The handicap chase over short of 3m at Worcester today goes off at 2.50, by which time we can expect the rain that has engulfed the UK to have got into the ground.
Playing a guessing game with the going at this track is essentially a lose-lose situation, but guess we must and if it's true that they are calling it 'drizzle' then I'm assuming ground on the soft side, but not soft.
The effect of watering all spring/summer at these venues makes it even trickier to work out how it will ride, some essentially good ground types will go on it, while those that want soft may find the wheels spinning.
That's enough of the assumptions relating to going; the opening race will hopefully give us some clues. It's a race in which each of the runners has questions to answer so let's take a look.
Super Scorpion; Well, the jury is no longer out regarding the Scorpion offspring (at least in these quarters) - they are definitely 'thinkers' shall we say. This one's career wasn't really going anywhere having been lightly raced but has proved a revelation with the hood on after a break. Up 20lb for two wins on the snaff, softer ground and stiffer opposition means he'll need to keep finding when the chips are down. A worthy in-form market leader, but opposable for win purposes.
Al Alfa; Goes on any, but simply looks in the grip of the handicapper and isn't improving. Likely to help force the pace.
Rebel Rebellion; Now 12 but has gone with loads of zest in hunters this spring without looking as good as he was. His mark reflects that though, and having won off 21lb higher two years ago he can play a part with the jockey riding well.
Fort Worth; One-paced and not easy to win with to say the least. Will need everything to fall right but his consistency means the handicapper has his number, although 10lb better off with SS for their run last time.
Wadswick Court; From the dangerous Bowen yard but he looks too high in the weights currently and more often than not blots his copybook with a major error or two. Likely to race prominently and could go well if everything falls right.
A Good Skin; On a downward spiral and I didn't think his effort over timber last time was up to much, off the bridle some way from home. Formerly a progressive sort, he hasn't won for a couple of years and his attitude is under suspicion. If they thought he was back to his old form they could have gone for the Summer Cup on Sunday off a low weight.
Tinker Time; 3/20 over fences but has struggled from higher marks this year, but is more than capable from this, his last winning perch. His last two runs have been disappointing, but he is 16lb better off with SS for a 20L beating last time. The introduction of cheekpieces are interesting and three of his four career wins have come with cut in the ground.
Tissue; 3 Super Scorpion, 5 Rebel Rebellion, 5 A Good Skin, 8 Al Alfa, 8 Tinker Time, 8 Wadswick Court, 9 Fort Worth. 101%.
Conclusion; This is tricky, and the market is more or less where I would expect it to be now at 12.30pm. Well done if you got double figures about Rebel Rebellion, who at 6/1 remains a fair proposition. Back-to-lay players will probably be on Super Scorpion and that is likely to mean he'll be solid at the top of the market. Backers of A Good Skin are taking a chance at current odds that the handicapper has been too lenient; he should be capable of going well from this mark but I'd prefer to look elsewhere. On a point of handicapping Tinker Time must go well, in the hope that the headgear revitalises him, and, unlike A Good Skin, we don't have to pay much to find out. On balance, I'll probably take he and Rebel Rebellion against the field. For layers, I'd be looking to take on Super Scorpion and A Good Skin once the flag falls.