Saturday Racing Tips: Four big priced fancies at Haydock, York and Newmarket

Tony's best bet for Saturday comes from York
Tony's best bet for Saturday comes from York

Our big prices tipster Tony Calvin returns with his regular preview of the Channel 4 cards on Saturday, where he likes the look of a 16/1 runner at York among others...

"She improved the best part of two stones last season, running away with a 6f handicap at this course before finishing off with an excellent fifth in a listed race at Beverley. And she really caught my eye when travelling powerfully for a long way on her reappearance here over course and distance, before weakening out of it in the closing 1f or so."

Back Willbeme at 17.016/1 in the 14:55 at York

There have been varying degrees of rain about on Friday but, rightly or wrongly, I am going to proceed on the basis of good ground at all three of Saturday's Channel 4 meetings.

Haydock is problematical though, I admit, as that is the course that appears most in danger of turning soft.

I certainly hope that the rain doesn't get into the ground there, as we don't want to be denied the chance to see Limato in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at 15:45.

Especially as I want him to make the market for my each-way fancy in the race, Salt Island, who I suggest backing win and place at 13.012/1 and 3.55/2 or bigger.

Limato certainly sets the standard in here and has been tremendously impressive in carrying all before him.

But the fact is that this is easily his stiffest task to date - he only has 2lb in hand of soft-ground lover Tooschoolforschool, who I also considered tipping, for example - even before you factor in any more rain seemingly being a negative for his chances. He is definitely opposable at around 5/4 in a race that has a lot of depth.

Salt Island interests me most at the prices. He was tremendously impressive when winning a Newmarket handicap off a mark of 93 first time up, and I think that he could have given Adaay plenty to think about last time with a more positive ride.

To be fair to Jamie Spencer, post-race comments from the trainer suggest that they were very worried about the draw in one and it could have been a planned and agreed decision to tack and across and drop him in and get cover.

But it didn't work out, and he sat too far off the pace and got going all too late, finishing full of running in third. In the circumstances, he did well to be beaten by just three lengths.

I think this exciting sprinter will reverse the form with Adaay with a more aggressive ride and he could just lower the colours of Limato, too.

One negative is that he disappointed on soft ground at Doncaster last season, so keep an eye on that nasty weather. Presumably Charlie Hills will pull him out if he deems the ground too soft anyway, so it will be no damage done. And he may not be the only trainer withdrawing his horses.

At the time of writing - it is currently raining at the track as I type away - playing in the other races at Haydock is problematical. Indeed, it is only 9.15am, and Jordan Princess has already been pulled out of the Fillies and Mares Group 3 at 14:00, presumably on account of the worsening ground.

Of course, the safest thing to do, at this stage, is to side with horses who act with cut. But, then again, you don't know what the shape of the race will be with non-runners and what price you will be getting.

For example, Queen Of Ice would really interest to me in that race at 14:00, with the stable back in form and the filly seemingly the only pace in the race. She could have her own way in front.

But William Haggas only runs his horses when everything is in their favour and this filly looks to have a preference for good or faster ground. I imagine that is why he has left Wonderstruck in the race, as well, as a possible alternative.

So I'll just stick with the Salt Island play at Haydock at this stage.


There are three competitive races at York and I wouldn't be surprised to see nine-year-old Times Up turn back the clock and win the 1m6f listed contest at 14:20, a race he won back in 2011. But it is a tricky race, with six or so possible winners, so I'll pass.

I will be getting involved in the two big-field handicaps though, with Willbeme a pretty strong fancy in the 14:55. Back her at 17.016/1 - she rates the bet of the day at the prices.

She improved the best part of two stones last season, running away with a 6f handicap at this course before finishing off with an excellent fifth in a listed race at Beverley.

And she really caught my eye when travelling powerfully for a long way on her reappearance here over course and distance, before weakening out of it in the closing 1f or so.

That was a very encouraging run, and the handicapper has made it all the more so by dropping her 1lb for it. She won't be bothered by what the weather throws at us - she is effective with some cut and on fast ground - and her small stable remain in the winners courtesy of Southwell specialist Misu Mac. She has a lot going for her in what is obviously a very competitive race.

Foxtrot Romeo has just made it through the door of the last chance saloon in the 13:45. As someone who looks like a bouncer anyway, I was going to bar him entry for being too awkward a character - until I saw him wearing cheek pieces and a tongue-tie at the entrance.

Although he didn't run badly and wasn't beaten far at Newmarket last time, he was clearly a little disappointing.

But perhaps he just doesn't have the legs to win these 6f turf handicaps and stepping up a furlong could suit, as hopefully will the reapplication of the headgear (the aforementioned tongue tie and cheekpieces) that he performed so creditably in in a series of handicaps last summer. The fact that the handicapper has dropped him 2lb since Newmarket is another big plus.

I have no doubt that he is capable of winning off a mark of 94, and he gets my cash one last time at odds of 15.014/1.


Over at Newmarket, I have to give Tannaaf one more chance in what is a pretty hot 1m2f listed race at 14:45- Nafaqa is down in class after taking in the Dante and Peacock's second to Golden Horn in the Fielden last time reads pretty well, too.

I got stuck into Tannaaf on his reappearance over course and distance last month and was left cursing as he got no sort of run in finishing fourth.

And then I rowed him with him again in the Chester Vase next time, where he was travelling noticeably well before his engine conked out when asked for his effort coming round the bend.

It looked as if an extended 1m4f on soft ground stretched his stamina there, so back to 1m2f on better ground and with Ryan Moore on board, I have to give him one more chance.

Anyway, as it stands the bare form of his five-length fourth to Hans Holbein and subsequent Goodwood winner Storm The Stars at Chester reads very well, and I think he is a fair bet at 6.05/1 or bigger.

I thought Penhill won with a lot more in hand than the winning margin of a short-head suggested at Ascot last time but, unfortunately for connections, so did the handicapper, who has raised him a pretty harsh 7lb for that win.

But you can understand why - and the third was just touched at Goodwood on Saturday - as that did look strong form and when the Melbourne Cup is mentioned as the long-term target after the race, the handicapper isn't going to err on the side of caution. Especially as that was his first start for Luca Cumani since leaving James Bethell.

I fully expect him to take another step closer to Australia in the 15:20 today - especially as he acts on soft as well as fast ground - but I have let him go unbacked at the odds in what is a much better race than Ascot.

Recommended Bets
Back Foxtrot Romeo at 15.014/1 in the 13:45 at York
Back Tannaaf at 6.05/1 in the 14:45 at Newmarket
Back Willbeme at 17.016/1 in the 14:55 at York
Back Salt Island win and place, at 13.012/1 and 3.55/2 respectively, in the 15:45 at Haydock

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