Tony Calvin: Cricklewood Green looks good for Epsom's Investec Mile

Cricklewood Green runs at Epsom on Friday
Cricklewood Green runs at Epsom on Friday

Tony Calvin is back with his antepost column and today is looking ahead to the Investec Mile at Epsom...

"Indeed, as a dual winner at Brighton, it appears that he is in his element on a tricky, tight, turning left-handed track, and his Ascot win in an 18-runner handicap in October 2015 underlines that he is fully effective in big fields, too."

As I am sure most of you reading this will probably be aware, I am something of a negative, glass half-empty kind of bloke - unless I am sitting in an airport lounge with one that is very full of gin and tonic, in which case you couldn't meet a happier bunny - but I was genuinely excited when I was researching Epsom's Investec Mile handicap on Friday.

Because I honestly can't remember the last time a 33/1 chance had so much going for it. Or at least I think it has, anyway.

You decide.

The horse in question is Cricklewood Green and the only negative that I can see to his chances - apart from 19 potential rivals, obviously - is the fact that he will be running (and hopefully he is an intended starter, I don't know) from 4lb out of the handicap if top weight Remarkable stands his ground. The weights go up 7lb if he doesn't.

Of course, Remarkable running would be a big blow, but apart from that I am struggling not to be very enthused by his chances at the price, for all he is more exposed than most of these as a 6yo.

And even if he does have to run from out of the handicap at 8st 2lb, then hopefully 5lb claimer Mitch Godwin, on board recently and for the horse's last two wins, will be riding to soften that blow a bit.

So here is the case for the defence for the above selection.

He normally hampers his chances with a slow start so it was pleasing to see him alert and jump well, on his first start since January, from the unfavoured outside draw (he was widest in 12) at Sandown last Thursday.

And, despite finishing an eight-length ninth of 12 there and running off the same mark here, I thought there was a fair bit of promise in his effort from off the pace there.

To be honest, I think that was simply a pipe-opener for this race, and it was a damn sight better than his other two seasonal reappearances for his current trainer, in which he finished 13th of 14 and 16th of 17.

He was beaten 34 lengths on the latter occasion at Ascot last April but he improved massively on that run next time when fourth at Lingfield, and I believe we can expect him to come on a bundle for the Sandown on past evidence.

And the fact that he is set to be out just eight days later here is a big positive, not a negative.

Since joining Sylvester Kirk some of his best efforts have come when backing up quickly. Indeed, make that his two best recent efforts.

His second at Newbury last October (to an in-form, improver, at the time, in My Dad Syd) came after a run just 48 hours previously and he was runner-up at Chelmsford in December (to Holiday Magic, a horse in the middle leg of his hat-trick run) just five days after a modest effort at Kempton.

Those Newbury and Chelmsford runs make him a well-handicapped horse off 82 here.

So what more do you want? Luckily, I have plenty more convincing ammo if you require it.

Further good news is that he has been placed in both of his starts at this track, over 7f on good ground, and this mile trip probably suits him better. And after Sunday night's rain, dry conditions are expected from Tuesday onwards and that will suit him just fine. He is a fast-ground winner, as well as having plenty of decent, and winning form, on good to soft.

Indeed, as a dual winner at Brighton, it appears that he is in his element on a tricky, tight, turning left-handed track, and his Ascot win in an 18-runner handicap in October 2015 underlines that he is fully effective in big fields, too, albeit he is a hold-up horse who needs luck in-running.

Are you greedy and you still want more?

Well, I can't point to the trainer having a great record in this race - I believe Norse Blues, fifth of 17 in 2012, was his only runner in this race in the last 10 years, so that actually isn't that bad - but Kirk does have a bet-inducing record at this track when it comes to recommending a win, or an each-way poke, at these kind of odds.

Kirk has had two thirds (at 16/1 and 5/1) and a fourth of 14 (at 25/1) from three runners in double-digit handicaps at Epsom this season.

He has had four winners from 30 runners here in the last five years, including Gawdawpalin's runaway 25/1 victory in the 1m2f handicap at this meeting last season. And 16 of those 30 runners have been in the first three, with 23 having come in the first four.

Indeed, another of those four winners, Charles Camoin, also came at this very meeting and was part-owned by Chris Wright, whose colours Cricklewood Green runs in. Let's hope Wright has another winner here this week.

Right, that's me done on the persuasion front - though the month of May has seen three of the stable's seven winners in 2017, including a 12/1 winner at Brighton last week - so all the horse has to do now is turn up and win.

I've told you why he should, anyway.

So look to back him at 34.033/1 or bigger win-only on the Exchange - there is 33/1 available in three places in the market place - and I think he is an each way bet at 20/1+ or bigger ¼ 1,2,3,4 on the fixed-odds front, so Betfair Sportsbook's 25/1 is acceptable, too. The 20-runner handicap could easily lose five of the field by Friday.

Recommended Bet

Back Cricklewood Green at 34.033/1 or bigger on the Exchange in the 14:35 at Epsom on Friday and/or 25/1 each way ¼ 1,2,3,4 with Betfair Sportsbook

Tony Calvin P&L (April 14 to May 20)

Staked: 50pts (48 to win, two to place)
Six winners; 44 losers
P&L (to BSP):+2.96pts

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