggest Wall Of Fire is well suited by a galloping course with a long home straight and he is eased slightly in grade now under Paul Mulrennan who takes the mount for the first time.
Meanwhile, down at Goodwood, a chance is taken on TOWN CHARTER, one of three runners for trainer Mark Johnston, in the Winners Are Welcome At Matchbook Handicap.
While a long way from his Middleham base, Johnston has become associated with success at the West Sussex course and while stable companions Aardwolf, up 4lb for a narrow win at Doncaster, and the consistent Sutter County have claims, the lightly-raced selection could be well handicapped with young Richard Oliver (two winning rides for the trainer) taking off 5lb.
Town Charter, an easy winner at Ayr on his second start as a two-year-old, was then no match for Mubtasim at Haydock (6f) in August but the winner, and third-placed Private Matter, are now both rated over 100.
Off 89 here (less the rider's claim), the son of Lonhro should be suited by the step up in trip and can run above his double-figure odds.
Posted at 1000 BST on 26/05/17.