Horse Racing Tips

Saturday Racing Tips: Pipes of Peace among a trio of bets at Musselburgh and Haydock

Musselburgh racecourse
TC's backing two at Musselburgh

"I do like the angle of Brian the Snail being delivered late off a fast pace, back to 7f off a falling handicap mark, and I can just about convince myself that he showed enough first-time-out to be worth a small bet at 17.016/1 or bigger."

A quiet Saturday afternoon it may be but Tony Calvin still manages to find a trio of promising bets from the meetings at Musselburgh and Haydock.

It's really tricky racing at Musselburgh and I am never one to force the issue where betting and tipping is concerned, so it's going to be a quieter weekend than normal.

Mind you, I always do a secondary sweep of the races and the odds before I file, and invariably something else crops up. And quite a few get ditched if the price has disappeared through the afternoon.

Sometimes I am overly price-sensitive - and it is annoying when horses like Beringer subsequently double in price and win, as he did on Thursday - but you have to draw the line somewhere and not just tip regardless.

Anyway, it is 6am on Friday morning as I type this and my first-inspection hat is on, so let's rock and roll.

Pipes of Peace can handle the pace

The barren form of the yard is an obvious worry and he will need to break well from stall one, so as not to get shuffled back - that can be a killer around here, with that run to the first bend - but Pipes Of Peace looks by far the most interesting proposition at 15.014/1 or bigger in the Queen's Cup at 15:35.

Mark Johnston is throwing four decent darts at the prize and my old mate of his, Austrian School, heads the market. I can fully see the case for the front-running Yorkshire Cup entry but he is short enough in the betting now and there is no shortage of pace in this race, even if he gets across on the lead from stall 14.

One horse who hopefully will benefit from a stalking ride off a fast pace is Pipes Of Peace, having his first start at this 1m6f trip.

I say waiting ride but he has made the running before, and some early dash will be needed from his inside berth here so he doesn't get detached. However, he is a hold-up horse and I expect him to be allowed to creep into the contest.

He has a very interesting profile in that he has done all his racing for Seamus Durack at Kempton since joining from Aidan O'Brien in late 2018.

He has made good strides since then (officially improving 15lb), and he really caught my eye - unsurprisingly, as I had backed him - when he was a 33/1 second to the progressive Forbidden Planet on the all-weather track last time.

Now, I am not saying he would have beaten the easy winner there, but he may have bustled him up a bit more had Tom Queally not had to wait to start his run. In any case, it was an excellent effort and one that suggested that he has a good prize in him off the same mark.

The question marks (aside from stable form) are the trip and his ability to show the same form on turf.

His pedigree would give you a fair degree of hope the 1m6f will be okay - he is a Galileo half-brother to a winner at the trip - and his run-style over 1m4f definitely suggests it is worth a go.

And he had good form on turf when trained by O'Brien, not being beaten that far in a Group 3 as a juvenile.

Given the prize money on offer, hopefully this would have been on Durack's radar for a while and the trainer has done very well with another stayer, Cayirli, a recent Kempton winner who nearly pulled off a 40/1 shock in the Queen Alexandra last season.

Small bet on Brian the Snail

There is also the prospect of plenty of pace in the opener at 13:50 and whoever bags the rail spot rounding the turn will have halved in price in the in-running market. I thought this race was very tricky to call as a result.

As is often the case, I grant you, the outsider of the party, Brian The Snail, was the one that kept on gnawing away me as the bet in the race at 16/1+.

He was rated 100 after winning on quick ground at Doncaster (he had a winter wind op) in June last season and is now back to a mark of just 92 after his run in the Spring Mile at that track last month.

I do like the angle of him being delivered late off a fast pace, back to 7f off a falling handicap mark, and I can just about convince myself that he showed enough first-time-out to be worth a small bet at 17.016/1 or bigger.

He was a bit free early doors at Doncaster, and was continually messed around by Gulf Of Poets for the first half of the race, and a more even tempo of race should suit here over a furlong shorter.

The Royal Mile handicap at 14:25 was not for me. If pressed, I may have forgiven Lincoln Park a poor reappearance run at Newbury at 16/1 - that Newbury ground was friend-or-foe, with no in-between - but it wouldn't be the biggest surprise were William Haggas' Politicise to bolt up.

I am trying to wean myself off getting overly-involved in 5f/6f handicaps and looking at the 17-runner Scottish Sprint Cup at 15:00 certainly helped in that regard!

My short-list of two were Copper Knight and Line Of Reason, but I couldn't get my punting head on, so just the two decent-sized plays for me at Musselburgh.

Red Tornado well worth chancing at Haydock

We also have three races from Haydock to consider, where I thought Red Tornado could go okay in the 1m7f144yd handicap hurdle at 14:05 despite the weights going up and leaving him on top weight.

Let's be honest, the training switch from Dan Skelton to Chris Fairhurst wouldn't be seen as a positive move by anyone (he was bought for just £10,000 in September) but he ran his best race yet for his new stable when third to Dino Velvet at Stratford last time, and the winner obviously went on to run a blinder behind Verdana Blue in the Scottish Champion Hurdle (though the third was a little disappointing since).

Off the same mark here, he could well be worth chancing. He has his ground and he ran well for a long way in the Swinton here in 2017. Back him to small stakes at 15.014/1 or bigger.

Haydock 1280 .jpg

Duel At Dawn showed a bit more in the first-time blinkers at Exeter last time and has been dropped another 2lb.

He is now on a very attractive mark and could well be the one to beat in the 14:40, but he may be seen to better effect on a softer surface - though he does have form on good - and I can let the race go without an interest, all things considered.

Back on this better ground and in first-time cheek pieces, Diamond Fort would possibly be my idea of the best bet at the prices in the 15:15. But, again, there is no point in having a punt for the sake of it.

Best of luck, and have a good Easter break.

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