ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Tony Calvin isn't just backing anything today

Newmarket race finish
We have some excellent racing on ITV from Newmarket and Haydock on Saturday

"It is not often you can back an in-form, officially well handicapped horse, who looks sure to be suited by coming back in trip, at his kind of price, so take advantage."

Back Anythingtoday at 40/1 each-way, six places, in 15:35 at Newmarket

A mixture of top class 2yo races and competitive handicaps is ITV Racing's offering on Saturday, and our resident tipster Tony Calvin is here to guide you through the afternoon...

The old ticker sank when I saw my 20-1 ante-post selection Walhaan was drawn one of 29 in the Cambridgeshire at 15:35 - mind you, it is nice to simply get a long-range bet to the start of late - and the only consolation was that so many fancied horses are berthed around him.

In recent years, high-drawn horses have dominated in this race - the last four winners have come from 28, 29, 21 and 29 - and most of the pace in this year's renewal is housed from stall 15 upwards.

So good news for the likes of Tempus in 23, but possibly not so for his main market rivals Sinjaari (6), Montatham (2), Sir Busker (3) and my boy in one.

However, hopefully their collective class will take them through the race in a competitive manner, and there is some pace drawn near them in seven and nine, while Celtic Art, in five, has gone forward in the past, though admittedly in just a three-runner race.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I haven't a clue how the race will pan out tactically or where on the track the finish will play out, but Walhaan's extreme draw on the far rail does deter me from pressing up my each-way ante-post bet on him.

But the form argument for him still stands, and the rain this week is a positive, too, for a horse with a heavy-ground win to his name in France, even if that brings his untested stamina into focus far more. However, the course appears to have missed nearly everything that was forecast (33mm by some) from Thursday night onwards, so it is probably going to be good ground on Saturday, maybe even a touch quicker if it stays dry.

Tempus is definitely the one to beat in here given his pedigree and his profile, and he looked very good when beating Walhaan by 1 ½ lengths at Ascot last time.

But Walhaan is 4lb better off here (they also went slowly at Ascot and sprinted, and that may not have suited him), and he has shaped very promisingly in each of his last three starts. He is a strong traveller and I expect a big run from him if he lasts home over this 1m1f, and the draw is not too great an imposition.

So all is far from lost there.

However, I want at least a second string to my bow, and there is certainly no shortage of candidates.

Today's the day Anything can win at a big price

Sir Busker promises to love this helter-skelter test, and maybe his first try at 1m1f too, but the handicapper could have his measure now he is rated a lofty 111, while the William Haggas trio are all respected, and I think Derevo (who, along with Tempus, is 3lb well-in after his Doncaster run and therefore the handicapper's joint-pick of the weights) has a big run in him, though his price has shrunk throughout Friday.

However, none of that posse are all priced above 14/1 on the fixed-odds front, and I am looking for something a bit bigger.

If you read my ante-post piece you will know that Good Birthday is well and truly on my radar here and we could be ignoring the obvious after Balgair hacked up by 6 lengths in the amateur jockeys' Cambridgeshire over course and distance in a quick time, and is still 2lb well-in despite being that amount out of the handicap, even if they certainly would not want more rain.

I'll be honest and say I will probably be throwing a few quid on them on the exchange win-only at 30/1+ - I couldn't live with myself if Good Birthday won and I lost on the race, - but Anythingtoday looks the bet at 40/1 each-way, six places, with the Betfair Sportsbook.

He was as big as 66/1 in a place on Thursday, and I have no idea what that odds compiler was up to, or plenty of others who somehow made him 50/1 and 40/1.

But I am not going to let those clearly-wrong prices deter me from putting him up here - I admit to having backed him at 50s and 40s early on Thursday afternoon, and telling a few mates to do the same, as the massive prices clearly could not last - even though I hate tipping shorteners.

And I will be going in again at 40/1. It is easily the best price around now, and a great bet.

This horse has been largely running over 1m2f and 1m4f since last May but he has been crying out for a return to this 1m1f trip in recent starts, or at least a far more patient ride.

He had a mid-season lull after finishing a length second to Fifth Position over 1m2f at Doncaster in June - where Derevo was 2 lengths away in third - but he has returned to form with two good efforts over an extended 1m2f at York.

On both occasions, he looked like he was hacking up going into the final furlong, only to wilt close home, so the drop down in trip looks a massive angle to me.

In fact, he traded at massive odds-on in running in all of those three 1m2f races mentioned. He hit 1.121/8 at Doncaster, and then 1.42/5 and 1.141/7 in that brace of York runs.

His second at York last time must have been particularly harrowing watching for his backers, as he looked home and hosed before visibly emptying in the closing stages after a big move, but at least that defeat means he does not carry a 4lb penalty here and is 2lb well-in, instead.

He is also 2lb lower than when winning over 1m4f (yes, I know, but that was a small field, though that stamina could come in very handy here) at York last season.

It is not often you can back an in-form, officially well handicapped horse, who looks sure to be suited by coming back in trip, at his kind of price, so take advantage.

His midfield draw in 13 gives Ben Curtis options too, he is ground-versatile (has won on soft) and, to round off what I think is a convincing case, one of his better efforts came over 1m2f at this course when he was third to Thundering Blue off a 5lb higher mark than this back in 2017, so he does not need a flat track to shine (he also has form at Goodwood).

Excellent 2yo races but I can just about pass

It is Future Champions Day at Newmarket on Saturday - if it isn't, it used to be called that, anyway - and that means the rest of the ITV offering are all 2yo races.

Not ideal for my punting MO, as I tend to shy away from (well, ignore) juvenile races as betting mediums, especially in what could prove very deep ground, but we will give them a good spin and see what unravels.

The first up is the Royal Lodge at 13:50 and a turn-out of five is obviously very disappointing.

All of them have a chance though - as the betting underlines, with the favourite a 5/2 chance and the outsider just 7/1 - and I genuinely do not have a view, so I will not waste your time.

The Cheveley Park at 14:25 is far more punter-friendly with nine runners, and I was surprised that a couple of firms made Miss Amulet as big as 4/1 when going up on Thursday.

She boasts the best form here courtesy of her defeat of Sacred and Umm Kulthum in the Lowther, a win that prompted a Tabor (in this instance, Mrs Doreen) to come calling and buy her privately, and she would be my market leader ahead of Dandalla.

But runaway Albany winner Dandalla (and her subsequent Duchess Of Cambridge win worked out better than looked likely at the time, too) is undoubtedly one of a few serious threats.

I had a good look at the race on Thursday morning before the prices appeared, and I was hoping that Alcohol Free, a ¾ length second to Happy Romance in the Dick Poole last time, would be largely ignored in the betting, as I thought she shaped as the best horse in that Salisbury race.

A winner on good to soft at Newbury on her debut, she still looked very green and inexperienced there, drifting to the near rail, and she can be expected to progress a good deal from that second outing, though she will need to against Group winners.

But I was hoping (optimistically, I accept, though we have had a non-runner since) for 12/1+, and her current price falls a fair way short of that, so no bet.

Aidan O'Brien is not having the best of seasons with his juveniles, so it could be seen as a sign of a distinct lack of quality in his ranks that he brings over the 99-rated Lipizzaner to take on the big boys in the Middle Park at 15:00.

A O'Brien 1280x720.jpg

He clearly has a huge job on trying to get the better of the likes of Minzaal, Method and Supremacy but he has always been held in high regard by connections, and he may not be the no-hoper the formbook suggests he is.

He ran Lucky Vega to ½ length at Naas in June and he did it well enough when winning at Navan earlier in the month, his first start since his fourth at Royal Ascot.

I won't be tipping him here - it is too much of a guess-up for me, and he has a huge amount to find - but it wouldn't surprise me if he hit the frame at a double-figure price (the early 18s in the marketplace went on Thursday).

Step back to 1m Just the trick for Hiss at Haydock

ITV are also showing a couple of competitive handicaps at Haydock, and Just Hiss can do us another favour in the 1m contest at 14:05.

He is 2lb wrong at the weights but that does not deter me at all, as I think he comes here in decent form - unlike plenty of his rivals - and the step back to a mile is the key to his chances.

He travelled really well for a long way over 1m2f at Ayr last time before his stamina faltered in the closing 2f or so, and his earlier two efforts over 1m at Ripon, landing a small gamble on the first occasion and then finishing fourth to a subsequent winner (with Danyah, favourite here, in third) off a 3lb higher mark, show him in much better light.

He was a close and unlucky third to a certain Century Dream in this race in 2017, and was fifth in 2018, and he certainly wouldn't mind it if the course gets a bit more rain before the off (though the forecast suggests this is unlikely). But he is versatile as regards ground, and tactics, and it is currently good to soft at Haydock.

Back him at 11/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook. That is a big price..

I was with Came From The Dark when he was an agonising second here last time, trading at odds-on in the run, but I can let him win unbacked and untipped at a much shorter price in the 14:40 especially as it may not be as deep as he likes it.

The ITV offering on Saturday is completed by the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh at 15:15 and the betting suggests High Definition is the one to try and continue Aidan O'Brien's total recent dominance of this race, having won it every year since 2011.

He was undoubtedly impressive when winning here on his debut but quite a few such maiden winners from the yard have not gone on from their debuts, and odds of around 7/4 are easily resisted.

Good luck.

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