Saturday Racing Tips: Some big priced beauties for Betfair Super Saturday

Who has Tony Calvin got his eye on for Betfair Super Saturday?
Who has Tony Calvin got his eye on for Betfair Super Saturday?

All eyes on Newbury on Saturday for Betfair Super Saturday and our value hunter Tony Calvin is back to talk us through the card and reveal his best bets...


"Back him at 9.08/1 as he does look ridiculously well-handicapped on his first start for Nicky Henderson off a mark of just 134."

Back Argocat at 8.07/1 in 13:50 at Newbury

It is just as much Ground-bog as Groundhog, Day when it comes to assessing the weather conditions this winter - and if the forecast is correct then Betfair Super Saturday at Newbury could be yet another meeting run in bottomless conditions.

But at least it looks sure to get the go-ahead - famous last words - and punters and racegoers are treated to high-class fare, headed, from a punting point of view at least, by the UK's richest handicap hurdle, the Betfair Hurdle at 15:35.

I previewed the race in my ante-post column on Tuesday, where I put up Sternrubin at 13.012/1 - read the argument here - and I will add to that suggestion with Ivan Grozny at 65.064/1 or bigger.

Willie Mullins had eight in the race at the five-day stage and kept people guessing which were going to take up the engagement right up until the Thursday 10am deadline, when it was revealed that he was going to be five-handed. It looks like that he is taking the UK trainers' title seriously, after all.

Blazer is now clear favourite at around the 5.59/2 mark, and it is easy to why. He is officially 7lb well in here, even with his 5lb penalty, following his impressive heavy-ground Leopardstown win at the weekend.

But it is true that it isn't Mullins' normal MO to bring winners out again so quickly - subsequent Royal Ascot winner Clondaw Warrior was beaten when officially 17lb well-in at weights when reappearing two days after his Tramore win in August 2014 - and this is a far deeper race for the favourite.

He is opposable at the price, as is the fellow JP McManus horse Modus and War Sound, whose odds are influenced to some degree by their reputations and profiles.

There are any number of possibles in what is sure to be a fiercely-run race - as well as Sternrubin, the likes of Agrapart, Dicosimo and Starchitect also like to go from the front - and that will hopefully let Ivan Grozny settle better than he did at Leopardstown last month, his first start since winning a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse in a first-time hood 21 months previously.

That Leopardstown run was chock full of promise in the circumstances - he was very keen and was awkward at a couple of flights from 4 out, too - as he travelled powerfully on the inner throughout, and momentarily looked as if he was going to have a say in the finish rounding the final bend, before not being persevered with in the straight once his chance had gone.

That proved me to he is weighted to go well here, and quotes of 50-1+ look very generous.

And, unlike the case with many of his fellow "countrymen" the English handicapper has allowed him to race off his Irish mark of 145 here - so many of them are raised - and Kitten Rock, the horse he beat at Fairyhouse back in 2014, has certainly done the form no harm since. He is 35lb higher in the weights now.

The negatives are the level of opposition, probable heavy ground - though he has won on soft-to-heavy - and this is his second run back after a long (presumably injury-based) absence.

But at the price I'll happily take my chances, thanks.

In fact, I also like another outsider in the shape of McManus' third or fourth string Matorico stepping down in trip in first-time blinkers at odds of 60.059/1 and bigger - he looked as if a strongly-run race over this trip would suit when fourth over 2m5f at Kempton latest - and I can't resist a saver on him.


***


Other than the Betfair Hurdle, precious little made any punting appeal to be honest, with the exception of Argocat in the 13:50.

Back him at 8.07/1 as he does look ridiculously well-handicapped on his first start for Nicky Henderson off a mark of just 134.

Granted, his best efforts have all come over fences, notably when only beaten three lengths by Siliviniaco Conti in the 2014 Betfred Bowl, but a measure of how well-treated he is here can be gauged from the fact that he was rated 162 after that Aintree run.

And this time last year he was getting within four lengths of Felix Yonger in a Grade 2 over 2m4f at Navan.

He clearly isn't as good as over hurdles, but if Henderson has him primed after a break he will take a lot of stopping.

I admit that the trip in this ground could stretch him. And on hurdle form he is a probably the outsider of the field, but on his chase form he is an odds-on poke. So, I'll take my chances!


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Even though Dodging Bullets really should outclass the opposition in the Betfair Exchange Chase at 15:00 I couldn't touch him at heavy odds-on.

Yes, he is the Champion Chaser, is the clear form selection at these weights, handles testing ground well enough and is pleasing connections at home in his comeback from injury.

But this is his first run since the Festival, he won't be spot on, and carrying a 10lb penalty in what are likely to be very unpleasant and testing conditions is not ideal.

They won't bottom him here, and Top Gamble could give him plenty to think about. One to watch.


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The Betfair Denman Chase at 14:25 is not going to have any bearing on the Gold Cup but it could throw up a potential Ryanair winner if Ballynagour comes back to form.

He has run two desperate races in the Betfair Chase and King George on his last two starts, so he needs some forgiving - and I'm happy to sit this race out financially - but if he returns to anywhere near his best then he should win this getting 6lb from Rocky Creek.

A reproduction of his second to Silviniaco Conti in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree last April would see him ease home here, as would probably his Charlie Hall third at Wetherby on his reappearance. He handles deep ground, and has had a seven-week break since Kempton.

But they'll be better 2-1 shots soon, if that is your bag, and Houblon Des Obeaux, runner-up to Coneygree in this race last year, could be revitalised by cheek pieces. He needs to be though. And then some.


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The Warwick races at 14:05 and 14:40 - small fields and what will be very bad ground - don't look betting contests to me.

Good luck.


Recommended Bets

Back Argocat at 8.07/1 in 13:50 at Newbury
Back Ivan Grozny at 65.064/1 or bigger in Betfair Hurdle at 15:35 at Newbury
Back Matorico at 60.059/1 or bigger in Betfair Hurdle at 15:35 at Newbury


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