This is always an exciting time of the year when potentially high-class two-year-olds are pitched in against each other and we get a feel for which of them will be contesting the Classics next season.
And the clash between some of the most exciting youngsters around in Newmarket's Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes is an appetising affair.
In Earthlight, Mums Tipple and SISKIN (3.00, Newmarket) you have three unbeaten colts, who could all still be anything, but it is the last-named of that trio that I will be keeping a close eye on from up at Ripon.
He has looked a very smart prospect to me so far and his trainer Ger Lyons and jockey Colin Keane are both top-class operators.
Of my own rides at Ripon, I've hopefully got a couple of decent chances. FOUR WHEEL DRIVE (3.05, Ripon) has been running really well all season and I suspect the ground was just a shade too quick for him last time.
He's won at Ripon before, so we know the track isn't a problem. Clearly he has gone up plenty in the weights, but he might not be done with yet and hopefully he can bag another win.
ARCHI'S AFFAIRE (4.10, Ripon) has top weight in the Michael Raby Memorial Handicap, but I think he's got a great chance. He's a very likeable little horse, with a good attitude, and the ground was just much too testing for him last time.
My first ride on the card is Clotherholme who makes his debut in the opening novice stakes and then later on the card hopefully RORY AND ME (5.20, Ripon) can run into a place for the Hammonds.
He's been eased another couple of pounds in the ratings for his last run and I expect him to produce a much better performance.
Gale Force Maya is one I mentioned here last week and we were hopeful of a big run from her at Newmarket on Thursday. She hit the front down the outside but a filly of Andrew Balding's suddenly appeared on the rail and caught us - I'd say she was probably very well-handicapped and hopefully we will still get our day with Gale Force Maya.
If we'd been drawn better, it would certainly have been a lot closer. She seems to have taken the race well again, so we'll have to see what else there is for her now.
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