Guineas

Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Tony Calvin's best bets for 2,000 Guineas Day

Betfair Tipster Tony Calvin
Tony has a trio of bets for 2,000 Guineas Day

We have ITV Racing from three meetings on Saturday with the feature race being the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Betfair tipster Tony Calvin analyses all the contests and provides us with his top tips...

  • Betting w/o the fav the way to play in 2,000 Guineas

  • An 11/112.00 Majestic bet in the 1m1f handicap

  • Marcella is a very fair price at 10/111.00 at Goodwood

  • A 25/126.00 each-way play in Thirsk's Hunt Cup


Ryan Moore Superboost (City Of Troy)

He's been labelled a potential super star, and today City Of Troy is 4/61.67 favourite to win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket under the hands of Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore at 3:35pm.

And if you fancy last season's champion 2yo to win the first Classic of the season then click the 'Bet here' tab below to back him at the super-boosted price of 1/12.00.

Back City Of Troy to Win 15:35 Newmarket at the super-boosted price of 1/12.00

Bet here

Newmarket - 15:35: No Bet

Let's get one thing clear before we start.

Yes, I do think City Of Troy will win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket at 15:35, and he is a fair price at 1.715/7 on the exchange to do so.

Would I back him?

Not a chance.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to backing, and tipping, short ones.

One camp would rightly argue that if they think a horse should be an even stronger shade of odds-on, then it is mathematically the right thing to play. There is more percentage upside at the top of the market.

I can fully see that argument, of course I can, and I have often done so in rugby union matches myself. I'd be very happy taking 1/21.50 about a side who I consider a 1/31.33 poke or less, though there is a big in-running trading element (over 80 minutes) in that sport to manage your risks.

This obviously doesn't exist in racing to such a degree.

So, I am happy to sit on the fence in these horse racing situations and not bet, because history tells me I am terrible judge of just how short a hot favourite should be, and there are plenty more risks involved in backing animals than humans.

Well, politics aside, that is.

In the case of City Of Troy, the simple fact that we haven't seen him on a racecourse since October 14th 2023 is enough to put me off, before factoring in the matter of 10 largely unexposed rivals ranged against him.

And recent history told us an even better 2yo, the 128-rated juvenile, Pinatubo, got summarily chinned when third in this race at odds-on in 2020, though it was pointed out to me, by a certain Ryan Moore, that it was the Covid year and the Classic was run in early June, so it was not your usual 2,000 Guineas.

The chasing pack had an extra month to catch up with him, and we forget how much of a factor that can be in the 2yo to 3yo transition. My grandson is three in July and he changes from week to week; yes, I know, but you get my drift.

In the final analysis, I just don't chase supposedly easy money like others do when it comes to racing. If they can make it pay, then all power to them. But it's not my game, nor is a scattergun approach these days.

They missed all the forecast rain at Newmarket on Thursday, so the ground has hardened to good, good to firm in places, overnight. But 9mm was due from 7am to 4pm (it still hasn't started as this goes live just after 11am), so the course will be welcoming that now. There are only spits and spots due over the weekend.

Betfair Newmarket July.jpg

The betting without the favourite markets were the way into the 2.000 Guineas for me, but they have been taking an age to come through.

Rosallion, the other Group 1 winner in the party, is the obvious favourite on this line, and I see he is a 7/42.75 in a place. That will only shorten, the less rain that falls, though his stamina is not assured, and nor is his ability to handle the track.

His stablemate, Craven winner Haatem, should be fine on anything and he'd be the one I'd be keen on.

Just because he had the nine starts as a juvenile, people may dismiss him in favour of other less exposed 3yos (admittedly which is what I was about to do, before giving my head a shake), but he had a very solid body of work at two, including a Group 2 win and a second to the favourite in the Superlative, and his reappearance defeat of Dewhurst third Eben Shaddad in the Craven is in danger of being vastly under-rated.

Incidentally, Homecoming Queen had 11 2yo starts and began her 3yo campaign rated 106 and she won the 1,000 Guineas by 9 lengths, so experience can count on occasions.

Look, clearly with the potential on show here from lightly-raced winners, you can make a case for any of the 10 in the without market - it's all about their respective prices - but I do think Haatem is my number one.

And number two is Inisherin, a 33/134.00 outright chance with the Sportsbook. That has just been clipped in from 50s, and then from 40s, rather annoyingly. It's been a case of a changing-prices morning.

To be honest with you, Inisherin completely passed me by in my ante-post assessments, I imagine mostly because I didn't expect such a lowly-rated colt to run here following just a maiden defeat and a Newcastle novice victory from a penalised horse.

Now, he is the ultimate guess-up in this race, and I am not going to insult you by suggesting the fact the trainer saddled the 125/1126.00 runner-up in this last year has any relevance to his chance.

But it does show that those with the mucho-moolah give trainer Kevin Ryan free rein to trust his judgement - as they did with 33s chance Triple Time for the same owner in the Queen Anne last year - and he comes here instead of going for the Irish version, or the French Derby.

His two starts to date cannot be rated within two stones of the favourite but he was only narrowly denied by recent Epsom winner Bellum Justum in a 1m maiden here last September and he dismissed the now 94-rated Kalpana (maybe runs in the Listed race at Newmarket on Sunday after her 10-length handicap success) with ease on his return at Newcastle.

My gut feel is hard to articulate in a convincing manner - never a good sign, if you are paid to make cogent cases - but, simply put, this a well-bred colt (by Shamardal out of Group 1 winner Ajman Princess) with any amount of upside (and downside admittedly), who I think will beat more than beat him here.

Unless he finishes sixth, obviously, which the yanks would call a "push". Well, not exactly, but you know what I mean.

After much deliberation, I am going to back Inisherin and Haatem without City Of Troy, but the Sportsbook have not priced them up as this column goes live, so I will have to provide an update when they do.

But I saw Inisherin and Haatem were available at 20s and 16s in the wider marketplace, admittedly win-only, when I did my re-write first thing on Friday morning, and they seemed generous prices to me.

I'll be back with an update there, but if the Sportsbook have gone up when you are reading this, I'd back each of the pair at 14s or bigger, each way, without the favourite.

Newmarket - 13:45: No Bet

The first ITV race at Newmarket is the 13:45, and it is pretty much what it says on the tin for every one of these sprint handicaps.

That is to say, nigh on impossible, and you have to have a compelling case, or price, to get involved. Especially on changing ground.

The stalls are in the centre, and I have the most likely pace coming from five, 13, 14 and 15, so maybe a closer from a middle-to-high stall could fit the bill here.

The obvious pair that suit that train of thought are Summerghand and Chairmanoftheboard, 5s and 9s respectively (they were both a point bigger immediately after the decs) with the Sportsbook and coming here off the back of good recent runs too (especially so in the case of the former), but no-one is going to be remotely surprised if any of the 16 in here win this.

Sprint handicaps are racing's equivalent of roulette. That one final, desperate roll of the ball can turn triumph into disaster, and the house surely has the long-term edge over the punter in these races given their "your turn" nature.

Newmarket - 14:20: Back Majestic

I didn't expect the Sportsbook's stand-out, opening 16/117.00 about Majestic to last in the 1m1f handicap at 14:20 - certainly not for 24 hours, when I came to file this - and it didn't (it was there for 35 minutes), and now the question to answer is whether the current 11s (clipped in from 12s on Thursday evening) is big enough to get involved in such a hugely competitive 16-runner handicap.

We are getting five places, though.

I'll make the case for him while I am deciding. I may talk myself into it.

The most obvious positive is that two of his best efforts have come over this 1m1f trip here, when winning the Cambridgeshire in 2022 and finishing fourth last year.

He really does look a betwixt and between horse as far as 1m and 1m2f trips are concerned, but he shaped very well over a mile on his reappearance (maybe got there too soon) and other pluses are the excellent form of the stable and the fact that he can handle quick or heavy ground, so the weather can do what it wants through Friday.

I am sold on his chances of getting in the first five, but far less so on his winning killer instinct (he is on a losing run of nine), given the depth of the race.

And I'd be very wary of Torito in particular, as he looked tricky last season and gelding him could see him springboard to Group-winning honours this term. The market has him covered at 7/24.50, though.

If you back Majestic each way, you'll be roaring him home, lifting your leg, and probably shouting: "Get fifth, Probert!"

What the hell, I'll join the squeeze him into fifth brigade, at 11/112.00 each way, five places.

Back Majestic, E/W 5 Places, in 14:20 Newmarket @ 11/112.00

Bet here

Newmarket - 14:55: No Bet

We are already down to eight in the 5f Group 3 Palace House Stakes at 14:55 after Equality came out with a bad scope early on Thursday morning.

It wouldn't surprise me if we lost another from the dead-eight - the likes of class-horse Twilight Calls and Tees Spirit want decent ground, so they wouldn't want more than is forecast - so please do bear that in mind if you are betting each-way in this race. Likewise, if we don't get a lot then last year's winner Vadream may come out.

I didn't have much of opinion in it anyway, to be honest.

Mitbaahy would be my idea of the most likely winner but I thought Significantly was probably the pick of the prices at 20s for those wanting a minor investment, for all you'd want to see the trainer in a bit better form (though they have been going okay in recent days) and maybe he could find this 5f on the sharp side in this grade.

I'm not getting involved but, by the same token, I wouldn't lay the 20s - well, I am not exactly in the habit of effectively backing at 1/201.05 - but he is ground-versatile, and last year's Ayr Gold winner shaped okay on his return over 6f here.

Goodwood - 14:05: Back Marcella

We also have the dangerous dead-heat in the 1m fillies' Listed race at 14:05 at Goodwood, and it promises to be grueller for those who stand their ground (it is heavy, soft in places). They only got 0.4mm overnight, but they will be racing on an opened-up surface on Saturday and they maybe could get another 4mm or so in the next 24 hours.

It's a very trappy race without factoring in the ground and guessing at race-fitness - five of the eight make their seasonal debuts - but Novus ticks a lot of boxes as regards testing conditions and course form (two wins and a narrow second to Choisya from three starts), and the fact that she stays much further than this seems an obvious positive.

Two big negatives are her 5lb penalty and, crucially, her Sportsbook price of 11/43.75.

No thanks.

Andrew Balding, currently in excellent form (see below) is a regular when pitching relatively lowly-rated fillies at these black-type races and his Marcella, from a German family (they tend to love the mud, though I may have fallen for that oft-trotted about line without properly checking my facts - in fact, I have, as I wouldn't know where to look) and she is a lightly-raced, soft ground winner with a recent run under her belt.

The 10s about her seems very fair, especially as the 13lb age allowance seems pretty generous. She'd actually be the way I'd play it if having a bet.

In fact, I am going to take a chance on her win-only at 10/111.00 with the Sportsbook.

She showed a willing attitude to win at Chester last season and she was closing down the odds-on poke, and Coronation Stakes entry, Devoted Queen all the way to the line over a mile at Kempton last time, her first start in a hood, which is retained here.

Back Marcella, Win only, in 14:05 Goodwood @ 10/111.00

Bet here

Thirsk - 14:40: Back Eilean Dubh

The Thirsk Hunt Cup at 14:40 is the other race on the box and the lead could well be Autumn Festival's again in this race as he makes his debut for Ed De Giles, with 5lb claimer Alex Jary on board (I'll be honest, I had never heard of him, so I was shocked to discover he has had so many rides and winners - do the kids say this is "my bad?").

He is drawn in trap two here, and he was berthed in three when making the running last year and holding on for a creditable fourth.

The going at Thirsk is currently good to soft, good in places, but with maybe 15mm of rain to come in the next 24 hours, and that will suit him - it could be very problematical for another, so please read on - but I don't think he has that much scope in his current handicap mark to hold off all-comers in the straight, especially first time up.

And the Sportsbook, paying five places, also want him onside at 14s (he is 20s in five places), which seals the non-deal.

Several Thirsk regulars are returning, not least Northern Express and Redarna, winners of this race for the past two years, and I thought 25/126.00 chance Eilean Dubh could have been lined up for another crack at this valuable prize.

They may have got unlucky with the ground, if so. More of that shortly, and stick with me until the end of the piece.

He never got into it under a 7lb claimer on his return (his first since being gelded) at Musselburgh last month, and he clearly didn't run well, but he was dropped 2lb for it and he is now 3lb lower than when sixth in the race last season.

And I reckon you can mark that run up as he was the first horse home from a double-figure draw - he started from 12, and the first five came from 2-7-1-3-5 - and he made his charge down the unfavoured middle. All the first five were on his inner.

He is 1lb lower than when subsequently winning at Hamilton, and 5lb lower than when an excellent third at York afterwards (ridden prominently on both occasions), and he is drawn better here in seven, with a first-time visor applied. Karl Burke is a very moderate 9 from 169 with this headgear move since 2009, though.

However, he has been pulled out on soft before - all his best form for Burke has been on decent ground, officially at least - and that has to be a worry.

Betfair Thirsk.jpg

One who wouldn't mind a lot of rain to land, though he has won on good, is Racingbreaks Ryder, and he has already been the money horse in the market with early quotes of 16s and 14s hoovered up, before the 12s got taken earlier today.

The Sportsbook's 10s became 8s on Friday morning, so I ditched yet another bet and made another re-write.

The case for him is glaringly obvious, though.

He got dropped an exceedingly generous 3lb for a promising enough return in the Spring Cup on his return - a much better race than this - and he is now 2lb lower than when winning easily on soft ground at Ascot last May. He is normally ridden much more prominently than he was at Newbury, albeit in smaller fields, so it looked something of a rather obvious tee-up job.

Charlie Hills may not be in great form but he tends to be when he visits Thirsk, as a 10 from 31 strike rate, with a further eight in the top three, underlines.

However, I am not chasing the horse's odds down any further though - 8s looks his price now - especially as all his best form is in small fields and his draw in 10 is not ideal for a jockey who is 0 from 59 this season, and who has a very modest strike rate overall. And it is not as if the horse has been ripping it for over a year now.

The important thing when you tip is to always lay out the negatives for your readers.

Just before I filed this, the weather forecast for Thirsk actually improved to just 7mm in the next 24 hours (though BBC weather disagrees), so I have decided to risk Eilean Dubh at 25/126.00 each way, five places myself, so I am tipping him.

It could be that Burke pulls him out if it turns too testing, as he has done before, but I'll take my chances. And each way, too.

The clincher is that I looked on the Timeform site, and they had it as heavy when he was sixth here last year. And the course update at 10.17am on Friday sounded more upbeat about the rain, anyway, as in less.

I nearly missed that positive news.

Good luck.

Back Eilean Dubh, E/W 5 Places, in 14:40 Thirsk @ 25/126.00

Bet here

UPDATE at 7.30am on Saturday morning

Firstly, the going at all three ITV tracks.

Well done to Newmarket for updating their going at 5.41am on Saturday morning. It is good there, officially soft at Goodwood (though heavy in parts on the round course) and good to soft, good in places, at Thirsk.

The latter track only ended up getting 2.8mm so, with a dry day forecast, that is good news for Eilean Dubh. I just hope he can show a lot more than he did at Musselburgh last time, but there are reasons to think he can, as outlined above.

My other selections, Majestic and Marcella, have been well supported it seems (at the moment), so fingers crossed for a good display there, too.

The Sportsbook came out with their Without Favourite markets on the 2,000 Guineas on Friday afternoon, and they offer Haatem and Inisherin at 11s and 14s respectively in an each way 1/5 1,2,3 market.

I said in my original copy that I wanted 14s about Haatem on this line, so unfortunately I have to decline that offer. I have backed him at 33/134.00 each-way outright though, so hopefully he can get in the first three.

You are paying a premium to get with Inisherin at 14/115.00 each way, as he is 20s and 18s win-only elsewhere, but all are fair bets, for the reasons I stated in copy. I've got involved in all three.

As I have said before, I won't include the 14s each-way punt as part of the bet summary though, as that would not be fair to those reading the initial copy, and not returning for a re-read. That's just common sense, as I imagine a large proportion of readers just won't come back for a second crack, as good as the column is, obviously....

I just thought these brief updates would be a helpful addition when introducing them last month.

Good luck today.


GOING

Newmarket: Good

Goodwood: Soft

Thirsk: Good to soft, good in places

FIRST-TIME HEADGEAR (for ITV races)

David Evans visor 36-306 (since 2009)

George Scott cheekpieces 6-58 (2016)

Gary Moore hood 2-33 (2012)

James Tate hood 4-43 (2012)

Karl Burke visor 9-169 (2009)

John and Sean Quinn hood 0-0

John Quinn hood 4-26 (2009)

PACE MAPS

1.45pm Newmarket: Apollo One (drawn 5), Rabaah (14), Desert Cop (15), Abate (13)

2.05pm Goodwood: Orchid Bloom (1), Our Town (6)

2.20pm Newmarket: Killybegs Warrior (14), Hafeet Alain (4), Westerton (13), McLean House (10)

2.40pm Thirsk: Autumn Festival (2), Master Richard (15), Cruyff Turn (13), Eilean Dubh (7), Bajan Bandit (16), Racingbreaks Ryder (10) ?

2.55pm Newmarket: Tees Spirit (5), Beautiful Diamond (1), Seven Questions (9)

3.35pm Newmarket: Ghostwriter? (3), Haatem? (5), Inisherin (7), Night Raider (1), Ten Bob Tony (10)

BALLOTED OUT (money back for ante-post punters)

2.40pm Thirsk: The Cookstown Cafu and Grey's Monument

TRAINER FORM - for all with entries in Saturday's ITV races (does not include Friday's results)

Excellent: Charlie Appleby, Andrew Balding, Jack Channon

Good: Karl Burke, Ed Walker, John and Thady Gosden, Charlie Johnston, David O'Meara (numbers man, so having a good run)

Fair:, Ed Dunlop, Richard Hannon, William Haggas (though still not up to usual standard), , Kevin Ryan, , Roger Teal (not many runners). Dominic Ffrench Davis, George Scott, Alan King, Hughie Morrison, Harry Eustace, Charlie Fellowes, Owen Burrows, John and Sean Quinn,), James Tate., Roger Fell and Sean Murray, Gemma Tutty, Grant Tuer, Tony Coyle and Kaine Wood, Simon and Ed Crisford (coming back to form)

Moderate: Julie Camacho (though 28-1 winner this month, and the horses have been running better in recent days), David Evans (winner on Thursday), Charalambous/Clutterbuck (not many runners), Charlie Hills (though a couple of winners), Clive Cox (despite 9-1 winner on Wednesday), Adrian Nicholls, Ralph Beckett, Henry Candy (not many runners but winnerless in 2024), Aidan O'Brien, Michael Dods (winner on Thursday), Ed De Giles (though two winners in 2024 for a small stable), Ann Duffield, Tim Easterby

Undecided: Marcus Tregoning (very few runners), Dianne Sayer

New partnership: Gary and Josh Moore (though Gary has not been in best of form despite a winner at Brighton on Tuesday)


Now read Ryan Moore on his 2,000 Guineas Day rides here.


Racing... Only Bettor. Listen to the latest episode now.


Recommended bets

PROFIT AND LOSS

2024 Flat season:

STAKED:  5
RETURN: 11
P AND L: +6

2023-24 NH season:

STAKED: 127
RETURN: 143.4
P/L:    +16.4

April 16-Oct 31; 2023 Flat season:

STAKED:  202
RETURNS: 168.9
P AND L:  -33.1

March 26 2022 -April 15 2023:

Staked: 436
Returns: 643.6
P/L: +207.6

April 14 2021 to March 25 2022:

P/L: + 183.1

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.