North Yorkshire trainer David Barron swerves his local Catterick meeting this afternoon and heads instead to Nottingham with his high-class sprinter Pearl Secret, who makes a welcome return to action.
The classy five-year-old was confined to only one outing last season before being struck with an injury which kept him sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.
Barron has always had a very high opinion of Pearl Secret, who proved himself an ultra-smart speedster in his first two seasons.
This is a big year for Pearl Secret to return to the glory days and the totepool Lola Faulkner Conditions Stakes over five furlongs looks a good opportunity for him to start 2014 in style. Jamie Spencer has the mount on the nap selection.
In the Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes, a Listed contest, High Jinx looks the one to be on. The mount of Ryan Moore, James Fanshawe's charge showed useful form in high-class staying events in the last couple of seasons.
This looks a nice race for him to make his reappearance before he graduates to bigger contests further down the line.
David O'Meara, whose Repeater promises to give High Jinx plenty to think about, can win the totetrifecta Available On All Races Handicap with Robert The Painter.
Danny Tudhope's mount ran a blinder to finish third in the Lincoln at Doncaster and might not have to improve on that performance to clinch this race.
Also worth noting on the Nottingham card are the promising Fast Delivery (2-10) and Hayley Turner's mount Secret Pursuit (5-10), an all-weather winner last time out.
At Catterick, Richard Fahey and David Nolan, who teamed-up to land Doncaster's Spring Mile with Brae Hill, have good prospects with Gabrial's Star in the 2014 Catterick Twelve Furlong Series Handicap.
Like Brae Hill, Gabrial's Star is owned by Dr Marwan Koukash, He is fit from two all-weather outings and may appreciate this return to turf, having shown some smart grass form in the past for his previous trainers. He should go well.
Mark Johnston can start Catterick punters off on the right note by winning the opening Welcome To Catterick's Flat Season 2014 Handicap with Late Shipment, one of his two runners in this mile and a half contest.
The three-year-old was a fluent ten lengths winner at LIngfield last week and, provided that level of form can be reproduced on turf, Late Shipment should be hard to beat.
Alexandrakollontai is not to be overlooked in the catterickbridge.co.uk Handicap over seven furlongs.
Trained in Scotland by Alistair Whillans, the four-year-old was quite progressive last season and it is significant that Julie Burke, who established a good rapport with him, has been booked for the ride again today.
Lady Montenegro (2.50), a winner last season for Ann Duffield, and the speedy I'll Be Good (5.20) are two others to consider on Catterick's seven-race programme.
2.20 Late Shipment, 2.50 Lady Montenegro, 3.20 Waltz Darling, 3.50 Cape Of Hope, 4.20 Alexandrakollontai, 4.50 Gabrial's Star, 5.20 I'll Be Good.
2.10 Fast Delivery, 2.40 Roseburg, 3.10 Scarborough, 3.40 Pearl Secret (NAP), 4.10 High Jinx, 4.40 Robert The Painter, 5.10 Secret Pursuit, 5.40 Sahara Desert.
Today's other meetings
Kempton and Lingfield.
Kempton, Ludlow, Taunton and Towcester.