Saturday Channel 4 Racing Tips: Woodford can take National spoils for in-form Hobbs yard

Philip Hobbs trains Tony's Welsh National fancy Woodford County
Philip Hobbs trains Tony's Welsh National fancy Woodford County

Tony Calvin, who tipped Wetherby winner Dolatulo (Betfair SP of 16.34) from his four Boxing Day selections, is back in action with more big price fancies today...

"He loves heavy ground, is a course winner and carries just a 4lb penalty for his Newbury win in a fair time last time. And, after just six starts over fences, he is one of the least exposed chasers in here."

Back Woodford County @ 18.5 in the 14:35 at Chepstow


One bookmaker appears to have lost the plot in recent times when it comes to offering competitive odds, but I must say that the firm going just 5-2 about Silviniaco Conti for the Gold Cup after his demolition job at Kempton yesterday are much nearer the mark than the rival going a stand-out 9-2.

And I also agree that their 7-4 about Christmas Hurdle winner Faugheen is more realistic than quotes as low as evens elsewhere.

Now, ante-post betting is pretty much a dead-duck these days - firms don't like building up long-range liabilities, and they are so competitive on the day of the race anyway - but when you see that the Gold Cup second favourite in most lists is Bobs Worth, then I think that quotes of 4-1 and 9-2 about Conti are worth snapping up.

He probably goes straight to Cheltenham and I can't see too much coming out of the pack to challenge the cheek-pieced one, while Faugheen, while visually stunning, will have much stiffer opposition to face come March.

Anyway, you don't need me prattling on about races in March when there is money to be made today, so we will kick off at Chepstow and Woodfood County at odds of 18.5 in the Welsh National at 14:35.

I will keep the reasoning concise today - not least because I am writing this about 18 hours later than usual - but the horse looks very solid.

He loves heavy ground, is a course winner and carries just a 4lb penalty for his Newbury win in a fair time last time. And, after just six starts over fences, he is one of the least exposed chasers in here.

David Pipe saddles the strong favourite in the 13:25 in the shape of 3-1 poke Katkeau but I reckon his second-string Bygones Sovereign is a fair punt at 12.011/1.

Again, the case for him is straightforward. He isn't the most consistent but if in the same mood as when winning over course and distance last time then he has chances off a 5lb higher mark. He remains reasonably treated on some of last season's form and 7lb claimer Michael Heard keeps the ride after winning on him last time.

I went round in circles trying to nail the winner of the 15:10 but I couldn't resist a few quid on Baron Alco in the 13:55 at odds of 15.014/1.

It is clearly a very competitive race but I thought he ran a blinder when giving weight to two decent horses at Sandown last time - who will hopefully give the form a boost when they run in the first at Kempton today, so keep an eye out for them at 12.40pm - and he doesn't look a 14-1 shot in my book.

Bets at Kempton are thinner on the ground and I was tempted by Loose Chips in the 14:15, but my sole selection at the track - where I will be heading off later this morning for a potentially lively lunch with a couple of in-form owners - is Keshi Pearl at 6.25/1 in the 14:50.

She hasn't raced for over a year but absences are no barrier to trainers these days and she won first time out last season anyway. I think a mark of 119 underplays her talent and Henry Daly's horses are in decent nick.


Recommended Bets

Back Bygones Sovereign @ 12.011/1 in the 13:25 at Chepstow
Back Baron Alco @ 15.014/1 in the 13:55 at Chepstow
Back Woodford County @ 18.5 in the 14:35 at Chepstow
Back Keshi Pearl @ 6.25/1 in the 14:50 Kempton


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