Artaois, not surprisingly mooted a 2021 classic prospect after an unchallenged Chester success three weeks ago, rates a solid bet under Andrea Atzeni to defy a 6lbs penalty in division two of the class 4 Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of ‘good to soft’ Salisbury this afternoon; similar distance and ground achievement precludes suitability doubts and this Crisford-trained Kodiac colt definitely meets current median requirements.

On my time-handicap several once-raced juveniles from profile yards are obviously fancied and may well progress from experience but Artaois, ridden by David Probert, hit a cracking mark which, of course, could well be bettered; I’ll wager that’s the case and so further words to discuss rivals are not necessary for a confident selection.

Thirty-five minutes the rather ludicrously-named, twice-raced Wind Your Neck In will be a tough nut to crack in the Novice Stakes over a mile.

‘Neck’ is trained by much-rejuvenated David Evans who recently admitted he was on a deadly road to hell but managed, just in time, to kick heavy drinking, and smoking!

Whether or not by coincidence I’ll never know but this is by far Evans’ best-ever year; several tremendous gambles have been landed and it’s well known Dave is a fearless, calculated punter. Pre-race betting market moves will be fascinating to determine which way the ‘Wind’ is expected to blow!

Two all-weather polytrack fixtures have been scrutinised at Lingfield and Chelmsdford where tonight Beautiful Secret and Marco Ghiani will be a popular choice under floodlights for an eight-runner Fillies’ Novice Stakes over seven furlongs.

Beautiful Secret improved considerably for a ‘quiet’ debut when a close third to our winning nap Bouquet at Ascot four weeks ago under a positive ride from Hayley Turner; the TH mark is certainly good enough and a few pounds better than previous losing nap Victoria Grove.

The last named failed to last out a mile at Thirsk and wasn’t knocked about when all chance had gone, by Hayley!

Methinks ‘Daily Earner’ will be vexed to be missing out on the ‘Secret’ but it should be interesting to watch how the vastly-experienced 38-year-old tackles this challenge; knowing the politics would also be of interest.

Isn’t this racing world simply magnificent?

Selections, Salisbury, 2.22 Artaois; 2.57 Wind Your Neck In (e.w);Chelmsford, 4.55 Beautiful Secret. 

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019