Well, what a week we've just witnessed at Royal Ascot with the unforgettable performances of Frankel and Black Caviar's bookending a superb five days of action.
Throw in Frankie landing the Gold Cup and the Queen grabbing a winner on the Friday, then horse racing was rarely out of the news all week - and all for the right reasons for once.
Okay, so Black Caviar's dramatic win in Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes will be looked back on for 'that ride', and the fact she came so close to losing her unbeaten record, but we should all be thankful to her connections for bringing her over - and that she left with her record intact. Despite an injury scare after the race she does look likely to race again, so all-in-all this can only be good for racing and an excellent advert if future stars are contemplating the trip to the Royal Meeting in the coming years.
Onto this week and although you always get a rather flat feeling after such a great meeting there is still plenty to look forward to as we've got the John Smith's Northumberland Plate up at Newcastle on Saturday.
Being run over 2 miles it's one of the richest of the long distance flat races on the calendar and due to the extreme trip we can expect plenty of National Hunt yards to have a crack at the lucrative prize.
In the past 10 years we've seen the jumping stables of Philip Hobbs, Len Lungo, Tony Martin and most recently Donald McCain in 2010 nab the prize away from the flat handlers, and with the McCain team having their recent Chester Cup winner, Ile De Re, still entered at this stage then he's sure to be popular in the betting.
With a big field expected then it's always a tricky race to unravel, while with only six winning favourites since 1985 then it's also a contest the bookmakers have enjoyed.
That said, there are a few key trends and stats they do tend to keep popping up and if history is to repeat itself then at least we can try and narrow the likely big field down.
WEIGHT: 9 of the last 10 winners have carried 8-11 or less, while since 1985 we've only seen two horses carry 9-6 or more to victory.
FORM: 9 of the last 10 came into the race having finished fifth or better last time out, with 7 of those 10 actually managing a top three finish in their previous race.
AGE: 8 of the last 10 were aged 6 or younger, while no horse older than 8 years-old has taken the prize since 1985.
DRAW: 8 of the last 10 winners came from stall 14 or lower, Yes, that still leaves us with 14 horses, but being quite a significant trend and that there is likely to be a big field it will still help us knock a few out.
PRICE: I've already mentioned that we've only seen six winning market leaders since 1985, but if you add in that 80% of the last 10 winners returned a double-figure price and that the average winning SP in that same period is 17/1 then don't be too put off looking a bit further down the betting.
DISTANCE: Being over 2 miles it goes without saying having proven stamina on your side is a must-have, and with 7 of the last 10 winners having won on the flat over at last 1m6f this further backs this up.
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