Saturday Racing Tips: Black Corton can get Kempton cash back

Black Corton takes a fence
Black Corton is the pick for TC in Kempton's 15:35

Fresh from an ante-post disappointment a 'grumpier than usual' (his words) Tony Calvin gets back on the horse and makes the case for bets at Kempton and Newcastle on Saturday, which you can now place directly here on Betting.Betfair...

"There has been money around for Kildisart and Whatmore in the last 24 hours, but I have finally come around to the chances of one of Nicholls’ other runners in the shape of Black Corton at 7/1 each way, four places, with the Betfair Sportsbook."

I am a bit fed up with ante-post betting at the moment. The only two serious Cheltenham ante-post bets I have had this season - Marie's Rock for the mares' novices hurdle and Native River for the Gold Cup - have already bitten the dust, and early on Thursday morning the writing was on the wall for Cobra De Mai's chances in Kempton's valuable 3m handicap chase on Saturday.

And it didn't make for pretty reading.

I tipped him up and backed him at 16/1 each way on Monday, and pressed up again personally at 14/1 on Wednesday after Harry Skelton was jocked up on the horse.

But Skelton jumped ship before the final declarations were made on Thursday, and the bad news was confirmed at 10am when Cobra De Mai's name didn't appear among the final 14 entries.

Forget my cash, I hate tipping up losers without readers at least getting a run for their money, so I am grumpier than usual as I write this.

Black Corton the pick of Nicholls' runners

I better get a grip though and get those losses back, so let's have another fresh look at the race at 15:35.

In Monday's article, I wrote that Paul Nicholls could have the key to this handicap as he had four entries and that is definitely true now that they have all stood their ground, with his Adrien Du Pont heading the market.

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I can fully see the case for him - and indeed his longer-priced stablemate Romain De Senam at 25/1+ - but I would have liked to have seen better ground for the pair, who finished third and fourth respectively in this contest last season (Double Shuffle was second and Talkischeap was fifth) and the price on Adrien Du Pont has slowly ebbed away, anyway.

Incidentally, on the ground, it was fascinating to read on the BHA site on Monday that Kempton was using a "shock wave linear compactor" to dry the racing surface. I'm not sure exactly what that is - maybe a bucket and sponge - but it has a lot of water to soak up, and I expect the ground to ride pretty testing.

Mind you, the course are not ruling out predominantly good to soft ground with a dry forecast now, so we will see.

There has been money around for Kildisart and Whatmore in the last 24 hours, but I have finally come around to the chances of one of Nicholls' other runners in the shape of Black Corton at 7/1 each way, five places, with the Betfair Sportsbook.

His Kempton form figures read 1212, with one of those successes coming in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Chase on soft ground in 2017.

He has since gone to achieve a peak rating of 163, off which he finished a good third at Ascot in November, and the handicapper is cutting him a little slack now. He ran a great race when fourth back at that track in heavy ground in December, running far better than the final beaten distance suggests, and the assessor dropped him 2lb to a mark of 159 for it.

He clearly doesn't have much in hand of his rivals at the weights but he has that touch of gritty class and it is easy to see him getting his own way out in front here, though Crievehill, Double Shuffle and Dashing Perk are three possible pace rivals, if on song.

And Black Corton also has an excellent record when coming back off a short break, freshened up.

Effective on good and testing ground alike, he looks a pretty solid proposition to me in our bid to get those ante-post losses back.

Tremwedge catches the eye at Kempton

On Thursday morning, Commanche Red was remarkably as big as 11/2 in a place for the Pendil Chase at 13:15. He ended the day no bigger than 7/2 (and as short as 5/2), and you can fully see why he shortened up.

He is unbeaten in both his starts at the course, and the latest victory was a pretty stunning one in a handicap over track and trip on Boxing Day. Granted, it only came off a mark of 137, but that shouldn't mask what a huge performance he put up there.

He romped home by nine-lengths from subsequent Cheltenham winner Simply The Betts, and the third and fourth have bolted up since too, so you can easily argue that a 13lb rise to a mark of 150 was on the lenient side.

And the excellent time just hammers home the merit of the performance. If he is in the same mood here then he will take all the beating.

I toyed with putting him at 5/2 or bigger but I can just about let him run without my money at his reduced price (though of course a few came out at the overnight stage).

Soldatino and Zarkandar are two Triumph Hurdle winners to have won the Adonis Hurdle at 13:50 relatively recently and Solo looks to follow in the footsteps of the latter by obliging here on his debut for Nicholls.

Both he and Fujimoto Flyer have form in France that would make them definite Cheltenham players if putting in satisfactory displays here after lengthy-enough absences, and Fujimoto Flyer is probably the most fascinating of the pair.

The filly has been incredibly impressive in winning both her starts to date, the form of her Auteuil win in September has been franked in no uncertain terms since, and it is interesting to see that she has been bought since by the Munir-Souede partnership that were also responsible for Soldatino.

However, you have to think that their purchase must have had an issue or two for her not to have been seen out since September, so that is an obvious downside to her chance. And she wears a first-time hood here, too.

I think you can legitimately take on both horses at the prices - Solo wasn't that strong in the early market before his intended run in a lesser race at Wincanton last week - and the best betting angle into race may be laying the pair and have the field running for you.

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My eye is drawn to Tremwedge, though

He looked very much like a Fred Winter project on his debut for Alan King at Newbury last time, and he will need an improved performance here if he is to get into that handicap. He is currently rated 126, and last year's bottom weight ran off 129.

He clearly needs to improve upon the form he has shown to date, but he did well to finish third in a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse in December (made a bad mistake at the last, too) and he wasn't given a hard time of it at all behind Chantry House at Newbury.

I reckon he is a potential big improver and he rates an each way bet at 12/1 with the Sportsbook. Alan King won this race in 2017 and 2018, and has his horses in good nick, with three winners from his last four runners (the other one fell).

I also toyed with Waterproof each way at 40s, too.

The Kingwell Hurdle at 14:25 has been re-arranged from last weekend's abandoned Wincanton meeting, and it looks as tricky a contest to call as the original line-up was.

Nothing doing there then, and I also agree with Buzz heading the market in the Dovecote at 15:02. I suspect he will win but at 2/1 he is no real bargain against some promising enough sorts.

Pair of each-way chances at Newcastle

The Eider Chase at Newcastle at 14:45 is also on the box - if it passes a Saturday morning inspection, and the forecast doesn't look promising it must be said - and I quite the chances of Shanroe Santos at 16/1, each way, four places.

It's a raging certainty that 4m1f56yd on heavy ground (and it is getting heavier by the sounds of it) is going to make for some grim viewing in the closing stages, but Shanroe Santos is probably better equipped than most to slug it out.

We don't know if he will last home as he hasn't raced beyond 3m5f but he has won a Southern National over an extended 3m3f at Fontwell and his best career effort has come in heavy ground - when winning at Carlisle by 13 lengths back in 2018 off just a 5lb lower mark than this - and he comes here in decent nick.

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That may seem a strange thing to say given he was soundly beaten last time but he actually stuck on pretty well up the straight over 3m at Sandown last time, from miles off the pace, and we know this longer trip will suit him.

And he was only just touched off, off a 1lb higher mark than this, over 3m2f at Carlisle previously.

He can chuck in the odd shocker, as is the case with most extreme stayers, but it is good to see trainer Lucy Wadham in such good form, with three winners in the last 13 days (a quarter of her seasonal tally of 12).

Calipso Collonges and Glittering Love interested me most at the top of the betting. The latter appeals more, especially as he wears first-time cheek pieces and Nicky Richards (who won this race in 2018) is an impressive 5 from 14 with this headgear move since 2016.

He has never raced beyond 3m before but he looked to a very strong stayer over that trip when landing an Ayr hat-trick on soft ground last term and he had a promising sighter of the course here last time, having fallen on his reappearance.

He rates a saver at 9/1 each way, four places.

A word on two races at Lingfield...

There are two ITV races at Lingfield, and the seven-runner Winter Derby at 15:15 is a straight fight between Bangkok and Dubai Warrior at the top of the market.

It is hard to disagree with that analysis - though we have the 2018 winner Master The World in here, alongside last year's placed horses Court House and Pactolus - and clearly there is no each-way angle. Eight have been confirmed for the 5f Listed race at 14:05 and two or three of these will be looking to get the rail and dominate from the outset.

Maybe that could set it up for an in-form and fit closer such as Watchable - he probably isn't a poor play at 6/1 each way, if they all to go post - but it looks a very tight-knit race to me and very trappy indeed.

I'll pass on the all-weather action.

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