After headline winners two Saturdays in a row, horse racing expert and tipster Tony Calvin is on a roll! Read on for his fancies for this Saturday's televised racing at Ascot and York...
"Erupt is the one that I like in here, though, and I think odds are [5.7] are pretty tempting. And if you believe his trainer then a slowly-run contest may not be a negative as he thinks his horse has the pace for 1m2f contests."
The absence of Postponed in the King George has undoubtedly robbed the race of its star attraction but I don't think any of the Ascot management will be complaining if the Queen's Dartmouth wins.
That is entirely possible, and it would be well-deserved, too, as he was the only horse supplemented for the race on Monday. He who dares wins, Liz.
Dartmouth probably boasts the best recent form courtesy of his head defeat of Highland Reel over course-and-distance in the Hardwicke, and is undoubtedly improving.
But a narrow defeat of a horse who was plainly not helping Seamie Heffernan all the way up the straight with an awkward head carriage - and the jockey dropped his whip on the runner-up 1f out, too - is not scary form, at all, in this grade.
However, this is obviously not a vintage renewal and it is very winnable. Indeed, Highland Reel will probably oblige if coming back to the form of his Hong Kong Vase defeat of Flintshire in December.
It is a tricky race to call, not least from a pace perspective - Dartmouth and Highland Reel have made the running before, and who knows if Sir Isaac Newton is in here to make the running on his first start over 1m4f - and the possibility of a steadily-run race worries me about Erupt, who looks like he could go further than 1m4f.
He is the one that I like in here, though, and I think odds are [5.7] are pretty tempting. And if you believe his trainer then a slowly-run contest may not be a negative as he thinks his horse has the pace for 1m2f contests.
As it stands though, the form book tells me that that he wants 1m4f. He won a Grand Prix de Paris over this trip last season, finished fifth in the Arc, and warmed up for this race when given a proper "French prep" when staying on from the rear to finish second in a Group 1 at Saint Cloud last time.
He is thought best on fast ground, and I think he should be challenging for favouritism at around a point shorter than he is currently trading at.
In the Princess Margaret Stakes at 14:45, we have solid Group 2 form in the blue corner versus winning novice potential in the red, and the latter is set to deliver the knock-out blow if the early market is any guide.
The proven form in this grade is represented by the Cherry Hinton second and fourth, Magical Fire and Kilmah - Haydock winner Nasimi actually went off a shorter price than that pair at Newmarket at 9-2 but only beat one home - but the betting revolves around Fair Eva.
And, to be honest, it is not hard to see why, as the Frankel filly obviously has the talked-about pedigree but also possesses style and substance, too, courtesy of her runaway win at Haydock.
She won in taking style there by four lengths and wasn't beating trees, either. In fact, the runner-up won a listed race next time up and finished a ¾ length third in the Cherry Hinton, while the third won her next two starts.
I suspect she will win, but regular rules of this column apply. At the price, we can watch her win unbacked, and it wouldn't surprise me if Minding's full-sister How improved and ran into a place on this better ground.
In the 15:20, Von Blucher has gone up 7lb for his impressive win at Newmarket and it is hard not see to him following up here.
The fact that his trainer admitted to a rare bet on the horse (owned by his wife Rachel Hood) that day suggested that he thought the horse was well ahead of the handicapper - as you would have suspected looking at the merit of his Lingfield maiden win last season - but his price isn't over-generous now and there are plenty in here to be scared of.
In fact, it wouldn't be the greatest surprise in the world were Manson and Perkunas, fourth and fifth in that Newmarket race, to reverse the form on much better terms. I was very impression by Manson when he won at Sandown. And then you have the improving tough-as-teak Sir Roderic and Zodiakos, with 1m on fast ground for the first time, to worry about, too.
I stuck up Bossy Guest for the 15:55 in Tuesday's ante-post column - read it here along with a 10-1 recommendation for the Dash at York - and am obviously very happy with that position.
Dangers are not hard to spot though - in fact, finding horses that can't win is nigh on impossible - and for that reason, and that reason only, I will shy away from the likes of Librisa Breeze, Heaven's Guest and Suzi's Connoisseur at the top of the market.
All three have outstanding claims - well, as good a claim as any in here - but their price pretty much reflects their chances, and I don't think that is the case with Balty Boys, so he is being added to the race "portfolio." Horrible and pretentious word, but there you go.
I suggest backing Balty Boys at 25-1 each way 1/4 1,2,3,4,5 with the Betfair Sportsbook, or at [28.0] on the exchange.
I can't believe he has been dropped to a mark of 100 for an obvious non-staying effort over 1m2f in the John Smith's Cup at York last time, as some of these handicappers can wait months for such an ease in the weights.
Unfortunately for us, that drop to 100 doesn't kick in until after this early-closer, but he can still race off a 3lb lower mark than York and that still makes him dangerously well-treated. He was rated 112 at the start of the season.
Sure, he is out of form but the blinkers are back on - he wore a visor at York - and he is 6lb lower than when a head second to Heaven's Guest in this race last season.
In fact, he came here last season on the back of beating only one home at York - this time around it was just two - so that run doesn't concern me at all. Granted, his earlier efforts over more suitable trips were poor but he goes well here (also fourth in last year's Hunt Cup) and the handicapper has given him a huge chance if any of the old fire returns. The Brian Ellison yard is really good nick at the moment, and that is the clincher.
I may also chuck a few quid at Lincoln at 33-1+ on Saturday morning as he is another who is weighted to win ('isn't he always?' comes the cry from the cheap-seats) - though, like, Balty Boys he is due to race off a 2lb lower mark in future handicaps - but this is a race where you can pick six and not even get a place. But we try.
If the ground remains on the fast side then you would have to think Time Test will win the 15:35 at York. But as for a price around [1.43]? Thanks, but no thanks. His four rivals are no mugs in this company, even his stablemate Countermeasure it appears on the evidence of his Eclipse fourth.
We are sitting pretty in the Dash at 16:10, courtesy of siding with Tanzeel at 10-1 on Tuesday - see earlier link to the ante-post piece - and I think he must go very close.
The icing on the cake is the fact that the tongue-tie that he wore when winning this race last season is back on after being left off on his reappearance in the Bunbury Cup. I actually think his current price of [6.2] is fair enough, but I have to give Related another chance at odds of [19.0], too.
He returns to arguably his optimum trip of 6f after racing over 7f and 5f on his last three starts, and does so off a mark of just 89. That is 8lb lower than his 3-length fourth in the Wokingham last season and it is again the turn of the blinkers to try to ignite him back to form. If they do, then he is handicapped to outrun his odds.
His small stable has had 14 winners this season, and four have them have come in the last 11 days, which is an obvious positive.
There is plenty of pace on in the 15:00, and that could play into the hands of a closer like Farlow. But the one I like is Above The Rest at [9.0] or bigger from a headgear angle.
David Barron uses a first-time hood rarely but the last two horses he has tried in them both won - Zac Brown and Ciao Cielo last year - and that is obviously very interesting for the selection's chances.
He likes to force the pace too, but he doesn't have to, and he races off a mark of 88 on just his third start for Barron here. That is the same mark as he won off at Haydock last July, so I am quite keen on his chances.
Back Above The Rest at [10.0] or bigger in the 15:00 at York
Back Balty Boys at 25-1 each way 1/4 1,2,3,4,5 with the Betfair Sportsbook in 15:55 at Ascot, or [28.0] on exchange
Back Related at [19.0] in the 16:10 at York
Back Erupt at [5.7] in the 16:30 at Ascot
Already advised, antepost
Back Bossy Guest at [30.0] in 15:55 at Ascot
Back Tanzeel [11.0] in 16:10 at York