Saturday Racing Tips: Sirabad the bet on a tricky punting day at Ascot

All eyes on Ascot for Tony on Saturday
All eyes on Ascot for Tony on Saturday

It's Betfair Ascot Chase day at Ascot on Saturday and Tony Calvin is back to talk us through what he admits is a trappy looking card when it comes to finding value, as well as thoughts on Haydock and Wincanton...


"He returns to hurdles on a fair mark judged on his Sandown win last March, and I think trip and ground could be ideal to see him go close in an admittedly competitive heat. There are no end of far sexier, lightly-raced, progressive horses ranged up against him here, but that is reflected in the price we are getting about the selection."

Back Sirabad at 13.012/1 in the 15:00 at Ascot

Runners are again incredibly thin on the (heavy) ground this weekend, which doesn't lend itself to the raison d'etre of this column - big-priced selections - so we are keeping our powder pretty dry. Apologies.

But Sirabad is worth a small-stakes interest at 13.012/1 or bigger in the 15:00 at Ascot.

Despite a couple of fair efforts, he has not lived up to expectations over fences this season, and connections have presumably decided to keep his novice chase status for next term.

And he returns to hurdles on a fair mark judged on his Sandown win last March, and I think trip and ground could be ideal to see him go close in an admittedly competitive heat.

There are no end of far sexier, lightly-raced, progressive horses ranged up against him here, but that is reflected in the price we are getting about the selection.


***


Only five have stood their ground in the handicap chase at 14:25 and that is a very poor turnout for a £45k race.

I like the game and progressive Waldorf Salad best of the quintet, but it doesn't really appeal as a betting contest, and neither does the Grade 2 Novices' Chase at 13:50, for all it is a fascinating six-runner heat containing Cheltenham and Aintree hopefuls.

Those who read my ante-post pieces earlier in the week, notably my Grand National preview, will be aware that I am looking for a big run from Triolo D'Alene in the £150k Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase at 15:35.

I put him up as a bet at 9.08/1 on Wednesday, and also as a punt at 7/1 each-way on the Sportsbook, and they look perfectly good plays. But I must admit that I wasn't expecting eight of the original 10 entries to stand their ground, which has tempered my enthusiasm somewhat.

As has the fact that the out-of-form "form" horses, Silviniaco Conti and Dynaste, both wear first-time blinkers, which makes them very dangerous. Throw in the likes of Tied Cottage runner-up Flemenstar, who will be suited by the step up to 2m5f, and last year's runner-up Ma Filleule, and the race has suddenly become very competitive.

But I was impressed by Triolo D'Alene at Kempton and at the very least I hope that he is placed here, and enhances his Aintree claims.


***


With the going stick readings already as low as 2.6 at Haydock, expect the ground to be as bad as you have seen it this season at the track on Saturday - though that takes some beating after some recent "spectacles" - and that just deters me from tipping Bishops Road in the Grand National Trial at 14:40.

He is one of three horses who have shot up the weights after impressive wins last time but, unlike the majority of the field, his stamina is unproven. And that is probably something you don't want to be guessing about over an extended 3m4f around Haydock in borderline-raceable conditions.

But trainer Kerry Lee wouldn't be throwing him in here if she didn't think he could handle the marathon test, and he is at least unexposed over the trip.

He seemed to relish the bottomless conditions when winning over 2m4f on his debut for the stable at Sandown last month - Lee picked up him for 32,000gns from Henry De Bromhead and Gigginstown last September - and, although he has been raised 14lb for the Esher slog, he did win by 17 lengths.

Given the superb start Lee has made to her training career, I was going to give Bishops Road the benefit of the doubt and tip him at 8/1-plus. But then I thought that I probably won't back him myself, so it would be pretty fraudulent to put him up here.

And you can easily make a case for all seven of his rivals, which include course specialists, in-form horses, a previous winner of the race, a bottom weight wearing first-time blinkers and one that was tanking along in the lead when unseating five out in the Peter Marsh last time. The latter horse, Gas Line Boy, has been left on the same mark and must be rated a big danger to all.

Throw that all into the mix, and it has to be a no bet.


***


Unfortunately, that is also the case in the Rendlesham at 14:05.

I imagine connections were delighted with At Fishers Cross' comeback run at Gowran Park last month, where let's say he was ridden with an eye to the future, and you sometimes forget what a good horse he is in on a going day.

Yes, he hasn't really lived up to the potential of his Albert Bartlett win in 2013 but he has finished third and fourth in the last two runnings of the World Hurdle and he will win this if returning to that level of form.

But he isn't consistent and the quietness, and well-being of the yard, has to be a concern, and I have a lot of time for the improving One Track Mind, too.

***

All eyes were set to be on My Tent Of Yours in Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton - but he doesn't run!

A racecourse school at Kempton with Hargam last week told us little in truth, other than he was still with us after a near two-year absence, and that he could be more tractable these days after being tried in a new bit, so I was looking forward to seeing him run.

In his absence, we are left with a race in which Irving is the likely winner if he comes back to form after a break, but tactical four-runner races on deep ground aren't really my bag either.

Sorry, bets are a rarity this weekend, but if they aren't there, don't force them. Have a good one.



Recommended Bet
Back Sirabad at 13.012/1 in the 15:00 at Ascot

Already Recommended
Back Triolo D'Alene at 9.08/1 (Exchange), and at 7-1 each way (Sportsbook) for the Betfair Ascot Chase

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