Saturday Racing Tips: Get on Carole's Destrier in the Greatwood
Pre-Cheltenham preparations haven't stopped Tony Calvin having four bets in this Saturday's racing as he returns to the tipping chair...
"The placed horses both ran well in defeat on their next starts, so Carole's Destrier really does look attractively weighted here off just a 2lb higher mark. It's clearly a very competitive handicap, full of old-stagers with viable claims, but he is the stand-out to me, especially with his stable banging in three winners in the past week after a very quiet spell."
It is pretty slim pickings on ITV's seven races on Saturday, so I may well stray out of my terrestrial brief, but let's start off with a look at the brace of Newbury contests on the award-winning channel.
He's a trier
First up on the box is the Greatwood Veterans' Handicap Chase at 14:05, where I make no apologies for going in again on Carole's Destrier at 7/1 each way with the Betfair Sportsbook, four places.
I put him up here at a double-figure price for the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time, and he travelled powerfully off the pace throughout there.
I was getting reasonably excited about the 20/1 shot's chances before he was badly hampered by a faller after halfway, and was immediately pulled up, upon which I let out a fair few expletives form the Ascot bar where I was watching the race.
It was obviously far too early to be able to tell what would have happened but he was tanking along, jumping slickly and seemingly loving it, and he can race off a 1lb lower mark here.
He probably wouldn't want the ground to get too much worse from the current good to soft, though only around 3mm is forecast before and during racing on the weather website I use and you can argue that some of his better efforts have come on soft, anyway.
His career-high performance came at this track when just failing to reel in , Native River, in the 2016 Hennessy (off an 11lb higher mark than this) and he also netted his first win for a long while when winning over course and distance in December.
The placed horses both ran well in defeat on their next starts, so Carole's Destrier really does look attractively weighted here off just a 2lb higher mark.
It's clearly a very competitive handicap, full of old-stagers with viable claims, but he is the stand-out to me, especially with his stable banging in three winners in the past week after a very quiet spell.
The fact that Zalvados was pulled out of his intended engagement at Newbury on Friday is good news for each-way punters, as all 16 (currently) stand their ground in the Greatwood Gold Cup at 14:40.
He didn't win it last season but Paul Nicholls tends to farm this 2m4f handicap, and he is three-handed in here, with Dolos my pick of his trio.
However, this is an exceptionally trappy race - well done to anyone who managed to burgle the 16/1 and 14/1 about War Sound on Monday afternoon - and I am inclined to give it a miss.
Valdez came closest to getting a bit of my money at around the 12/1 mark as I thought he shaped really well at Ascot last time and he has inched down another 1lb in the weights for it. Furthermore, he is a course winner who is now 11lb lower than in his pomp.
But that was five years ago and Valdez doesn't have the most solid of profiles, and I can just about leave him alone. You know what happens next, obviously.
Pop the Champagne
He predictably hasn't been totally missed in the market, but there is still some mileage in Champagne City's price of [8.0] or bigger in the 15:10, a 2m handicap hurdle on Racing TV.
Ideally, he is another horse who wouldn't want too much more rain, though he has a good run on soft to his name, but other than that he looks to hold pretty strong claims.
The Cheltenham hill again found him out last time, but he travelled strongly into the race, and traded odds-on before weakening after the last.
He has been dropped 1lb for that, and this track promises to suit him much better than Cheltenham, though his previous third to Al Dancer and Not That Fuisse at that track was a very good effort in hindsight. He is handicapped to go very close for a stable in very fair form; maybe expect him to be delivered later on Saturday.
The Grade 2 novices' hurdle at Kelso at 15:15 sees Betfair Hurdle fourth placed Getaway Trump heading the market at around even money.
That's probably a fair enough assessment of his chances but it could be that Rouge Vif, who missed Kempton last week with a bruised foot, will take some pegging back if seeing off any unwanted attention from Get Out The Gate on the front end.
In fact, he is probably the overpriced one in this small field at around 4/1 on the exchange - he is only 1lb shy of the favourite on official ratings - but he presumably hasn't had the ideal run-up to this race given the reason for his no-show last week.
Dwan a bet at disappointing Doncaster
Doncaster struggled badly for runners on Friday and the fields aren't exactly plentiful in the four ITV races, with a turn-out of just seven for the 55k Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at 15:35, particularly disappointing.
As the betting suggests, you can make a case for any of the field - the outsider is 12/1 - but I am going to hide behind the sofa and chuck a few quid on Barney Dwan at [9.0] or bigger.
There promises to be a good pace on here with Rocky's Treasure and Dingo Dollar in the line-up and hopefully Sean Bowen can get the selection switched off and into a good jumping rhythm in midfield.
Unfortunately, he is prone to the odd error or four, but things really didn't fall his way at Kempton last time, when he was going well on the inner when badly hampered by faller Josses Hill and he had just got back into contention when he took the third-last by the roots.
Roots rocking indeed.
He is handicapped to win again off this mark if he can put in a proficient round of jumping, the ground is perfect for him and the 3m2f trip doesn't concern me; he was bang there when unseating at the last in a Pertemps qualifier over 3m2f in the soft at Warwick in January 2017.
Over to you, Mr Bowen.
I am happy to take on Danse Idol at the price in the mares' novices' hurdle at 15:00 and Shantung could be the answer at [10.0] or bigger.
She shaped well behind a well-regarded mare in Yellow Dockets over 2m5f at Warwick last time. She recorded a fair time there, and is only 5lb shy of Danse Idol on official figures.
The big question mark is whether she will stay this 3m, but she is a sister to a 3m2f winner and another of her siblings, Super Duty, was only beaten a head in a Kim Muir over 3m1f56yd in 2013. And Shantung's trainer Lucy Wadham had won with her last three runners going into Friday's racing (and she has just had a winner at Doncaster from her only runner of the day, so make that the last four).
The 2m handicap chase doesn't interest me and the same is true of the opening 3m handicap hurdle on Doncaster's card, where Who's My Jockey was just a little short for my liking.
That wasn't a joke by the way. Good luck.
Tony Calvin P&L
April 14 2017 to March 1 2019 inclusive (all recommended exchange bets are settled at BSP)
Carole’s Destrier at 7/1 each way, four places, with Betfair Sportsbook in 14:05 Newbury
Shantung at [10.0] or bigger in 15:00 Doncaster
Champagne City at [8.0] or bigger in 15:10 Newbury
Barney Dwan at [9.0] or bigger in 15:35 Doncaster