Tony Calvin: Water and Ice the way to profit on a hot Saturday at Haydock

Tony has two antepost selections ahead of Saturday's racing at Haydock
Tony has two antepost selections ahead of Saturday's racing at Haydock

The Eclipse is the big race on Saturday but, with just five runners declared and an odds-on favourite, our value seeker Tony Calvin has instead chosen to play in two of the weekend's other antepost races and, with temperatures set to soar, our man in reaching for some ice and water at Haydock...


"I think he still has races in him off the same mark, and a switch to front-running tactics on a track that he won on last season - he has form figures of 313 here - will see him go well. He could be better going left-handed, too."

Back Watersmeet @ 11.010/1 or better - Old Newton Cup, Saturday

The Betfair Sportsbook has priced up the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday, and Queen Of Ice is worth backing each way at 8-1.

She is also currently 9.08/1 on the exchange.

I got stuck into her first time up at Haydock and to say she ran disappointingly is something of an understatement, given that she finished last of 10 after dropping away tamely from 1f out.

But I think the ground could have been riding a bit worse than the official good to soft there - even though it was changed to good after the first - and, in any event, Queen Of Ice is much better on faster ground, which she is highly likely to encounter on Saturday.

She will also need to settle better than she did that day, too, but perhaps she was just too keen and fresh first time up, and I have to give her another chance at the price, especially as she looks set to get her own way out in front again.

The only other possible pace in the race appears to be Momentus, but she is dropped in more often than not, anyway.

So if Queen Of Ice can return to her front-running, winning form at the end of last season, when beating two of her fellow entries in here, than she has very solid claims.

She beat stablemate Arabian Comet a nose at York, and then improved again to beat Jordan's Princess ¾ length at Newmarket in September. She appears an intended runner at this point, but there is always the risk of a no-show in ante-post races, and I certainly wouldn't want to see any rain at the track this week, or any notable watering.

My Northumberland Plate selections, Gabrials King and Gabrials Star, ran below expectations at Newcastle on Saturday and it is interesting to see them both entered up in the Old Newton Cup over a 4f shorter trip.

I imagine their trainer will make a decision about their participation later on in the week, and I have certainly not given up on Gabrials King just yet - he travelled like a dream for most of the race at Newcastle, though how he traded as low as 2.568/5 is a bit of a mystery - and a strongly-run race over this lesser trip could just suit.

But I will wait and see what Thursday's entry stage brings on that front before deciding to row in with him again, though I admit he doesn't finish off his races as strongly as you would like.

I think Watersmeet is worth chancing at 11.010/1 or better at this stage, though.

He went into Royal Ascot as a fast-progressing handicapper and ran a stormer to finish fifth to Arab Dawn, looking as if he was coming to win his race approaching the final furlong, when he traded at 2.26/5 in running.

I think he still has races in him off the same mark, and a switch to front-running tactics on a track that he won on last season - he has form figures of 313 here - will see him go well. He could be better going left-handed, too.

For a race of the stature and worth of the Coral-Eclipse to attract only five entries on Monday was little short of pitiful - the sixth-placed horse picked up over £6k last season, and the sponsors deserve better - and I don't expect 1.384/11 chance Golden Horn to lose his unbeaten tag on Saturday.

Yes, second favourite The Grey Gatsby is a worthy opponent, as a dual Group 1 winner who was an unlucky loser when just touched off by Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales's at Royal Ascot last time.

And it could be that Epsom took more out of Golden Horn than connections believe. After all, this race has seen short-priced Epsom winners chinned before, with Motivator (2-5) and Authorized (4-7) beaten in recent years.

But the form of the Derby looks so strong that you suspect that potential layers of the favourite are clutching at straws somewhat. And, even if this race is tactical and slowly-run, then I think Golden Horn has the gears to overcome any eventuality.


Recommended Bets

Back Queen Of Ice each-way @ 8-1 - Lancashire Oaks, Saturday (Sportsbook)
Back Watersmeet @ 11.010/1 or better - Old Newton Cup, Saturday


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