ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Picanha and Playful Saint to go well at Haydock

Haydock Racecourse
Trainer Dan Skelton and Harry Derham go head to head at Haydock

Alan Dudman is in for Tony Calvin for the final time with a look ahead to the ITV races on Saturday from Haydock and Musselburgh...

Musselburgh - 13:50: Back Ice Max

Earlier in the week for the Antepost Column the selections provoked the thinking based around soft ground or a little better, but with the track still giving soft in the description officially and rain still forecast for a couple of days, we'll do well to get any good ground.

The opening 13:50 Royal Mile Handicap looked open at the start of the week with so many unexposed runners but I have become drawn to Ice Max for Karl Burke - and if we can get around 3/14.00 I'd be happy considering the race has cut up badly and there's no each-way angle.

There was going be pace on looking at the entries with a cluster of Charlie Johnston runners, but that's all changed too.

Ice Max won twice at Catterick on good to soft ground last term - both over 7f, but he should have no problems with a 1m this season and off 89, he is towards the head of the weights.

For my double column I have included this horse, and Karl Burke's stats at Musselburgh are 19% and 30% placed, and this will be his first run since being gelded. Heading into Saturday, the trainer is also operating at 24% in the last couple of weeks, so you'd think his horses will be reasonably forward.

Which is half the guessing game at this time of year.

In time order, the following 14:25 Silver Arrow Handicap is a cracker of a race, and considering I flagged up Poet Master earlier in the week at 5/23.50, I won't be deviating from him and he looks the one with most potential on the card and he's 11/43.75 and tops the market. Again the race has cut up and we're down to the nine at the time of writing.

Back Ice Max @ 11/43.75

Bet here

Musselburgh 15:00: No Bet

The Scottish Sprint Cup was another I tipped up in on Tuesday with Jm Jungle, but sadly he hasn't made it and isn't declared, and it looks as though the possibility of soft ground has scared off a few

With eight runners left and one at 16/117.00, it looks a no bet race now, sadly.

Musselburgh - 15:35: Back Emiyn

We might have lost a few runners but at least Emiyn is in for the Queen's Cup over 1m6f, and he's drifted too. He was 20/121.00 on the Sportsbook on Thursday morning, but that was taken, and at 16/117.00 we have the price for a place too.

You can read my thinking here from Tuesday's Antepost column.

He has form in soft, he stays a little further and he can make the running. Indeed, his jockey Zak Wheatley - who can claim 5lb, knows him well and with that in mind, he could be a decent back-to-lay trade.

I don't mind the drift at all.

Back Emiyn EW @ 16/117.00

Bet here

Haydock - 14:05: Back Playful Saint

Three of the races from Haydock are on ITV too, and on Tuesday we had stacks of runners, but with the forecast as it is, and currently heavy in the description, the races have lost a few - including my tip Skycutter for the 14:05.

Brentford Hope at 15/82.88 is the fav, and he's well clear on ratings at 140. His win last time looked good with margin of victory, but for a second I thought he had quite a bit on his plate. He might trade a little higher in the run.

Playful Saint will love the heavy going, as too will Milldam who beat him at Stratford in a weak race with no other discernible rivals of note.

Playful Saint was third in last term's Imperial Cup and he's only been seen once this term - and that was comeback at Stratford. So he should improve on that considering that was his first run for almost a year, and his back-form at Sandown in 0-150 company gives him a great chance here in turning the tables.

In fact, at 4/15.00 and with a real liking for heavy ground, I am going to back him on Saturday. He might have been kept for this, who knows? But Skelton is a good target trainer and he's still in with a shot with prize money for the trainers' title and there is 25k here to the winner.

Which is two train tickets.

Back Playful Saint @ 4/15.00

Bet here

Haydock - 14:40: Back Picanha

I don't really like anything in the final Haydock race on ITV with the Veterans' contest. But I've dug out a 12/113.00 shot each-way in the 14:40 Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle over 3m with Picanha.

Now, it's a long time since I backed a Richard Phillips runner, or indeed ever. But with the ground in mind, I think he'll act on it - even though he has a a victory on good.

He won on soft in 2021 at Warwick over 2m5f and subsequently finished fourth in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham, which asked a bit too much of him at that stage of his career.

The selection battled well to win a race over 3m1f at Warwick in 2022 but then was off the track for 660 days.

His comeback last time was in a good race Newbury behind Emiton, and he shaped well for a long way before fitness became an issue. It didn't help for that comeback run that the ground was very deep.

Of course the bounce factor comes in here, but on that Newbury effort, and the more I looked at it, I give him a chance here for a place and he has a tremendous attitude with a will to win. And he's still lightly-raced despite his advancing years from 122.

Back Picanha EW @ 12/113.00

Bet here

That's it from me and I've had more columns than Rome this week, so good luck over the weekend.

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