Saturday Racing Tips: Back Colori to take the Highland road to success

Hayley Turner is looking to bow out with a winner, but just a place on Buonorrati will suit Mike
Hayley Turner is looking to bow out with a winner, but just a place on Buonorrati will suit Mike

With regular tipster Tony Calvin on a well-earned break we asked racing enthusiast and weekly football columnist Mike Norman to provide his big-price selections for Saturday's televised racing from Aintree, Wincanton, and Doncaster...


"...and he followed that up with an excellent sixth-placed finish in the 25-runner Ayr Gold Cup, where he finished just a neck (giving him 2lb) behind Buckstay who went on to win a £175k added Class 1 Heritage Handicap at Ascot a few weeks later."

Back Highland Colori @ 26.025/1 - 13:50 Doncaster
Back Highland Colori (Place) @ 7.06/1 - 13.50 Doncaster

The curtain may well come down on the 2015 Flat season at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon but there's absolutely no danger of me bringing the curtain down on TC's tipping career at the same time.

So fear not folks, Tony - bad jokes and all - will be back in the hot seat next week, hopefully with a few words of congratulation after a successful punting day by yours truly. So let's crack on.

There won't be a more appropriate winner on the day than Hillbilly Boy in the 13:50 'Good Luck Hayley Turner' Handicap over 7F, ridden of course by the retiring jockey herself.

And while I couldn't put anyone off Tom Dascombe's in-form charge delivering some emotion to the day's proceedings this just happens to be the race that holds my strongest fancy of the day.

The one I like at a price is the Andrew Balding-trained Highland Colori. Back him at 26.025/1 in the Win market and at 7.06/1 to place.

It's been over two years and 18 runs since this 7yo gelding last got his head in front - not what you want to hear, admittedly - but significantly that win was over Saturday's course and distance and on Soft ground, which he'll almost certainly encounter here.

Off a career-high mark of 111 Highland Colori then went on to finish an excellent second in a Listed event at the same track a fortnight later, this time over six furlongs, so we have plenty of evidence that he likes this time of the year, Doncaster, and loose underfoot conditions.

With a winless run comes a drop in the handicap and Highland Colori will be racing off 100 here, some 11lbs below his last winning mark. But he has shown plenty of promise this season to suggest that he's no back number quite yet, in fact some of his most recent form is amongst the best form on offer going into this competitive heat.

He finished fourth at York five runs back, beaten just a length in a 17-runner Class 2 handicap over today's trip, and he followed that up with an excellent sixth-placed finish in the 25-runner Ayr Gold Cup, where he finished just a neck (giving him 2lb) behind Buckstay who went on to win a £175k added Class 1 Heritage Handicap at Ascot a few weeks later. Strong form indeed.

We can easily forgive Highland Colori's subsequent below par performances in two seven-runner races. This is a horse that is seen to best effect chasing a strong pace in big field handicaps, and with his optimum conditions looking likely at Town Moor on Saturday he looks certain to go well at a big price.


*****


Lightning Moon makes little appeal as favourite to win the 6F Listed contest at 14:20. He looked a potential star when remaining unbeaten as a three-year-old but has shown very little of that ability for Godolphin this season.

A return to this grade having been campaigned in Group races in his last three starts might spark a revival in form but the one that I'm interested in, especially if the ground doesn't become really heavy, is Golden Amber.

Dean Ivory's sprinter has been ultra consistent all year, only once finishing worse than fifth in 10 starts since February, and she arguably put up her best effort yet when losing by just under three lengths off a career-high mark of 100 in a hot Newmarket Listed race last time.

Irish raider Iveagh Gardens is a fascinating runner, not least because she holds a verdict over last Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf winner Found two runs back, but go back even further and you'll notice that Golden Amber trounced Iveagh Gardens in a Navan maiden on Soft ground two years ago.

A lot of water has obviously passed under the bridge since that day but Golden Amber, in receipt of 6lb from Iveagh Gardnes because of the latter's Group 3 win earlier in the year, rates a decent bet at 13.012/1 under the excellent Pat Cosgrave.


*****


There are too many in-form fillies for me to have a strong opinion in the Listed event at 14:55, and although the November Handicap at 15:30 looks an absolute minefield of a betting heat there are two in here that I will be backing to reach the frame.

The first of which will be very familiar to TC, Buonarroti, whose price of around 28.027/1 made little sense compared to that of the ante-post favourite, Argus (7.06/1), before that horse was pulled out on Friday morning.

Purely on the bare form of their most recent run, where Buonarroti finished two lengths behind Argus giving him 4lb, we can give the selection a much better chance than the odds suggest given that he would have been 4lbs better off with Argus here should that one have taken his chance.

The fact that Argus is now a non-runner just adds slightly more confidence, after all, it's one less to worry about.

And consider also that Buonarroti was once rated as high as 105 after finishing fifth in the Racing Post Trophy two years ago, and that he's now racing off just 86 here with some promising recent form in the book, then I think he's worth a Place wager at least at around 6.411/2.

And wouldn't it be just the fairytale of all fairytales if Hayley could boot him home in what is scheduled to be her last ever ride as a jockey.

I'll also be having a Place bet on Karl Burke's Pearl Castle for no other reason than he finished just a neck behind Buonarroti in the race Argus won mentioned above, and yet he's marginally better off at the weights and will relish a stamina test should the ground turn heavy having twice won over two miles last year.


*****


The Channel 4 cameras are also at Aintree (where Simonsig makes his long-awaited return in the Betfred Hurdle at 14:30) and Wincanton on Saturday afternoon, and while I fully admit to having taken very little interest in the National Hunt game so far this season, and therefore I don't have any strong opinions at either meeting, there is one that I will be putting up at Aintree.

The Philip Hobbs yard has started the new season in excellent form, showing no signs of slowing down in November with six winners and five seconds from the 17 runners they've saddled, and I like their chances of bagging another winner with Ballygarvey in the 15:05.

Back him to win at around 8.07/1.

He has found life a little tougher since winner an Ascot Handicap Chase of 134 last December but he's faced some difficult tasks at a time when his stable wasn't firing.

He's now back down to a mark of 136 after finishing down the field at Chepstow on his reappearance but he certainly wasn't give a hard time of things once headed that day so there was certainly no disgrace in being beaten a little over 10 lengths at the line.

He should be able to get close to the lead here - all his wins have been when he's been able to dominate or race prominently - and with his stable now bang in form I expect him to come on a bundle from that first run and go very close.

And as TC would say... be lucky!


Recommended Bets

Back Highland Colori @ 26.025/1 - 13:50 Doncaster
Back Highland Colori (Place) @ 7.06/1 - 13.50 Doncaster
Back Golden Amber @ 13.012/1 - 14:20 Doncaster
Back Ballygarvey @ 8.07/1 - 15:05 Aintree
Back Buonarroti (Place) @ 6.411/2 - 15:30 Doncaster
Back Pearl Castle (Place) @ 8.07/1 - 15:30 Doncaster


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