Saturday Racing Tips: Caroles Destrier must be backed at 'insulting' price

Caroles Destrier in action in 2014
Caroles Destrier (above) must be backed, says TC

Tony Calvin cannot believe the generous odds available on his top pick for the big race at Sandown on Saturday afternoon. As well as that, our man selects two more at the Surrey track and another at Haydock.

"Caroles Destrier is the main bet at 28.027/1 or bigger. The handicapper has given him a huge chance... He comes here fresh and hopefully the first-time cheekpieces will perk him up, too."

I had a proper pop at the The Young Master in the Scottish National last week, so you can imagine how chuffed I was when Sam Waley-Cohen went out of the side door at the first at Ayr.

The horse then proceeded to enjoy himself by running and jumping loose for a fair bit of that 4m contest, and that deters me from going in again on him in the 15:35 at Sandown on Saturday.

Given that he may get his preferred ground here (he wants the rain to stop, even if he has won on heavy), and is some 13lb lower than when winning this race two years ago (it would have been 16lb but he is 3lb out of the handicap here), I could well be having a proper go at myself if he dots up. But this game is all about opinions and decisions.

So that is one of the 20 off the list, now for the other 19...

Caroles Destrier's huge chance

Blaklion is another who didn't get as far as the second last time, in his case being brought down when a 14/1 chance in the Grand National, and I can see the case for him after his wind op (he had it before Aintree) as he has the class to defy a mark of 161.

However, I would want more than 13/2 or so to be rolling in with him, or Kim Muir winner Missed Approach at around 8/1, and Caroles Destrier is the main bet at 28.027/1 or bigger.

Quite simply, the handicapper has given him a huge chance.

He has completely the lost the plot in his four starts since his half-a-length second to Native River in the 2016 Hennessy, but he has been dropped 16lb in that time.

He has had a break since running no race at Doncaster in February, but he at least comes here fresh as a result, and hopefully the first-time cheekpieces will perk him up, too (though the trainer is only one from 19 with this option since 2016).

He also has a London National win over course and distance on his dance card and, poor form or not, the 25/1 is bordering on insulting. Hopefully, it doesn't get too soft for him.

Theatre Guide is worth backing too at long odds

My second play in the race is Theatre Guide at 34.033/1 or bigger.

He, too, didn't get past the first last time (is that a qualification for this race, or what?) and he has shown very little since his Badger Ales third at Wincanton in November.

But he has had just three chances to shine since then. We can ignore his fall last time, he was bang out of his depth in the Cotswold Chase, and only his Kempton effort in February was disappointing.

He has been dropped 5lb since Wincanton, though, so he is 3lb lower than when a narrow third in a bunch-finish to this race last year and is on the same mark as his Cheltenham win 17 months ago.

So he is weighted to win, he comes here a fresh horse who will love the better ground - all his best efforts have been on it, so let's hope it doesn't turn soft - and the 11yo is a big price to roll back the years.

Get the Show On The Road with a winner in the opener?

The Oaksey House Chase at 14:25 is not for me, and obviously Altior should oblige, barring mishaps - famous last words in racing - in the Celebration Chase at 15:00.

As much as I love Special Tiara, taken out of Punchestown earlier this week in the expectation of better ground here, he was swatted aside by the favourite in this race last season and it takes a rampant imagination to see he, God's Own or Ar Mad causing a major shock.

So back to the first race we go and I like two at the top of the market in recent Fakenham winner Act Of Valour and Show On The Road, with slight preference for the latter at 12.011/1 or bigger in the 13:50.

Philip Hobbs has largely had a season to forget but he has had nine winners in the last five days, and his 7yo could keep up the good work here.

His recent improvement has come on heavy ground - and he is 7lb higher than when winning in testing conditions at Exeter last time - but he had performed really well on better ground earlier in the season, and he chased home the recent Cheltenham winner Diese Des Bieffes at Taunton in November.

It is quite conceivable that he can take it up another notch here, whatever the weather does.

Which horse to back in Haydock's competitive 14:05?

There is a fiercely competitive Haydock handicap on ITV in the shape of the 14:05 and there will be no shortage of horses vying for the lead as the likes of favourite Mjjack, Lualiwa, Robero and Calder Prince are just four of these who like to go forward.

Mjjack rightly heads the betting after his Newmarket win in a good time (runner-up won at Chelmsford on Thursday night), and he has won two from four around here. I imagine his jockey will be looking to make the most of stall one - low numbers have been favoured in this race in recent years - and the testing ground shouldn't be a problem.

But, as stated earlier, he will have to jump very smartly as other pacesetters are housed in stalls three, five and six, and Calder Prince is particularly interesting from the widest of those berths.

He was fourth in this race on his reappearance on fast ground last season, getting collared at the furlong marker, but he has the benefit of a run this time around and a pretty impressive one it was, too.

He was properly smashed up in the market at Wolverhampton as well, and he dismissed the well-handicapped Dougan by six lengths in a quick time to justify the market confidence.

The handicapper took offence and raised him 11lb but he ran good races off this revised mark in 2016, and he did look back to that sort of form at Wolverhampton, and he has plenty of course and soft-ground form, too.

Indeed, he has course form figures of 1421236 here and another big run is anticipated, and I just hope the pacesetters don't cut their own throats and set it up for a late closer.

He is worth a bet at 9.08/1 or bigger.

Terrestrial TV also lands at Leicester with the 7f Listed race at 14:45 but it looks a bit too tricky to call. Maybe Donjuan Triumphant at a push, but I don't have a betting opinion.

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