ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Friday Racing Tips: Going back to the well with Padle on side

Betfair Ambassador Tony Calvin
Tony Calvin has two bets for the closing handicap hurdle at Newbury on Friday

We have ITV Racing from Newbury on Friday and Tony Calvin has two tips to consider in the closing handicap hurdle...

  • Tony Calvin has two bets for Newbury on Friday

  • Hoping to win back some losses with Padleyourowncanoe

  • Pileon fancied in same race at much bigger odds

  • Cracking Long Walk Hurdle but no bet in the race

I tend to brush off bad luck pretty quickly - disappointment is part and parcel of the betting game - but I don't mind admitting that I was pig-sick for a good while after Padleyourowncanoe fell at Cheltenham on his return.

Let's just say that I had a good bet on the horse, one that was backed from an opening 12/1 in the early marketplace to 7/2 at the off - I tipped him at 7/1 each-way here - and I was beginning to feel hopeful as he travelled well on the outside before falling 4 out, bringing down market rival Shearer, who re-opposes here.

It was obviously too far out to be confident but, given the first five home were covered by just over 3 lengths at the death, I'd have been pretty sure he would have been in the shake-up but for that mishap, as I believe he is one well-handicapped horse.

Betfair Warwick Hurdles.jpg

I probably shouldn't put this in print even with no names attached, as gossip and rumour is often wrong in this sport - and it isn't a big price they were winding me up, anyway - but let's just say that my mood wasn't improved when I received a text saying that the horse had been getting Nube Negra off the bridle at home.

I will take that with a pinch of salt given Padleyourowncanoe is a three-miler rated 123 and Nube Negra is on a perch of 165 and should have won a Champion Chase last year, but it did underline to me just what damage this horse could do off his lowly mark.

Very well-handicapped on best form

He is 13lb lower than when a very promising third at Haydock, when an exceptionally weak 40/1 chance, in December 2021, and some 19lb below his peak hurdles rating, so I do think he could blow this race apart.

He handles anything from good to soft ground, so we have no issues on that score.

However, two things concern me. One is that they have put cheekpieces on him (for all he has run well in them for previous trainers) for some reason, and the other is obviously his price.

The layers were obviously alive to the move for him at Cheltenham and the first firm up on Wednesday morning made him a 4/1 chance. The Sportsbook were next up at 9/2 before trimming him into 4s.

So do I try to claw back those Cheltenham losses with a bet here?

I am going to, so back him win-only at 4/1 with the Sportsbook in the 15:40 at Newbury. He is currently 5.39/2 on the exchange if you want to play there.

Back Padleyourowncanoe in 15:40 Newbury @


Pileon for a saver at 20/1+

I don't think it a strong handicap, though a few in here are well treated if coming back to form (which is an obvious thing to say really), perhaps most notably Skandiburg, who runs in first-time cheekpieces here after a shocker at Cheltenham last time.

I am seriously tempted by Pileon as a win-only saver at 20/1+ on the exchange, and I would have leapt in on him feet-first at that price if the Christian Williams yard was in better form.

I tipped and backed him at 8/1 over fences on his debut for the yard on his return at Exeter last time, only to see him drift out to a Betfair SP of 29.91 and run a very moody race, eventually being beaten 54 lengths. The only time he looked interested there was between the fences, and they missed out six that day due to the low sun.

Back to hurdles here and with cheekpieces re-applied (he wore them when beaten a nose at Cheltenham on good ground just three starts ago, with the third 14 lengths away), he is undeniably interesting and he also won second time up in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

So he could easily leave that Exeter form some way behind him here with that lack-lustre run under his belt. The last time he ran off this mark over hurdles he won by 5 lengths at Sandown in December.

However, Williams' horses continue to run poorly in the main - the one bright light for the yard was the 66/1 win of Always Busy at Warwick last week, though his 3/1 chance William Ewart ran okay at Hereford on Wednesday, with another runner to come in the bumper there at 3.50pm - and that has to be a major concern.

I deliberated but he has so much going for him (other than a woeful run last time and that stable form, admittedly) that I am going to suggest a minimum-stakes win-only bet at 21.020/1 or bigger on the exchange.

Back Pileon in 15:40 Newbury @


He is also 20/1 with the Sportsbook if you want to back him there and get filled immediately.

Good ground is fine for him, but if nature or watering takes it up towards soft, then that's fine, too. His best run over hurdles, a photo-finish defeat in the Martin Pipe in 2020, came on soft.

Cracking renewal of the Long Walk Hurdle

All six have stood their ground in the feature race of the day, the Grade 2 Long Walk Hurdle at 15:05, and it is a little cracker of a contest.

Four of the field carry 6lb penalties, which brings the unburdened Dashel Drasher and, to a much lesser extent, Tea Clipper, into the equation too, and we also have past winners Thomas Darby and Paisley Park in the line-up.

Champ goes very well when fresh, but I would have stayed loyal to Proschema in here had the price been right.

Unfortunately, it isn't, which is a shame as he made a big impression on me when beating Thomas Darby (who admittedly was making his seasonal reappearance there and is now 6b better off) pointless by 10 lengths at Wetherby and he strikes me as a stayer going places this season.

However, this is a level up from Wetherby and he is just a 2/1 chance with the Sportsbook (predictably a little bigger on the exchange at around 9/4), so I have to let him slide at the current odds.

Betfair Newbury.jpg

The only other race that interested me from a betting point of view was the novices' hurdle at 13:20.

I thought Egbert was a fair price around 8s in the early betting as he shaped well when third at Warwick on his hurdling debut, his first start since May, and I think this slightly longer trip and galloping track will suit him better.

So I went and read what trainer Alan King said about him in his Weekender column and his comments that he "may need another week" were enough to put me off in a race not short on unexposed dangers.

One last thing. I should add that the going at Newbury is currently good, with the track stating "they will continue to water as necessary."

I think everyone has to accept, rightly or wrongly, that clerks will aim for good to soft now after last weekend, so it will harm no-one if they told us how much they have put on daily in the run-up to the meeting.

It's no biggie, but we can handle the truth, and interpret the facts accordingly.

Good luck.

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