David Clough previews Wednesday's racing in the UK and Ireland as Royal Ascot trials day and Punchestown share the spotlight.
NAP: Baba Ghanouj - 2.50 Ascot
Next Best: Walk Away - 5.30 Punchestown
The inaugural Royal Ascot Trials Day provides rich rewards for some and mid-summer reconnaissance for others - and Baba Ghanouj may be about to bag a bit of both.
Ed Walker's filly can treble her career earnings if she prevails on her return to the turf.
She has feasible prospects too, at a decent price in the Naas Racecourse Royal Ascot Trials Day British EBF Fillies' Conditions Stakes, on the basis of two highly-promising efforts to date.
She returns against a field which is typically unexposed, a description which applies to her as much as any.
Her six-and-a-quarter-length fourth on debut in a Newmarket maiden last September reads significantly better since the winning favourite Qabala surged to the head of the 1000 Guineas market by taking her tally to two from two in the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes this month.
Baba Ghanouj was then a comfortable winner of a Wolverhampton novice in November.
Much more will be needed here, of course, against seven fellow previous winners, but the potential to progress significantly is evident.
The same stands in triplicate for long-distance traveller Lady Pauline in the opening Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Royal Ascot Two-Year-Old Trial Conditions Stakes.
American trainer Wesley Ward has plenty of previous, of course, when it comes to unleashing speed machines at the Royal meeting - and Lady Pauline is front and centre in his 2019 team.
Footage of her impressive all-the-way annihilation of a maiden field at Keeneland this month will be enough to persuade the majority that short odds will be justified.
Calyx demonstrated his precocious ability with a memorable victory in the Coventry Stakes last June, and returns belatedly over course and distance in preference to moving up in trip for the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
Connections were clearly tempted by a shot at Newmarket's first Classic of the year, but decided it was perhaps an unfair question to ask after a 10-month absence.
Calyx may be a little rusty, and perhaps will appreciate further in time, but should still have the answers in the Merriebelle Stable Commonwealth Cup Trial Stakes.
Before he struts his stuff again, the stayers are in Group Three action too in the Longines Sagaro Stakes.
Danehill Kodiac moves up to two miles for the first time, as does the same stable's first string Raymond Tusk, on his return from almost a year on the sidelines after a truncated campaign last summer. But he has already won at this level round here, and may be able to defy his absence.
Day two of the Punchestown Festival stages the highlight of the stellar meeting as stablemates Al Boum Photo and Kemboy put their respective championship credentials on the line.
The Coral Punchestown Gold Cup features six other worthy contenders too, including a third from Willie Mullins' stable in last year's winner Bellshill.
It will nonetheless be a surprise if one of either the Cheltenham Gold Cup hero or Betway Bowl Chase victor does not prevail.
Choosing which is devilishly difficult, however - at a distance and track and on going which appears to present a level playing field for two outstanding chasers at the top of their game.
Between them, they have lost only three times over fences when achieving a clear round and have become largely unbeatable when avoiding mishap.
Marginally the likeliest scenario is that Al Boum Photo keeps tabs on Kemboy and then pounces at the last to win by a whisker to edge the pride of Closutton.
There is a little value to be had half-an-hour earlier when Walk Away also bids for Grade One spoils in the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle.
Henry de Bromhead's second string will trail stablemate Minella Indo, and others, in the market - as he does in the ratings.
But it could be a different tale on the track.
Cheltenham winner Minella Indo does not yet set an insurmountable standard - and the lightly-raced Walk Away is already a prime contender for novice-chase stardom next season on the back of his victories in a point-to-point and maiden hurdle and then a creditable shot at an Aintree Grade One.
He may just be able to complete his education over hurdles with a sneaky top-level success before embarking on his true vocation in the autumn.
Sporting Life Tips
ASCOT: 2.15 Lady Pauline, 2.50 BABA GHANOUJ (NAP), 3.25 Danehill Kodiac, 3.55 Calyx, 4.25 Canvassed, 5.00 Burford Brown, 5.35 Candelisa.
BATH: 4.50 Whataguy, 5.25 Royal Ambition, 6.00 Bequest, 6.30 Freckles, 7.00 Bayshore Freeway, 7.35 Singing The Blues, 8.10 Aegeus.
BRIGHTON: 4.35 Pink Flamingo, 5.10 Paper Star, 5.45 Sigrid Nansen, 6.15 Sashenka, 6.50 Scale Force, 7.25 Harlequin Rose, 7.55 Red Snapper.
PONTEFRACT: 2.25 Il Maestro, 3.00 Desert Icon, 3.35 Ideal Candy, 4.10 Kripke, 4.45 Socialites Red, 5.15 Fume, 5.50 Musharrif.
PUNCHESTOWN: 3.40 Big Nick, 4.20 Voix Des Tiep, 4.55 Vision D'honneur, 5.30 Walk Away, 6.05 Al Boum Photo, 6.40 House Island, 7.10 O O Seven, 7.45 Gypsy Island.
SOUTHWELL: 12.00 Poppy Jag, 12.30 Global Melody, 1.00 Bond Angel, 1.30 Kavora, 2.00 Fiction Writer, 2.35 Gunnabedun, 3.10 Constraint.
DOUBLE: Baba Ghanouj and Walk Away.