Saturday Racing Tips: One to back at Warwick on a tricky afternoon

Tony has one selection at Warwick on Saturday afternoon
Tony has one selection at Warwick on Saturday afternoon
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Betfair racing columnist Tony Calvin is always straight with his readers and this week he admits that he doesn't have a clue about what to back in the day's big race. Still, our man provides expert analysis to help you make your pick and selects a promising bet elsewhere...

"I think Missed Approach is a solid market leader at [8.0] or bigger. If you are playing with the Betfair Sportsbook, it is worth noting they are paying four places on the 15-runner race."

The temptation, indeed the expectation, is to always try to tip something in the big handicap of the day but I have to resist when it comes to the Lanzarote at Kempton at 14:40.

The more I looked at the race, the more horses I fancied. Or could fancy. Obviously, that is of no use to anyone, but I will run you through some of those who I feel are the major players, and maybe that will help you to make your own mind up. Because I haven't a clue.

The "gamble" earlier in the week was Le Patriote, an ex-Frenchie having his debut for Dr Richard Newland, but that move seems to have calmed down a bit and the market is now headed by River Frost and Diese Des Bieffes, whose claims have far more racecourse substance, to my non-Gallic eyes at least.

With a stronger ride, I think River Frost may well have won the red-hot Silver Trophy at Chepstow in October - he was only beaten 2 lengths in a race that could hardly have worked out better - so this course and distance winner has to be a major player off just a 3lb higher mark.

The problem is that I think about six or seven others are in with a good chance, too. Diese Des Bieffes is certainly one of them after looking sure to be suited by the step up in trip after his second to leading Supreme hope If The Cap Fits over 2m at Kempton. A mark of 135 looks very fair with the prospect of probable progression over this distance.

Red Indian ran well from off the pace when third at Cheltenham in November and has a lightly-raced profile that appeals, while it would have been very interesting to see what I Shot The Sheriff would have done had his jockey not thought he had gone wrong at Newbury last time.

He was trading at 2.66 in running when he was abruptly pulled up there - he was later found to have an issue with one of his shoes - and his Irish form for Tony Martin suggests conditions here could be ideal for him.

Then we have Wishfull Dreaming, in a tongue-tie, on his first start for Olly Murphy - we all saw what he could do with a new inmate when Hunter's Call won the old Ladbroke - and then we have another four last-time-out winners to contend with, while I still think there could be more to come from Coeur Blimey back in handicap company.

So, as you have probably guessed, I have to give the race a swerve. In fact, I found it an exceptionally hard day to find bets, so I didn't push it.

God's Own's big test and the rest of the Kempton card

As Listed races go, you won't get many hotter than the 14:05 as we have a three-time Grade 1 winner in God's Own taking on some high-class rivals.

God's Own is the clear pick of the weights if able to reproduce his 2m best - and he has won a Melling Chase over 2m4f - and his chances would increase further if the ground doesn't ride too testing.

But he was well below form behind Smad Place on his return and, again, I could make a case out for a few of his rivals in here at the prices, so no dice on the betting front.

Ballyalton and The Young Master are my two against the field at the prices in the 15:15 and preference is for the latter. However, with the field now down just to six, I can't see much juice there.

I thought he ran okay in the Becher last time considering the ground was too testing for him, and it is a plus that he has been dropped 3lb for it.

He is 6lb lower than when winning the bet365 Gold Cup a couple of years ago, and I can see him going close given a more prominent ride, just off the pace, over 3m on this better ground. And his stamina could come in very handy here late on if the favourite cracks on from the front, as expected.

He needs an improved performance soon if connections have thoughts of going for the Grand National again, as he is now rated just 142. He would be my bet in the race were I to have one.

Fountains Windfall is the obvious one to beat after his Kempton run last time - he did look set to win there when coming to grief, for all it was some way put - but you can easily let a horse with his profile pass at these odds.

I was at Kempton over Christmas and I thought Maquisard shaped really promisingly on his English debut, despite being beaten 42 lengths in the end, and he could take a massive step forward off a 3lb lower mark here.

That race is on RUK, but keep an eye out for him if you are watching, and betting, on the race.

Hit and miss horse can take his chance

Over at Warwick, my ante-post fancy didn't even get to the Classic Chase at 15:35 - I am getting mightily sick of that happening, but trainers know best obviously - but I do think Missed Approach is a solid market leader at [8.0] or bigger. If you are playing with the Betfair Sportsbook, it is worth noting they are paying four places on the 15-runner race.

He has a bit of a hit-and-miss profile and has clearly had his issues down the years - he had a wind operation before winning at Lingfield last season - but I think he has a lot going for him here.

He handles testing ground well and he showed when a 50/1 second in the four-miler at the Festival last season that stamina will not be an issue here. And the handicapper has given him a massive helping hand after his sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time. He travelled and went well for a long way there - he traded at 3/1 in running - before being headed three out, though to his credit he battled on well enough despite being beaten 27 lengths in the end.

So I think he shaped a lot better than the beaten distance there, far better than the handicapper did anyway, as he has been dropped 6lb for it. He is weighted to go very well, and hopefully Gavin Sheehan can get him into a good rhythm just off the pace.

Cheekpieces replace the blinkers that he wore at Newbury and hopefully that is a positive, as he wore those for the first time when chasing home Tiger Roll in the National Hunt Chase.

Talking of headgear, get ready for a very impressive stat.

Ian Williams is 17 from 84 when applying visors to his horses for the first time since 2006, yielding a massive level-stakes profit. And if you want to narrow down the search he was four from 13 in 2017, and he is one from one this year courtesy of Red Infantry's Doncaster win on Tuesday.

So does his first-time-visored Indian Castle have the profile for this kind of test?

Well, his stamina is unproven but he is clearly at home in deep ground and ran well when sixth over 3m1f at Cheltenham last time out (when in cheekpieces), after which the handicapper eased him 1lb. He is now 8lb lower than his last winning mark, though admittedly that was four years ago now.

Robbie Dunne is five from 17 when teaming up with Ian Williams in the last few years (he rode Red Infantry on Tuesday), and I think he will go well. However, all the 14s went on Thursday and I just think he is a little on the short side now at around [12.5], given those stamina doubts. But, again, I wouldn't and couldn't put you off him if you wanted a saver.

And the rest at Warwick...

The 3m novices' chase at 13:50 has cut up a fair bit and it doesn't have an attractive betting shape now.

I think Kris Spin is a very solid proposition in the 3m1f handicap hurdle at 14:25, even if he was pulled out at Chepstow last Saturday with a self-certificate.

Presumably all is well now though, and I think he is still fairly handicapped despite going up 3lb for a second at Uttoxeter last time. The third hasn't run since but the fourth and fifth won on their next outings.

He is also a course and distance winner on soft ground, and has a lot going for him with a good 5lb claimer on board. But the price isn't particularly enticing and I can let him go unbacked.

The 2m5f Grade 2 novices' hurdle at 15:00,, is a deep-looking contest but it could house a potential top-notcher in the shape of Mr Whipped, who gave 6lb and a beating to two smart sorts at Newbury last time.

He clearly hasn't been missed in the market but I am not in any rush to take him on, though Count Meribel sets a decent form, and time, standard for him to aim at, and he will be suited by the return to 2m5f after faltering close home over 3m at Cheltenham last time.

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