ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday Racing Tips: Dingo can be top dollar for another Super Saturday

Newbury Ladbrokes Trophy Day
Alan Dudman has two bets for Saturday's big race at Newbury

"He is a strong stayer and a good jumper - and Newbury's fences are some of the stiffest in the land."

Back Dingo Dollar @ 18.5 in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury

With frost threatening the action at Newcastle, Al Dudman, who is standing in for Tony Calvin this weekend, focuses on the afternoon's ITV racing from Newbury...

Two to back in the big one, although not Yorkhill for once

It doesn't get any better for jumps' racing fans with a second successive "Super Saturday" to look forward to, and with a maximum field of 24 declared for the big race - The Ladbrokes Trophy, conditions are set reasonably fair at Newbury.

This is a meeting I am fully revved up for. And a reminder before I start, TC is with Yala Enki from his ante-post preview in midweek. His selections for the Newcastle card are also there (click here to read), so let's hope the fleece covers work their magic and keep the meeting on, as the battle against the frost and freezing forecast is ongoing. The inspection at Newcastle takes place on Saturday morning.

Back to Newbury; and as much as I am looking forward to seeing my old friend Yorkhill, I'll be leaving him alone for the first time in years (it seems). Although I have committed the cardinal sin of not inserting the word "enigmatic" to preface the quirky so-and-so. Admittedly, I've used it myself, about 15 times.

I'll get to him shortly, but I haven't been part of the move this week from 25/1 into 16/1 on the Sportsbook.

The price angle is very much to be discussed with OK Corral - who has been at the top of the betting for a while on what is his first start of the season. On Thursday night he was available to back at 9.617/2 on the Exchange, and while he could be the class act, he still has a bit to prove. And I say that as one of his fans.

I sided with him for the controversial National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, which in hindsight was the wrong race as connections swerved the RSA. Maybe it was my love for Tidal Bay that got me onside with him last season (OK Corral's dam is a full sister to that most marvellous of chasers), but he didn't jump particularly well at the Festival - triggered at the 17th with an error followed by a horse hampering him badly. He didn't stay either.

The upsides though are that he goes well fresh, wants rain and could be well-treated as a second-season chaser from 151 - the right profile for this race. He's also got an entry in the King Georgev. It seems he and Santini don't get to meet too often.

At odds of 18.017/1, I am quite happy having a go with Alan King's Dingo Dollar. He finished third in the race last season (admittedly well beaten) with an attacking display of bold-jumping from the front, and at a bigger price than OK Corral, he has achieved a bit more than the Warwick and Plumpton victories of his higher profile rival. Maybe he has gone under the radar as a less sexy horse.

Dingo Dollar 2 1280 .jpg

The debate posed therefore is whether he possesses the class of OK Corral? Maybe not, but he is a strong stayer and a good jumper - and Newbury's fences are some of the stiffest in the land. In fact, Dingo has a fairly good record around the Berkshire circuit with a tally of 1433. His trainer has also gone for the visor for the first time.

He made his comeback run for the season recently in a Pertemps Qualifier, so he should be spot-on for this, and that is exactly the same prep as last term. He acts on soft, and appeals too, if you are looking to back-to-lay. From 18.017/1 from the front, I would be quite hopeful of him dipping under double-figures reasonably early, so there's a chance to lay back your stake for a free bet.

Another trade at a wild price is Regal Encore who is around the 60.059/1 mark. He finished third in the race in 2017 and usually travels well. He is at the veteran stage of his career, but he still showed a bit of zest at Punchestown from an in-running view. He was matched in defeat in Ireland at 1.804/5.

He'll be going some to get that low!

I will add a second string to the punting bow with Mister Malarkey. Yes, he is one of the more obvious ones at 10.09/1, but stamina really is his forte judged on last term's efforts.

He finished fourth in the RSA, and he should really feature in an equine version of "Trading Places" with OK Corral, as both pitched up in the wrong races at Cheltenham. Mister Malarkey's trainer Colin Tizzard mentioned last term that he might not have the gears for the RSA - and so it proved. The field quickened up at the end of the three-miler and he just couldn't find the acceleration, in admittedly, a hot renewal.

He's lightly-raced from 150 and I like previous graded winners in handicaps - and he certainly fits the bill with his Grade 2 Novice win last term. He's a fine-looking sort too.

I will resist backing Yorkhill - for what will be the first time in ages. Even the 32.031/1 win only on the Exchange doesn't tempt me.

His trainer Willie Mullins must have tried a few things to coax this character back to his best, and at his best, he was a mighty talent. But it's been a long time since he displayed a proper performance in a serious grade, and even that wasn't without its dramas.

Jumping to his left is more than a party trick these days, but at least he'll be happiest going this way around. Mullins has also switched work riders, which still won't pull me in. For now.

Yorkhill 1280 .jpg

Henderson's strong hand for opener, but Snow Leopardess has quality at big price

Let us rewind and take a look at the opening Newbury ITV race on Saturday at 13:50, and Nicky Henderson has a strong hand with top weight Soul Emotion, the likely favourite Downtown Getaway, and the Cashel Man.

Downtown Getaway is a raw type but clearly a big talent. He wants soft ground and starts handicapping from 131, but there isn't much room to play with at around 5.04/1.

Soul Emotion makes a bit more appeal, and one firm had gone first in pricing him up at 14/1 on Friday morning. That looked a little too big for me considering the handicapper was still failing in his quest to try and catch up with him last term with handsome wins at Sandown in two handicaps. He landed those successes from 125 and 137.

He was last seen running in Grade 1 company against Paisley Park last December, so that's a worry. He's had wind surgery too since, so there are one or two question marks which will make the price. But he can jump left, so the track could suit, and he also makes the running.

Whether he'll need the run, that is the main problem here. Henderson also mentioned they were keen to go chasing with him.

As the brief is to find a big price, the 20.019/1 on Snow Leopardess is worth a second look and gets the nod for the column.

Snow Leopardess Gowran win 1280 .jpg

It's a huge ask clearly for her return to action after 794 days off the track, and I have no idea what the problem with her has been. However, she's a huge mare with the physical attributes to enjoy the test that Newbury will serve. She has experience of the course contours and ran well in a novice a couple of seasons ago over the minimum trip, and clearly she showed a liking for the venue that day, as she won a Grade 2 mares' race over course and distance soon after.

She was a quality bumper performer and landed a decent Gowran Park prize (pictured above) in 2016, and while it's a long time held in the memory banks, a rating of 130 in handicap company is interesting.

It's a massive risk with the lengthy absence, but she likes the track and enjoys a test in terms of a trip. Ground won't be an issue either.

French Crusader could be ahead of his mark

It's Henderson again with apparently all the aces, as we look at the 14:25. The Lambourn trainer's best chance according to the market is Epatante at around 4.03/1. But she's the sort of horse that could be overbet with her profile, and a high profile at that when trained in France. I backed her for Cheltenham - a race where she disappointed badly. That wasn't one of my finest moments.

The hood will be off for her return to the track. I think I had blinkers on when I backed her.

For this 2m contest, I prefer the stable's French Crusader - and he can be backed at 10.09/1.

He travels so well in his races that I am not sure the handicapper has him at 135. He tanked through a contest at Newbury to win last November by eight lengths from 126, but he hasn't been seen since. Which presents a question mark, again.

However, he could be ahead of his rating and a well-run 2m will certainly suit. He tried 2m4f at Southwell when he was turned over at a short price in the past (and beaten at 1.15 in-running), but that trip might have stretched his stamina - especially with the way he travels.

Drying to good to soft will be ideal, but he needs to cut out the late blunders as French Crusader has given backers a real scare in races at Newbury and Towcester.

Sweet-travelling Bun Doran the back and the in-running play

The final ITV race at 15:40 is a top notch 2m handicap, although the gloss was slightly taken off as I was really hoping to back Knocknanuss as he bolted up at the meeting last season. He's entered up at Cheltenham for the Caspiar Caviar Gold Cup, but for now, I'll have to wait.

We have the one-two from the Grand Annual going head-to-head with Croco Bay and Bun Doran, and I'll be backing the latter to claim the honours.

He's an ideal type for this race with the way he travels, and for such a sweet-moving horse, he is one to use for a trade in-play. While that style can be attributed to plenty of form on good ground, he has enough pieces of form on soft to make him of interest. Also, with the going drying up ever-so-slightly following the course update on Thursday, the potential for a dry weekend means there could be a possibility of good to soft. Which wouldn't be much of a negative for his chances.

Bun Doran is operating off top weight from 150, but he did hammer a field by eight lengths at Cheltenham last season in the November meeting from 138, so he deserves that kind of figure.

Croco Bay v Bun Doran 1280 .jpg

Another huge plus is that he goes well fresh, and this will be his first run since Punchestown in the spring - a race he was probably over the top in. He stays 2m4f, and he rates a fairly strong bet.

Chesterfield is another who will travel well, and while I always had him labelled as a good ground horse, he has a couple of fair recent runs in soft conditions. He also could be well treated from 143 given his abilities over hurdles. This will be his fifth run over the larger obstacles so is still unexposed, and he is another to consider for a back-to-lay if you are playing in-running. Click here to find out more about backing and laying on the Exchange.

Newcastle star attraction will be Buveur D'Air, but the Captain looks the bet for Rehearsal

If Newcastle pass their morning inspection and can beat the cold, there will be two ITV races including the Betfair Rehearsal Chase at 15:20. You can click here to read Tony Calvin's thoughts from his ante-post column, but I'll be leaving alone the Fighting Fifth.

Nine stand their ground for the stamina test, and deep conditions will mean there will be no hiding place. Seven of the nine are fit with runs this season under their belts, and one of those is my bet - Captain Redbeard.

He's a horse who has been a bit unlucky in his career, including a run in the Grand Sefton. However, he has a Tommy Whittle victory to his name in the mud from 135 (and he scored by six lengths in that), plus a second in a Peter Marsh. With form on heavy going, conditions won't be an excuse for a defeat.

Mistakes can creep into his jumping, but he shaped well in his comeback run at Aintree last time out behind Burtons Well. His lack of fitness from a searching gallop was exposed late on, as he emptied a little despite looking a big player to win. With match fitness onside, he is my only bet at Newcastle on Saturday at 8.415/2.

And good luck!

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