ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin says back the Boy for Ascot glory

Caribean Boy race horse
Caribean Boy is a bet for Tony on Saturday

"I saw enough in Benson's fourth to runaway winner Samarrive at Sandown last time - a race he won the year before and picked up a 10lb hike for doing so, before coming here - to suggest he could reverse that form on 13lb better terms."

Tony Calvin gets stuck into Saturday's racing at Ascot and Haydock with five selections from 50/1 down to 8/1...

The downsides are that the ground is slowly drying out and there are only two no-shows from Monday's 16 five-day entries - though one of those was Soaring Glory, who would have been my second choice in here - but I remain very keen on my 16/1 each-way ante-post selection Benson in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at 15:35.

I am not sure those on track will be able to see it at that hour - I made a point of going outside at 3.40pm on Thursday afternoon, and it was incredibly dark already - but hopefully the artificially brightened shots on TV will show him charging home from the rear and devouring all before him as he hits the line.

And that touches upon your major worry when backing Benson.

He is a moody horse who takes a lot of rousting, and he is always on the edge of spitting the dummy out in races and tailing off.

That was exactly the case in this very race last season when he was stone last approaching the final bend before finally knuckling down in the straight, despite an awkward jump 2 out, to finish a 6¼ length fourth to Not So Sleepy and Buzz.

I know this is a good renewal with a lot of unexposed, improving youngsters but you have to remember that the first two home last year are rated 18lb and 17lb higher now, and Benson can actually race off a 4lb lower mark here, so I reckon he is handicapped to win again.

His record tells you he would ideally want it deeper than good to soft, but 11 races would have taken place on the course on Friday and Saturday before he jogs out in the afternoon and it could be that tacky, drying, cloying ground will bring them back to him up the straight.

Certainly, with Global Citizen, Onemorefortheroad and Llandinabo Lad in the race, there should be a fair old tear-up on the front end.

I wrote on Monday that I thought they may try headgear given his lazy run-style, so I am very happy to see the first-time visor, for all Dr Richard Newland is only one from 11 with this option in recent years.

And I saw enough in Benson's fourth to runaway winner Samarrive at Sandown last time - a race he won the year before and picked up a 10lb hike for doing so, before coming here - to suggest he could reverse that form on 13lb better terms.

Basically, this horse has one long sustained run in him, so getting checked on the inner and having to switch to the outside going to the last was not ideal, nor was the fact that Lee Edwards nearly came out of the side door when the horse jinked late and skewed at the last (he made a similar mistake 2 out in this contest last year, in fact).

But he stuck on really well to grab fourth on the line once he was put on an even keel once again.

I appreciate there are plenty of sexier bods in here - and Goshen had a nice settling sighter when fourth to Buzz here in a strong race last time, so he is interesting off 153 as well - but I reckon this race will be attritional and will suit the staying qualities of Benson, sporting his new visor, much more than the flashier types.

I am happy to put him up again win-only at 13.012/1 or bigger on the exchange - and he may well drift on Saturday - to add to the each-way play.

Going in on Goshen

Actually, looking at Goshen again, I can't resist a saver on him at 10/1. The 14s available in the marketplace early on Thursday has long gone, and with good reason you feel.

Clearly, his tag as the next big thing after that Triumph Hurdle final-flight mishap has not materialised just yet and you can certainly pick holes in his 22-length defeat of Song For Someone in the Kingwell last season, but the handicapper has given him a fair old chance here.

Goshen at Chelts 2020 1280.jpg

A wide-margin course and distance winner last year, the assessor dropped him 4lb for his fourth at this course last time and that may have been a touch hasty given the winner was Buzz, and last weekend's International 1-2 of Guard Your Dreams and Song For Someone filled the placings (in reverse order).

Throw in the fact that he was carrying a 6lb penalty and may have been having a seasonal sighter there, and I happy to have him in here as my betting wingman at 10/1 win-only with the Sportsbook.

If you believe recent reports - and I take them all with a pinch of salt - he also comes here in much better form at home that he did prior to that comeback run.

Can't say no to Ornua

I backed Ornua at 50/1 each way, four places, for the 2m3f handicap chase at 13:50 as soon as the betting came back up early on Thursday afternoon, so I really have to stick him up here, too. The Sportsbook are the same price, three places, and he gets my renewed vote in print.

My tipping and betting rule works both ways.

One of the reasons why I am willing to take a chance on the 10yo, the old man of this party, is that he could get an uncontested lead here, with perhaps only Golden Whisky troublesome in that regard.

And I do think he is on a good mark on his second start for Georgie Howell, who ran him over hurdles at Wetherby earlier in the month, presumably to freshen him up for this. He travelled with plenty of zest there before getting tired that day.

The horse won his previous chase start, when trained by Henry de Bromhead, when beating the 145-rated Snow Falcon at Tramore in July and a mark of 143 is very fair on that evidence.

The drying ground is in his favour here - he won a Grade 1 at Aintree on good in 2019, and the Tramore victory came on that going - and Howell's daughter, 5lb claimer Tabitha Worsley, takes the ride and presumably knows him very well from his homework.

It's an obvious punt, but it didn't look a great race to me, and 40/1+ is cool for him. Slate House, initially put in at 22s by one firm on Thursday, was the other that half-appealed in first-time blinkers.

Why the Boy is a bet

I backed Ronald Pump each-way at 8s on Tuesday for the Long Walk at 14:25, but I have gone off him a bit for tipping purposes as he is around two points shorter and everything of note in the five-day field has stood their ground.

The staying hurdling division is very weak but all the big guns in the UK have rocked up here. However, I still feel the sole Irish raider could have their measure after a cracking second to Honeysuckle in first-time blinkers in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse.

But it is an incredibly tight-knit affair, with Buzz having the potential to rise above the relative mediocrity of the division, and I can leave the race alone, while cheering on my bet earlier in the week.

Seven of the 13-strong field in the 3m handicap chase at 15:00 like to go forward, and hopefully a patient ride on Caribean Boy in first-time cheekpieces on his first start over 3m can pay dividends here. Not too far off the pace though, Mr Jacob, for all the jockey believes the horse needs time and space as he doesn't like being crowded (the horse, that is).

Back him at 8/1 each way, four places, with the Sportsbook.

I don't normally back horses with their stamina to prove each-way but I will make an exception here as I am pretty sure he wants 3m on the evidence of his seventh in the Plate over an extended 2m4f at the Festival and in the Paddy Power last time and, once again, I don't fancy many of his rivals.

And this is a horse who also won over 2m4f in heavy at Haydock in his novice days.

He has not kicked on from his impressive defeat of Fiddlerontheroof in a fast time on good ground at Newbury last season but he is one seriously well handicapped horse if all clicks for him here, having been dropped another 3lb for that Paddy Power run last time.

He went off 7/1 favourite for the 26-runner Topham two starts ago off a 7lb higher mark than this.

I don't have many Irish cliff horses (make that none) but N'golo was on the verge of being one last season and he rocks up here for new trainer Ann Duffield, who had a winner at Carlisle in the week, in first-time pieces.

But the handicapper could have been kinder than giving him a mark of 139 in the 2m3f handicap hurdle at 14:05, for all the grey is a big 33s poke with the Betfair Sportsbook.

Soul Emotion will be an obvious port of call for many off a falling mark on his first start for Dan Skelton - so I was very surprised by the opening 10s with the Sportsbook - but I thought it was a nasty little race to solve, and not least from a tactical and pace angle with six of the nine possible forward-goers.

It is all guesswork, obviously, but I'd be of the opinion that Remastered would have won the Ladbrokes Trophy but for falling 4 out - and what a fall it was, too - and there is no surprise whatsoever to see him heading the betting for the Tommy Whittle (14:40 at Haydock) off the same mark here.

But this is a different test altogether around here in heavy after that turf-cruncher.

I quite like plenty of others towards the top of the market too, so I was going to give this race a swerve, but the Betfair Sportsbook tempted me in with the 25/1 about Just Your Type each-way, five places.

In fact, I reckon he would remain a bet at 16s, with the extra place concession.

The case for him is pretty straightforward.

He shaped better than the bare form suggested when third to wide-margin winner Royale Pagaille off a 9lb higher mark than this in the Peter Marsh over course and distance last season, he is clearly suited by trip and ground, and he comes here on the back of a good second at Uttoxeter last time.

The winner hasn't been out since but the third finished a close second at Sedgefield afterwards and the fifth won by 5 lengths at Doncaster on his following start, so that is decent form.

He is also 1lb lower than when winning over 3m2f at Uttoxeter last November, so his attractive mark and suitability for this race is there for all to see.

Good luck.


Benson at 16/1 each way, four places, in Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot on Saturday (3.35pm).

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