Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin's backing Henry to hoover up at double carpet

Betfair tipster Tony Calvin
Tony Calvin has a quartet of tips to consider on Saturday

We have some competitive handicaps to look forward to on ITV Racing on Saturday and Tony Calvin has four double-figure tips for you to consider on the afternoon...

"He is also two from two at this track, and one of those victories came in this very race in 2018 off a 6lb higher mark."

William Henry at 33/1 each-way, six places, with Betfair Sportsbook in 14:40 at Kempton

For once, I approached a Saturday tipping column free of ante-post recommendations, so it was very much a clean slate.

Mind you, I came close to tipping Champagne Court and Caribean Boy at 8/1 on the Kempton card earlier in the week and I wish I had, as their respective handicap chases on ITV have cut up massively.

Jumps racing is not in fine fettle at the moment.

Lots of ticks for Ch'tibello in Lanzarote

Not having any prior midweek bets for a change actually concentrates the mind and stops you becoming lazy by defaulting to your thoughts four days previously, when a lot will have obviously changed in the mean-time, not least the prices.

That of course is true of 11yo Ch'tibello in the Lanzarote at 14:40, the main betting race of the day.

He was one of three on my radar (silly phrase but it will do, the others being Green Book and Dans Le Vent) for this race on Tuesday morning, when he was 20/1 in a place when I filed my column, but only a top price of 10/1 by the time I hit the sack (mind you, that is around 9pm these days).

So do you want to be backing him at his current price of around 12/1 on the exchange when this is one of the Kempton contests that has stood up so well at the overnight stage?

Now, I think he must be on your shortlist here, having been given two kind, and very promising, rides on his return after a serious injury last season - they have allowed him to enjoy and finish off his races - and the handicapper has seemingly applauded the gentle approach by dropping him a generous 5lb to a mark of just 142.

I have no real insight into whether these claimers are value - I take next to no notice of jockeys, bar two I avoid on the Flat and Jumps - but Mr Tristan Durrell lightens the burden by another 7lb and this is a horse whose best effort probably came in a 2m4f Aintree Grade 1, so I am certainly not worried about the trip for the 2019 County Hurdle winner.

And he has run two screamers in his three starts at this course, all in Grade 1 or 2 company, while the fine weather is a plus.

Given the prize money was upped £55k to £100k this year, I imagine he is one of a few in here who have been working backwards from this race - this is as deep a handicap as I have seen in yonks - but as ever, it all comes down to price.

The answer is yes at 13.012/1 or bigger, and I certainly wouldn't go lower than 10/1 (there was 14s available in the marketplace on Thursday afternoon, though that was quickly clipped into 11s).

Big price Henry can help pay the bills

I am also personally going to be looking to back Dans Le Vent at 16s or bigger win-only on the exchange, as I thought the handicapper could have upped him after his excellent run in the Relkeel last time (when Isobel Williams couldn't claim her 5lb), but it would be pushing it to stick up three in here and my main bet in the race has to be William Henry at 33/1 each-way, six places on the Betfair Sportsbook.

There has been a lot of love doing the rounds for Sam Thomas in recent seasons and I will be hitting pause on the remote, and kissing his pretty little mug on my TV if his 12yo lands the spoils here and he is interviewed afterwards.

The handicapper, as is in his brief these days, has wasted no opportunity in dropping this horse 10lb for two runs this season - and Jack Tudor takes off another 3lb - and that was on the back of two non-staying efforts over 3m.

He simply doesn't stay that far, his fourth over 3m in a Grade 1 hurdle in 2019 at Aintree notwithstanding, and those two runs this term weren't devoid of promise, prior to his stamina hitting on empty.

He is now down to a mark of 139 , and this is a horse who was rated 157 after winning the Grade 2 National Spirit at Fontwell just five starts ago.

All of his best efforts have come in cheekpieces, and they are back on here, having been missing at Wincanton last time, and the first-time tongue-tie is an interesting addition, too.

He is also two from two at this track, and one of those victories came in this very race in 2018 off a 6lb higher mark.

The drying conditions are also in his favour. He is a bet, and would remain so at 25s and bigger.

Missed the boat with Champagne price

The ITV opener is the 2m4f110yd handicap chase at 13:32, and I admit to shedding a tear when seeing the race had cut up from 16 to seven at the overnight stage (the maximum field is actually 20), having declined to tip and back Champagne Court at 8s on Tuesday.

He is now the market leader at approaching 3s on the exchange, and I have to let him go, especially as he does have to translate his good recent form over hurdles to fences.

But he clearly has an awful lot going for him, as he returns to chasing on a very exploitable mark, with conditions to suit. But the price has gone.

Falco Blitz would be my alternative at 7/1+ in a race where I didn't see any guaranteed pace, and I imagine the layers will be on red alert for any move for the once-promising Locks Corner for a yard hitting a bit of form again.

Chasers-at-fence-1280.gif

Talking of tears, I also think it is a crying shame when an £80k Grade 2 race attracts just four runners (though very predictable) even if there were just seven five-day entries for the 14:05.

If this race was worth £40k, you'd probably get the same amount of runners - a lack of suitable horses is the problem, not cash, though Lingfield's meeting next week certainly didn't help matters - and a pretty uninspiring race it is, too.

Eldorado Allen is the only one of the quartet in the field coming in here on the back of a decent run but the problem is he carries a 6lb penalty for his Haldon Gold Cup win and his three opponents are all better than him at their peak.

Throw in the fact that this is another race in which it is difficult to get a handle on tactics - maybe Eldorado Allen goes forward - and it is incredibly easy to sail on by without a bet.

Veteran Phil worth chancing in race set to suit

I really am a sucker for an oldie seemingly on the downgrade (see the Lanzarote), and I make no apologies for sticking with A Toi Phil at 14/1 with the Sportsbook at 15:15.

I would have probably put him up at 25s each-way on Tuesday, had that not been trimmed into 16s just before I filed, but I am happy to play here, as I thought he shaped better than his finishing position suggested at Cheltenham over 2m4f on his return.

He was weaker in the market than a premature kitten there (went off at a Betfair SP of 65.79. after some very lukewarm pre-race comments by connections) but he travelled well in rear before dropping out of contention, though he did rally to a degree on the run-in.

That suggested to me that 3m is definitely what he needs at 12-years-old and the handicapper dropped him 6lb for that run, too.

We all know he is thrown in on his Irish form, he ran well on this card last season, and the bonus of this race cutting up to just eight runners (from 17 at five-day stage) is that all his best form has come in small fields. His previous trainer said he likes plenty of space in his races and he should get that here.

And hopefully not because he is tailed-off last. The 14s went at 4.30pm on Wednesday, but 12s is good, and any 10/1 or bigger is fair.

Elsewhere, we are asked to take 7/2 about Caribean Boy now and I have to pass. I have no doubts he could destroy and outclass this field at his best, but he doesn't have a convincing profile and I won't be recommending him as a saver on the tipping front.

As I wrote recently, if I am playing at the front end of the market this year, they have to be rock -solid, and he clearly isn't.

To be honest, I may chuck a few quid at him if he hits 4s or bigger on the exchange, so I don't lose on the race if he wins.

Little interest in small-field races

I won't waste yours or my time writing about the pitifully small fields in the 13:18 and 13:50 as I would be waffling on in the knowledge that "no bet" was the inevitable sign-off.

The dearth of decent 2m handicap chasers is a massive worry for the sport though, and novices' chases are a constant betting joke, week-in, week-out, for all Mint Condition, runner-up in the Grade 2 hurdle on this card last season, looks a fair enough alternative at 9/2 to Threeunderthrufive.

Hoping Gentleman can be nice to us

On first inspection, I pretty much decided I wasn't going to be playing in the seven-runner 2m5f Grade 2 novices' hurdle at 14:25 but then I was half-temped by Gentleman At Arms at 16/1 and bigger after my opening sweep of watching the replays of the contenders.

Then, upon a deeper dig, I was persuaded that the price is too big.

Back him win-only at 16/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook.

He clearly doesn't have the form or time credentials of many of his rivals but he was a decent 1m6f-2m horse on the Flat with Harry Dunlop, and one well suited by aggressive tactics when winning at Nottingham in the summer, so it was no surprise he left his debut hurdles run behind him when winning by a wide margin at Huntingdon last time, when stepped up in trip and going from the front.

His task was made easier when the favourite fell 3 out there but he still beat a decent sort in second - the runner-up went into the race in form and rated 115, and he beat him 13 lengths off levels - and you'd fancy this yard will keep on improving him, especially given where they acquired him from for 40,000 guineas at the Horses In Training sales in October.

I appreciate it is very much a guess-up, given the nature of the race and the obvious progress he needs to make just to be competitive here, but I would have regretted not having a stab at the price. So, in we go.

Market leaders will be tough to beat in Classic Chase

Best of luck trying to solve the seven-runner Pertemps qualifier at 15:35, especially as I couldn't see any pace in the race - maybe Keeper Hill - but one positive could be the fact that the 140-rated Alaphilippe was left in the Stayers' Hurdle recently.

Mind you, he is only 3/1 for his return and 5/2 poke Riggs just about looks the right favourite in a race that has that "After You Claude" look to it, but clearly the Classic Chase at 15.00 is a more enticing betting heat.

Or so I thought.

I very much like the look of Gericault Roque and Corach Rambler at the top of the market, and I suspect they could prove very tough nuts to crack.

My alternatives were last year's winner Notachance, aimed specifically at this once again and in a first-time visor (it apparently perked him up markedly when he was worked in them on Monday), and the horse he beat ½ length in this race last season, Achille.

Achille was probably my number one choice given he lost the thick-end of 15 lengths when badly hampered at the start of the Welsh National last time, was only beaten 16 lengths into fourth, and is 3lb lower here.

However, he has had two absolute gruellers at Aintree and Chepstow of late, he isn't that flash a price at around 10s, and I do fully respect the front two (and a couple of others), so I can sit this one out.

Pick your battles and know when to retreat, as someone should have told that clown in Westminster at midday on Wednesday.

PROFIT AND LOSS (FROM APRIL 14)

Staked: 249pts
Returns: 459.66pts
P/L: +210.66

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