Top beak to burst
While the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom can produce a decent winner, you have to go a long way back into history to find the last victor who went on to take the main event itself.
Peter Pan in 1939 was the last horse to win the Trial before going on to Derby glory and given the highest rated runner in the race is off a mark of 99, the mile-and-a-half event appears to be a Derby Trial in name only again.
That said, there are a clutch of unexposed runners in the field and Top Beak could be worth taking a chance on despite having to find a chunk of weight with top-rated Humphrey Bogart.
Top Beak has had just the one start to date when he was something of a rare first-time-out winner for Hughie Morrison at Windsor last October.
Triumphing over an extended mile, Top Beak ground out a head victory over Mountain Bell and while the verdict was hardly impressive, the fact the second, third, fourth and fifth have all won since certainly gives the form a pleasing lustre.
Ennaadd was one of those in behind and given he now boasts a rating of 106, Top Beak's win looks pretty good. The Lawman colt has some way to go to make up into a Classic contender, but the fact Morrison runs at all is worth noting.
Not every horse acts around the undulating Epsom track, so the fact Prendergast Hill is already a course winner counts as a massive positive in the Investec Corporate Banking Great Metropolitan Handicap.
The four-year-old won a 10-furlong event on the Downs last September on what was the last of his three 2015 outings for Ed de Giles.
He then returned to action over 11 furlongs at Kempton last month where just could not make up ground quickly enough in finishing fourth, suggesting a step up in trip might be a wise option. A couple of his siblings have been notable stayers so there is every hope 12 furlongs should suit.
Dark Red can follow up on his recent Chelmsford success in the Investec City And Suburban Stakes. Ed Dunlop's charge was securing a first career success that day as he had his first outing since last June, during which he had undergone a gelding operation. That change has clearly had a positive effect and he could be well treated off a mark of 81.
The Black Princess was due to tackle last week's Fred Darling until the meeting was switched to the all-weather, so she must be worth supporting in the Happy 90th Birthday HM Queen Fillies' Handicap at Lingfield.
A 25-1 shot for the 1000 Guineas, The Black Princess would clearly have to make significant strides from her Kempton maiden win last term to take a hand in the Classics.
However, John Gosden executed a similar plan with Jack Hobbs and while it would be dangerous to assume The Black Princess is of the same ilk, she looks a promising type.
Fine Example can strike for Kevin Ryan in the racinguk.com/anywhere 3 Devices 1 Price Handicap at Catterick after showing glimpses of ability last term.
The battle for the trainers' championship continues apace at Perth and Taunton, with both Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls likely to be on the mark.
Mullins has made little secret of the fact he will be chasing the pennies this week as he attempts to be the first Irish-based handler to take the handlers' prize since the great Vincent O'Brien 62 years ago.
To that end, Nambour is dropped back in class for the British Stallions Future Champions EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle after twice placing in Graded company of late.
CATTERICK: 1.50 Fumbo Jumbo, 2.20 Hit The Lights, 2.55 Next Edition, 3.30 Russian Royale, 4.00 Bonhomie, 4.35 Lavetta, 5.10 Fine Example, 5.40 Secret City.
EPSOM: 2.00 Roudee, 2.30 TOP BEAK (NAP), 3.05 Prendergast Hill, 3.40 Dark Red, 4.15 Silca Star, 4.50 Gold Faith.
FAIRYHOUSE: 4.55 Black Ace, 5.25 All The Chimneys, 5.55 Midnight Theatre, 6.25 Rocky Court, 6.55 Blue Bicycle, 7.25 Change The Rules, 7.55 Famous Day.
LINGFIELD: 4.45 The Black Princess, 5.15 Jersey Roy, 5.45 Cadland Lad, 6.15 Skeaping, 6.45 Silverheels, 7.15 Senses Of Dubai, 7.45 Engai.
PERTH: 2.10 Wicked Willy, 2.40 Song Saa, 3.15 Nambour, 3.50 Shantou Magic, 4.25 Frontier Vic, 5.00 Mossies Well, 5.30 Maestro Royal.
TAUNTON: 5.35 Lets Hope So, 6.05 Tommy Silver, 6.35 Cardinal Rose, 7.05 Unison, 7.35 Captain Flash, 8.05 Young Lou.
DOUBLE: Top Beak and Prendergast Hill.