Saturday Racing Tips: To Be Wild the horse to back at Doncaster

Two of Tony's selections run at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon
Two of Tony's selections run at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon

The jumps season may be upon us, but Tony Calvin's best bets this Saturday come from the flat cards at Doncaster and Newbury...

Recommended Bets

Back Shipyard at 15.014/1 or bigger in the 14:40 at Doncaster
Back Gratzie at 17.016/1 or better in 14:50 at Newbury
Back To Be Wild at 7.06/1 or better in the 15:15 at Doncaster

If you have already switched to jumps-only mode, then it may be best to look away now.

The Cheltenham Showcase meeting may be upon us but I am not usually into full stride on National Hunt action until after the Breeders' Cup - or "hippie drugfest" if you side with the Racing Post's Steve Dennis, and plenty do - early next month.

Shipyard to make waves at Doncaster

Anyway, more of that later, especially as I am pretty sweet on three bets on the Flat, starting with Shipyard in the 14:40 at Doncaster.

There is no hidden story to this horse, other than I think that he is weighted to win, and the best bet on the C4 playlist.

He was a massive late springer in the market when sixth over 6f here in Doncaster - I thought he was hacking up 2f out - and he has returned to that level of form with solid efforts on his last two starts.

He has still come down 3lb in the weights since that Doncaster run, though, and is now 1lb lower than when winning a 16-runner Ascot handicap over this trip last October. I think this strong-traveller has everything you are looking for in a race of this type and he rates a bet at 15.014/1 or bigger.

A watching brief in the Racing Post Trophy

The Racing Post Trophy at 15:50, sees Yucatan as favourite at around the even-money mark, but I can't have that as being remotely enticing.

It is arguable that his Beresford second last time doesn't even entitle him to be viewed as the form pick here, and that improved run did come on heavy ground, too.

You can see why he heads the market in an average renewal of this Group 1 - progressive profile, the connections, the impeccable breeding and his maiden win did come on good ground - but no way should he be so short.

Finding one to beat him isn't straightforward either, though - the opposition is hardly top-rank - and I am happy to sit this one out.

Go Wild in the 15:15 at Donny

Of the other terrestrial races at Doncaster, I would side with Nuclear Power in the 2yo 6f Listed race at 14:05 if forced - luckily, I am not - but I think To Be Wild could be worth chancing in the 15:15.

In some of his Betfair columns this season, Hugo Palmer made no secret of how highly he rates To Be Wild, and this one-time St Leger entry could be worth siding with at 7.06/1 or bigger, though a bit of rain probably wouldn't go amiss for him.

The colt hasn't had a lot of luck with injuries in an interrupted career. He suffered a fracture in his hind leg last Christmas, and then pulled muscles after winning at Ffos Las in July.

But he is apparently back working well and a mark of 93 could underestimate him if his trainer is to be believed. He was considering running him in Group races like the March Stakes earlier in the season, as well as the Leger.

I wouldn't have thought many Ffos Los maiden winners would be rated so highly but at least the form has worked out - the second won a Kempton maiden next time out and is now rated 88, while the 5¾ length third took her maiden on her following start - and everyone knows what good value Josephine Gordon is for her 3lb claim.

The same owner-trainer-jockey combination combined to good effect in the Mallard with Wall Of Fire here last month, and hopefully we will get a similar outcome, and 3yos have won this race for the past five years.

Gratzie to make punters thankful

Over at Newbury, the only bet that stands out to me is Gratzie in the 14:50 - and she is far from straightforward, trust me.

Hopefully, Graham Lee has his kid gloves on here as he will need them. Gratzie is a moody character and often ruins her chances with slow starts, as she did again at Haydock last time, when not being too far away in the end.

That run has seen her eased another 1lb in the weights - she is now on the same mark as when winning by 3¾ lengths at Bath in June - and I like the angle her trainer has taken by stepping her up to 1m2f for only the second start in her career.

She finished last of five the only other time she has raced over this trip - but that was on unfavoured soft ground at Chepstow, and she likes far better going - but if she does blow the start again that at least she will have time to rescue the situation. And she does finish off her races well over mile. Back her at 17.016/1 or better, although any rain would lessen my confidence.

I like Koora most in the 14:20, but I'll just stop shy of putting her up as a bet in a race that she won last season.

Thoughts on Cheltenham

The four-year-old hurdle at Cheltenham 15:00 features one of my favourite horses of last season, Wolf Of Windlesham. Mainly for financial reasons, I grant you, but it isn't a crime to tell the truth. Most of us following horse racing do so to bet on it, after all.

But even his presence in the line-up isn't leading me into a bet on what looks a tricky, small-field contest. It is best not to be sentimental with cash in racing.

With fast ground a possibility because of the recent dry spell, Cheltenham started watering on Thursday, which won't please everybody, just as lasix and bute doesn't at Santa Anita. But it at least leaves us all with a ready-made excuse when our fancies get chinned.

It won't be an issue for me though, as I am not getting involved at Cheltenham.

The opening 3m1f handicap chase at 13:50 had me scratching my head from start to finish, and the other 50k race on the card at 15:30 was little better, with last year's Boondoma the interesting one after another lengthy absence.

I was tempted to give The Tourard Man a betting spin back over hurdles in the Pertemps Qualifier at 16:05, but the usual rules apply.

If I ain't backing them, then I ain't tipping them, and that is the case with the Cheltenham card on Saturday.

Best of luck if you are.

Recommended Bets

Back Shipyard at 15.014/1 or bigger in the 14:40 at Doncaster

Back Gratzie at 17.016/1 or better in 14:50 at Newbury

Back To Be Wild at 7.06/1 or better in the 15:15 at Doncaster

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