Saturday Racing Tips: Bellenos can land another big win for Skelton

Will Bellenos win at Ascot on Saturday?
Will Bellenos win at Ascot on Saturday?

In-form tipster Tony Calvin returns with his best bets from the Channel 4 action at Ascot and Haydock this Saturday, as a shrewd trainer continues to make his mark...   

"So, in more testing conditions - and more rain is forecast tomorrow - and off a 1lb lower mark, then I have to give this course and distance winner another chance."

Back Bellenos at 6.05/1 in the 15:15 at Ascot

Ascot 15:15

With 29 winners already in the bag, Dan Skelton has already surpassed his first-season tally of 27 and I think another big Ascot winner beckons in the shape of Bellenos at odds of 6.05/1.

Having seen Skelton in action at Ditcheat on numerous occasions, it was obvious that he was going to make his mark as a trainer. And he has done just that, quickly developing a reputation for sweetening up and improving recruits from other yards.

He gained a big race success here when Willow's Saviour won the Ladbroke last season, And more recently, he dug me out of a long, losing tipping run when his What A Warrior won here earlier in the month, when I also tipped Bellenos on the same day.

Bellenos ran moderately there, and what was so disappointing was the absence of his normally accurate and extravagant jumping, a mistake at the first setting the tone for a below-par effort.

I am sure Skelton has worked on that at home since, and the trainer was also of the opinion that the ground wasn't soft enough for him there.

So, in more testing conditions - and more rain is forecast tomorrow - and off a 1lb lower mark, then I have to give this course and distance winner another chance.

Faugheen's reappearance in the 14:40 renders that a non-betting contest, but I am sure that the world and his wife will be wanting to oppose Al Ferof in the Amlin Chase at 14:05 after trainer Paul Nicholls revealed yesterday that the horse only came back in at the start of September.

Given the trainer's routine, that probably puts Al Ferof at least a fortnight off peak fitness, probably more, and it wouldn't surprise me if he were a big drifter. He may well win, and he does go well when fresh, but not for me.

The problem is that I don't have a firm opinion on any of his opposition at the prices.

Haydock 14:25 - Betfair Fixed Bush Handicap Hurdle

Over at Haydock, I don't think that you can play in this race without at the very least considering a saver on Volnay De Thaix at around the 4-1 mark.

He was very impressive in winning in a good time at Huntingdon and only carries a 5lb penalty here, so he is a worthy favourite, even if the likes of Katkeau, Big Easy and Aubusson are all well-handicapped dangers lining up against him.

But I am going to put something up win and place against him in the shape of Araldur. He will be just about the rag in this field but, at around 44.043/1 in the win and 8.07/1 in the place, I can't resist an investment on the old-stager.

He has been off the track for over a year since disappointing at Cheltenham but the handicapper has given him a real chance by dropping him to a mark of 135.

That is 6lb lower than when a good fourth in the Swinton here last year and he has gone well fresh in the past, notably when winning first time up at Sandown in testing conditions two seasons ago.

Three miles on soft ground should be fine for him, the fixed brush hurdles shouldn't be any concern either as a formerly smart chaser, and Alan King reports that the "old boy seems in very good form".

He will probably find the up-and-coming youngsters too good for him, but I am not letting him go unbacked at these odds.

The Betfair Chase - 15:00 

This is a cracking contest - and how nice it is to see a non-handicap have more than seven runners, a real rarity these days - but I can't see a bet in the race myself.

Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti, winners of this race last year and in 2012 respectively, have something to prove after below-par reappearances.

But the problem is that they set such a high standard if coming back to their best - Cue Card in this race last season and Silviniaco Conti in the King George - then none of this field will be able to live with them.

If forced to play, then I think Dynaste probably offers the best punting opportunity at around the 4-1 mark. His King George eclipse aside, Dynaste has been remarkably consistent in the highest grade since being switched to fences, and the Ryanair winner is at his best when fresh. I'll be a touch surprised if he isn't in the frame, but I can't get involved myself.

Best of luck to The New One money-buyers earlier at 13:50, and I won't be playing in the 15:35 either, though I was tempted by Wayward Prince back in handicaps off a mark of 140 and he would be my idea of the best punting option if you want an interest in the race.

Be lucky.

Recommended Bets
Back Bellenos at 6.05/1 in the 15:15 at Ascot
Back Araldur at odds of 44.043/1 in win and 8.07/1 or bigger in place in 14:25 at Haydock

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