Saturday Racing Tips: Three bets for the Northumberland Plate

Newcastle racecourse
Newcastle racecourse where TC is backing five on Saturday

Tony Calvin has selected three bets for Saturday's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. He's also backing one in the Vase earlier in the afternoon and another at Newmarket...

"Sir Chauvelin has course form figures of 46112. The 2 1/2 -length sixth was in this race last season, and the fourth was when beaten a similar distance in the Vase in 2016... He is possibly more exposed than most, but he has an awful lot going for him for a 16/1 poke."

There are a few races that I won't be going near from a betting point of view on Saturday, so I am going to try a new approach and not mention those contests for a change.

The starting point for many will be the Irish Derby, but we will get to that later - or, perhaps not if there isn't a bet to be had - but the big betting race of the weekend is undoubtedly the Northumberland Plate at 14:05.

The "gamble" on Withhold was being talked up by the bookmakers on Monday but it certainly hasn't come to fruition yet, and the trainer's comments certainly don't suggest another plunge along the lines of the Cesarewitch punt that saw the horse backed into 5/1 and hose up by three-and-a-half lengths is in the offing.

The negatives are that he is 12lb higher here and he hasn't had a prep race this time around. The former doesn't bother me at all - he does have the potential to blow this field apart - but the latter does, as he has missed a couple of early-season targets and his trainer admits that he hasn't been right for a lot of this campaign.

Sir Chauvelin has a lot going for him

I can't have him on my betting radar at around 4/1, for all this Group 1 Goodwood Cup entry could still be lobbed in off 99, and my main bet in the race is Sir Chauvelin at 16/1 each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook, five places.

His trainer Jim Goldie is having his best spell of the campaign with seven winners this month (he has only had 19 in 2018) and his horse comes here in great nick, following up his Redcar fourth over 1m2f with what was a career-best second to the fast-progressing Dash Of Spice over 1m4f at Royal Ascot.

He had to wait for a run there as well, but powered home once finally getting clear, and he is 2lb well-in on that effort.

He will be even more at home over this longer trip, and he has course form figures of 46112. The 2 1/2 -length sixth was in this race last season, and the fourth was when beaten a similar distance in the Vase in 2016.

The quick turnaround doesn't trouble me either, as he has won after just breaks of just nine and 12 days in the past. He is possibly more exposed than most, but he has an awful lot going for him for a 16/1 poke.

Two more for the Northumberland Plate at 14:05

I do think Amazing Red has to be on everyone's shortlist after his Newmarket win last time - which leaves him 4lb well-in here, even taking into account his 5lb penalty - and he is another bet in the race. Back him each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook at 7/1, too, as I find it hard to see him being out of the first five.

He could well have been coming here seeking a four-timer had he not met trouble in running on the Rowley course last month, and he had a lovely sighter over an inadequate 1m4f here in March, too.

The fact that her stable has had a few winners in recent days nearly saw me put up Natural Scenery at around the 12/1 mark, not least because she has course form figures of 112 - she was a half-length second to Higher Power in this race last season - and the handicapper has given her a big chance.

She is 2lb lower than last year, and 4lb lower than when an unlucky third to Nakeeta in the Ebor. If she is fit and straight after her break from March - and she has a superb record when fresh - then she is pretty big at 12/1+.

I was going to stick with just the two bets in this race but I have always said that I will tip what I punt. I will be backing Natural Scenery at 13.012/1 or bigger win-only on the exchange, so I am going in three-handed here.

I will probably get slagged off for doing so, but so be it. I'll be betting that way at the very least.

Bedrock looks a standout bet in the Vase at 13:30

I toyed with Solair Flair back on an all-weather surface in the opening 6f handicap - sorry, I said I wouldn't do that - but Bedrock is surely a bet at 10.09/1 or bigger in the Vase at 13:30.

The obvious negative here is that he is drawn 20 of 20, but a double-digit berth has not been a massive drawback in the four runnings of the Vase/Plate - the two winners of this race have come from 11 and 13 - and Bedrock looks a stand-out to me.

He developed into a 145-rated hurdler this spring, trading very short in the run when third in a Grade 1 at Liverpool in April on soft ground, and he absolutely bolted up on quick ground over 2m at Musselburgh at the start of the month, after which this race was immediately namechecked.

He is 3lb well-in despite his 5lb penalty, and this talented hurdler promises to have a lot in hand off a mark of just 87 here. I think he could gag up if getting the breaks from his outside stall. That's a fair if though, granted.

And one bet at Newmarket...

I thought Cotubanama ran a perfectly respectable tenth in the Albany at Royal Ascot when I put her up at 100/1, and she is a perfectly backable 14/1 chance in Newmarket's 13:10.

However, I am going to take a chance on Alicia Darcy at 50.049/1 or bigger.

On bare form, you should probably put another nought on that guide price, as she was soundly beaten at Nottingham on her debut (though the second and third have won since).

But she showed bags of promise there, zig-zagging throughout as the gaps continually closed on her as well as her obvious inexperience, and I think she will come on an absolute ton for the race. Hopefully, she can race without being pestered here and get into a smooth racing rhythm, and the extra furlong looks sure to suit on breeding.

I was very surprised to see that James Given has yet to saddle a 2yo winner this season but it was interesting to see that he was going to let her take her chance in the Hilary Needler before she got withdrawn on vet's advice (she was 33/1) at Beverley.

Of course, it is a guess-up and a minimum-stakes bet, but a lot of the cream came out of this race at the overnight stage and I think it could be ripe for an upset. I talked up Knight To Behold's chance in the Irish Derby at the Curragh at 33/1 on Monday (now around a 20/1 chance), but it is race I can probably leave alone, if I am being honest.

I can't see any guaranteed pace in the race - maybe they will go forward on Dee Ex Bee on this easier track - and it could get messy and tactical.

Good luck.

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