There's no post-Cheltenham rest for Tony Calvin who continues his tipping odyssey with bets at Kempton and Uttoxeter from the ITV coverage on Saturday...
"Despite winning on his final start for David Dennis by 18 lengths in February 2020, he can now race off 132 here, having made his debut for O’Brien when fifth to Time To Get Up at Wincanton last month. I think the form of that race was pretty strong for the grade."
Just when I thought I could take a backseat on the tipping front, ITV give us seven handicaps from Kempton and Uttoxeter on Saturday, so on we plough.
This won't be as comprehensive as my usual missives, but Final Nudge shouted out to me in Uttoxeter's Midland Grand National.
O'Brien's runner looks primed to perform well
The opening 33/1 in the marketplace in a few places on Thursday, including the Betfair Sportsbook, may have gone but he remains a bet at 23.022/1 or bigger on the Exchange.
Fergal O'Brien won this race with Chase The Spud in 2017, and his relatively new recruit can hopefully repeat the trick here.
He was in the form of his life either side of Christmas in 2017, finishing a head second in the Badger Ales at Wincanton and then taking third in the Welsh National off a mark of 145 (albeit beaten 15 lengths).
Despite winning on his final start for David Dennis by 18 lengths in February 2020, he can now race off 132 here, having made his debut for O'Brien when fifth to Time To Get Up at Wincanton last month.
I think the form of that race was pretty strong for the grade.
The winner is the strong favourite here, the runner-up went into that race on a hat-trick and the fourth, Shantou Flyer, finished a an excellent third in the Kim Muir on Thursday, so the handicapper did the selection a favour by dropping him 2lb for that run.
I thought he shaped really well there, considering he didn't get the kitchen sink thrown at him up the straight - perhaps understandably so on his first start for the best part of a year - and he looks primed to give a good account of himself here.
The stamina is an unknown, though he was going well, just a length off the pace, when falling four it in Chase The Spud's win in this race in 2017 - he was all set to run in this race two years ago, when pulled out late - so I'd be pretty confident he will last home.
All his best form has come on the soft ground he will get here and he looks a cracking bet, even if the 33s went quickly, understandably so. I will play win-only, though, as his completion record could be better.
Relentless Dreamer was tempting
Relentless Dreamer in the 15:00 was the only other one that interested me on the Uttoxeter card.
I assume this horse has had a problem or two as we have not seen him since he finished second over fences at Ludlow in October but, against that, his record suggests he goes pretty well when fresh.
He is 5lb lower than his chase mark but the absence is a niggling doubt, and it could be that connections are readying him for something like the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown next month. And the ground is probably a touch softer than ideal too, and this 2m4f trip is on the sharp side as well (though the combination of the two could suit, I guess).
I was tempted at 16/1+ on the Exchange but, to coin an oft-repeated line of mine, there is no need a force a questionable bet.
Olly's acquisition could go close
I am surprised Eskendash is backable at 10.09/1 or bigger in the 14:05 at Kempton - he is also 9/1 on the Sportsbook - but he is, so we bet.
He has joined Betfair Ambassador Olly Murphy from Pam Sly on a good mark, and he has had a wind op since we last saw him in October, too.
The 2m on decent ground here looks nigh-on perfect for him and a mark of 122 underestimates him on his Fakenham last-of-three to Greaneteen (yes, I know) last February - he was also just beaten half-a-length off this mark at that track a month earlier - and he has won around here on the Flat and over hurdles.
If Murphy has him tuned up after the break, I expect him to go close.
Mellow Ben has been given two over-eager, shall we say, rides by Richard Johnson on his last two starts over 3m, and I imagine Tom Cannon will have been told to cool it in the 15:15.
The handicapper has been alive to those rides and dropped him a mere 1lb for being beaten 31 and 18-and-a-half lengths in those races, but he is still fairly treated on his Newbury third to Cap Du Nord in November.
I quite like the angle of him dropping down in trip as well and, given there are other pace angles in the race, it could be that Cannon will be content to take a lead and make his move after halfway.
I was tempted by odds around 8/1+ but it looks a tricky enough contest - the in-form market leaders look solid - and I am content to leave it alone.
I was going to sign off there but then I went back and had another look at the 2m5f handicap hurdle, and discovered I had missed what I hope is a significant angle.
Back Vive Le Roi at 16/1 or bigger in the 14:40 on the Sportsbook but, if that's gone by the time you are reading this, anything bigger than 12/1 is fine.
I know Switch Hitter was ridden prominently when winning here in November but that was a small field and I fully expect the selection to get on the front end. And be hard to pass.
He has not been running too badly over 3m of late, notably his fifth at Cheltenham in December, but I really like the angle of him coming back in trip off a falling handicap mark.
He is 9lb lower than when second in the Lanzarote over course and distance last year, and he will go very close to winning if he returns to that form.
Let's hope he gets an easy lead, and then it really is game on.
It's been a long week. I hope you come out ahead by the end of Saturday.
Good luck, and take care.
Tony's 2020/21 P&L
March (not including Friday’s results):
2020 Flat Season (June 1-November): +20.8
Previous P/L (April 14 2017 to Apr 1 2020): +303.4
NB: All recommended exchange bets are settled at Betfair SP, not at prices available at time of publishing.