Saturday Racing Tips: Whiff of a gamble about Tony Calvin's best bet of the day

Betfair Tipster Tony Calvin
Tony Calvin has a quartet of bet for ITV Racing's Saturday action

We have a bumper day of ITV Racing to look forward to on Saturday and in-form tipster Tony Calvin is back with his quartet of selections for you to consider...

"He is two from three at this track, he has loads of form on soft, he is fairly shooting down the weights, and ran far better than it looked at York last time, a race in which he was beaten just 3½ lengths, anyway."

Back Lahore at 9/1 each-way, four places, with Betfair Sportsbook, 16:20 at Doncaster

No messing around from ITV on Saturday with 10 races from Doncaster, Newbury and Cheltenham, and Ballydoyle are holding out for a hero in the shape of Luxembourg in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at 15:15 on the first-named course.

Reports of what a moderate season Aidan O'Brien has had have been a touch overplayed but there is no denying that they need a top-class juvenile to go into the winter with, and there is no doubt they think they have it in the shape of Luxembourg, who posted an excellent time and form performance when winning the Beresford on his second start.

When Ryan Moore says: "I expect my horse to be good" on Saturday, it has more than a ring of confidence to it.

However, his mount's head carriage worried me a bit at the Curragh - it reminded me a bit of High Definition - the soft ground at Doncaster is an unknown, the stable is going through a very lean spell, and, most importantly, he is around an evens chance against three other horses with similar form claims to him going into the race.

I'd rather be a layer of him in a coin-flip in the circumstances, but I've no massive desire to get involved, even though Imperial Fighter each-way would be my betting call if pushed.

Lahore has a big chance in handicap sprint

There is no denying that Flaming Rib is the standard-setter in the 2yo Listed race at 15:50, as he looked a very fair tool when making all from trap two to win easily off a mark of 101 in a good time at Chester last time.

He sets a fair level for the others to step up to, but of course he has three once-raced winners ranged against him, so I am in no mad rush to back him in a race of too many unknowns for me.

As ever it is the televised handicap on the Donny card that has lured me in, even if these 5f sprints are a bit of lottery.

But hopefully Lahore can provide a winning ticket, so back him at 9/1 each-way, four places at 16:20. There was some 16s knocking about in the marketplace on Thursday afternoon, and it was annoying to see the Sportsbook's 12s go at 9.21am after filing - but the 9s is still acceptable.

I was going to put him up win-only on the exchange, but I want to take a set price about him with the Sportsbook for reasons I will come to shortly, as there still could be some juice in the 9s.

The case for him is straightforward, and pretty compelling (I hope....).

He is two from three at this track, he has loads of form on soft, he is fairly shooting down the weights, and ran far better than it looked at York last time, a race in which he was beaten just 3½ lengths, anyway.

He took a fair bit of rousting that day but was just getting into his stride when interfered with by the winner, who was charging home, going into the final furlong. In the circumstances, I reckon it was a fairly significant hindrance to his finishing effort and placing, and I bet connections were delighted when they saw he was dropped another 3lb for it.

He has now come down 13lb since June, and is now 14lb lower than when beaten just over 2 lengths in the Ayr Gold Cup last September, so I am paying to find out whether this is his day in the sun once again.

Being drawn 1 of 15 on the far side may present its challenges (however, he has pace around him from stalls 3, 5, 6 and 8) but I think he has a big chance, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he was to be challenging favouritism by the off. He has the whiff of a gamble about him - well, clearly, he has already been punted - and he is my bet of the day.

Market fancies have big chances, but no bets at Newbury

Ground-wise, we go up (or down) another level to heavy at Newbury on Saturday after they copped shedloads of rain this week and, like Doncaster, they are racing on Friday too, so it promises to be attritional stuff on an opened-up surface.

If Light Infantry handles conditions, then the impressive Yarmouth debut winner may be the answer to the Horris Hill at 14:00, but I can easily let him go untipped at around 4/1 in a race in which he has plenty to find on the book.

In fact, Noble Truth is probably a fair 5/2 chance on the exchange given that he boasts the best form and is proven in deep ground after his Group 1 Lagardere second, but it is not my type of race. Juvenile contests rarely are, in truth, and I am generally happy to leave them to the time bandits.

I strongly suspect the progressive Siskany will take plenty of stopping in the St Simon Stakes at 14:35, but it is a big fat no from me around 11/10, so on to the five jumps races at Cheltenham.

Side with Nordic and Star in the handicap hurdle

Actually, I can quickly kick out the small-field hurdle, so make that four, starting with the 2m handicap hurdle at 13:45.

There is no surprise at all to see Paul Nicholls' unbeaten Samarrive dominate the market at 9/4 on the fixed odds front but I can't get with him at that kind of price and, despite him being far more exposed than many of those, I am more than happy to side with Nordic Combined at 17.016/1 or bigger, with Sarasota Star my back up at 13.012/1 and greater.

Prices of 14/1 and 10/1 respectively would be fine.

I am little concerned about the absence of a rock-solid pace in here, but I have three candidates for front-running duties, and hopefully they will provide the truly-run contest that the smooth-travelling Nordic Combined thrives in.

He had a bit of a reputation as being a bit of a hound but I reckon he put that tag to bed last season with a series of good efforts, including when second to the dual subsequent winner Calva D'Auge off a 2lb higher mark than this at Taunton last November.

He has run well on all three starts here too, including when second to Hooper here last April, a race in which Sarasota Star was bang there when being brought down two out.

Sarasota Star warmed up nicely for this when winning over fences at Worcester last time, and I reckon there is some mileage in his chances, returning to hurdles over his best trip.

Irish raider worth a nibble

I couldn't get my head around the 3m1f handicap chase at 14:20 at all - though given the stable are in such rude health it is no surprise to see course winner Storm Control bang up there in the betting - and I am not inclined to force a bet in the 2m handicap chase at 15:30 either.

However, I will take a swing in the Pertemps qualifier at 16:05, in the shape of Born Patriot at 10.09/1 or bigger.

Cheltenham runners rail stand 956.jpg

As is in their power, the UK handicapper has spanked another 6lb on Born Patriot's Irish rating, but he strikes me as a horse crying out for a more prominent ride over this trip on a stiff track like this, as he doesn't do anything quickly.

He shaped well enough when fourth to Tullybeg, who he re-opposes here, over 2m6f at Navan on his return and, having looked at his videos, this lightly-raced 5yo surely has a lot of improvement in him when the jockey puts the emphasis more on his stamina.

And Peter Fahey is a man to note when bringing his horses to England. He is 8 from 28 in the past five years alone, and his Belfast Banter did the honours for him at both Cheltenham and Aintree last season.

Of course, you always run the risk of backing a horse having a "sighter" in these races, but his price is fair given what I have seen of some of his finishing efforts, most notably when third over 2m6f at Killarney in May. He is worth a small nibble, and upwards of 8/1 is fair.

Good luck all.

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