It's a low key weekend for racing post-Cheltenham but Tony Calvin is looking to keep up his momentum from the Festival with another four big priced selections, all from the televised card at Newbury...
"He is very fairly treated on the balance of his form, too, and the final piece in the jigsaw could be first-time cheek pieces for this occasionally lazy sort. A stayer on the Flat and with form on good ground, he will be getting a bit of welly in the betting front from this quarter, I can assure you."
This is undoubtedly the most low-key weekend of the year when it comes to quality but it will be disappointing if Carruthers can't get his own way out in front in the 15:10 at Newbury and go very close to winning.
Back him at odds of [8.0].
Regular readers of this column will know that I tipped Gold Cup winner Coneygree's older half-brother at Uttoxeter last Saturday, only for the horse to be withdrawn on account of the soft ground.
Slightly odd for a horse who has slogged to victory over 3m4f in heavy ground at Ffos Las I grant you, but I think it is scandalous that some have suggested his hung-over connections couldn't be arsed to make the trip oop north after their Gold Cup celebrations the night before...
But the fact that he was pulled out last week at least allows me to virtually cut and paste last week's reasons for getting with him here.
Basically, he is getting on a bit as a 12-year-old and the drying ground is not ideal but there was far more promise in his run at Warwick last time than the formbook indicates.
His Gold Cup-winning jockey made a rare mistake in not trying to lead there and the horse sulked a bit in behind as a result. But he still ran well to a point, and he has now slipped to a mark of 133, some 17lb lower than when chasing home Shotgun Paddy at Warwick last season. That is some drop in little over 12 months.
Nico De Boinville hopefully won't have too much difficult in dictating matters from the front here in this less competitive race, and he is a twice course winner who has won good ground in the past too.
I was very keen on O Maonlai in the 14:00 until I saw how the market shaped up.
He was a fair sort in Ireland and bounced back to form in no uncertain terms here last month, but I don't think the layers are taking too much of a chance at odds of around 5/1 with this horse considering he has gone up 15lb for the win.
So I am going to take a chance with the other seven-year-old in the race, Keel Haul, at odds of [14.0] or better.
The form of his 2m Wincanton win last month has worked out pretty well - the third finished in that position in the Grand Annual and the fourth won at Ludlow earlier in the week - so I think a 5lb rise for that is very fair.
I don't anticipate the longer trip or better ground being any problem whatsoever, and hopefully the cheek pieces that he wore for the first time at Wincanton will have the same effect here. He is apparently only a small sort so carrying the light burden of 10st 5lb is another plus.
The mares final at 14:35 looks seriously competitive but I am happy to take a chance with Kalane at odds of [11.0].
She is not only the most lightly-raced horse in here but potentially the best handicapped one, too. She had little chance against some very smart horses when a creditable third at Exeter last time and her earlier defeat of dual subsequent winner Monbeg Theatre reads very well in the context of her handicap mark of 120. And this longer trip promises to suit her, too.
I have been waiting for Alzammaar to run in a handicap and over a longer trip for a while now, and I reckon that he could be a good thing off a mark of 117 in the 15:45.
He is very fairly treated on the balance of his form, too, and the final piece in the jigsaw could be first-time cheek pieces for this occasionally lazy sort. A stayer on the Flat and with form on good ground, he will be getting a bit of welly in the betting front from this quarter, I can assure you.
Back him at odds of [10.0] or bigger.
Sharney Sike, Landecker, and Gallery Exhibition would be my selections in the Kelso races if pressed but I will just stick to Newbury for my Saturday punts.
Back Keel Haul at [14.0] in the 14:00 at Newbury
Back Kalane at [11.0] in the 14:35 at Newbury
Back Carruthers at [8.0] in the 15:10 at Newbury
Back Alzammaar [10.0] in the 15:45 at Newbury