Saturday Racing Tips: Tidal Bay too big to ignore for the Betfair Chase

Can Tidal Bay (pictured) win the Betfair Chase at a big price?
Can Tidal Bay (pictured) win the Betfair Chase at a big price?

Our big prices tipster Tony Calvin doesn't always look at the most obvious races, but he has picked out a value shout in the Betfair Chase as part of his look at Saturday's televised cards...

"Yes, to be honest, you still get the impression that he could implode and throw it all in at any stage. But, more likely, it could be just that since joining Paul Nicholls he is a happier horse, and more importantly trouble and injury-free, and willing to consent."

Back Tidal Bay in the 15:00 at Haydock at 10.09/1 or better

People in horseracing have especially long and unforgiving memories. Upset any of the chosen few and the cliques will quickly close ranks, and that is equally true of attitudes to horses, too. 

It takes a long while to heal the wounds if you are your own man, do as you please, and are happy not to be part of the in-crowd.

Step forward, Tidal Bay.

I have a feeling that Timeform had to be dragged kicking and screaming to remove their squiggle (the symbol indicating that a horse is 'unreliable') from Tidal Bay.

They introduced it after the Melling Chase at Aintree in 2009 and only removed after his Lexus win (thanks to Simon Rowlands for that info) in December, but they may be thankful they did, as I think the 12-year-old may just land Haydock's Betfair Chase at 15:00.

Back him at 10.09/1 or better in the win market, and I wouldn't put you off supporting him in the place market either.

The Betfair Chase is a ridiculously good race, clearly the best-ever renewal in terms of sheer depth and competition, and it is hard to envisage a 12-year-old being good enough to see off such a stellar cast of Gold Cup, King George, Ryanair and Grade 1 novice chase winners.

Until you look at last season's form book.

The facts are that he came out a better horse at the weights than Bobs Worth in last season's Hennessy - he was giving the winner 6lb and was beaten three and three-quarter lengths - and  saw off the best that Ireland had to offer when winning a thrilling Lexus.

Those are not the sort of impressive formlines that I expect a horse trading at around 9/1 to be able to boast, whatever the level of opposition.

Yes, to be honest, you still get the impression that he could implode and throw it all in at any stage. But, more likely, it could be just that since joining Paul Nicholls he is a happier horse, and more importantly trouble and injury-free, and willing to consent.

Unlike some of these, he has the benefit of a comeback run and win, albeit in a pretty weak hurdle race at Wetherby, and what seals the deal for me is that I think that could develop into a greater test of stamina on more testing ground that many are anticipating.

He simply looks overpriced.


Given the Betfair Chase line-up you have to feel sorry for Ascot and their sponsors being rewarded with just seven runners for their two Grade 2 races. And, quite frankly, TV viewers and punters are short-changed too.

Those races are quickly passed over for betting purposes. And, as the other C4 race on the Ascot card is a very trappy seven-runner handicap chase - if forced Viva Colonia would be my token choice - I will go back to Haydock to the Fixed Brush Hurdle.

14:25 Haydock - Lie Forrit and Alfie Sherrin

I am going to side with Lie Forrit at odds of 12.011/1 or bigger, and I simply cannot resist a saver on Alfie Sherrin given that he is currently trading at upwards of 25.024/1.

Lie Forrit was weak in the market on his debut for the excellent Lucinda Russell on his reappearance. But, as is often the case - at least more than many TV pundits would have you believe - that proved no indicator of what was to come as he ran out an impressive winner.

A 7lb rise in the weights isn't too excessive, especially when you consider he was rated 155 in his pomp with Willie Amos. Conditions should be ideal for him here, and I wouldn't be at all surprised were new connections to eke more progress out of him here.

He was going to be my sole selection until I saw the odds Alfie Sherrin was trading at. He may well need the run but last year's Cheltenham Festival winner is on an attractive mark at the moment, has gone well after a break before, and Jonjo O'Neill's horses continue in great heart. I can see him running a big race and I expected him to be trading nearer the 12/1 mark.

Haydock 13:50 - Special Catch

I also can't resist throwing a couple of quid at Special Catch in the 13:50 at odds of 12.011/1 or bigger.

He was well backed for his reappearance at Aintree, but could only manage fourth. But I thought there was a lot more promise in that comeback run than it looked at first glance, and I think a longer trip on softer ground could see him improve a great deal here.

I was also very tempted to put up Mac Aeda in the last, stepped back up in trip in first-time blinkers, but I will stick with just the four selections on the day.

Recommended Bets
Back Special Catch in the 13:50 at Haydock at 12.011/1 or better
Back Lie Forrit and Alfie Sherrin in the 14:25 at Haydock at 12.011/1 or better and 25.024/1 or better respectively
Back Tidal Bay in the 15:00 at Haydock at 10.09/1 or better

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