ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin backs 5/1 Ahoy Senor in Betfair Ascot Chase

Betfair horse racing tipster Tony Calvin
TC has three new bets for Saturday including Ahoy Senor in the Betfair Ascot Chase

Tony Calvin recommends three more to back on Saturday, following his antepost pick at Haydock, including one in The Betfair Ascot Chase...

Paul Nicholls Superboost

If you fancy Paul's Threeunderthrufive to run well in the 15:00 then you can back the horse to finish in the top four at the super-boosted price of 1/12.00.

Back Threeunderthrufive to finish top four in the 15:00 at Ascot @ 1/12.00

Bet here

On Monday, I was called a scaremonger for merely pointing out that Haydock and Wincanton, already heavy, could struggle to be on with a decidedly wet week ahead at that stage.

Granted, I am a bit weather-obsessed, but I was hardly making it up and anyone who ignores forecasts when betting and tipping, especially ante-post, deserve everything they get.

Luckily, the weather has largely played ball and both meetings have survived - and now look like doing so - so let's crack on.

Heavy going at Haydock and Wincanton

It goes to say it will be heavy at both of the above tracks, with a fair bit more rain to come in the next 48 hours or so.

Indeed, a yellow weather warning for rain was issued from 1pm onwards on Thursday at Wincanton (currently soft, heavy in places), but the course anticipate no problems.

Haydock had 10mm on Wednesday and are due more rain throughout Thursday and beyond (possibly 14mm), so it will be incredibly deep there yet again.

Betfair Ascot Chase 15:36 - Back Ahoy Senor

Ascot is currently good to soft, soft in places, and the forecast there isn't too bad at all. Maybe 8mm from Thursday night into Friday, with a dry Saturday.

I'll lead with the four-runner 175k Grade 2m5f Betfair Ascot Chase at 15:36, even if we have better punting races on the ITV schedule.

Well, at least one, anyway.

We lost Fakir D'oudairies at the overnight stage, despite £4,690 being available for fifth place, not that JP needs it.

I would marginally side with Pic D'Orhy over L'Homme Presse at the respective Sportsbook prices of 9/43.25 and 8/111.73 at the top of the market, for all the latter is rated 8lb higher and made a good return to action after a long break when beating Protektorat at Lingfield.

They could both come unstuck, though.

The lingering 9s about Ahoy Senor in one place throughout the week looked far too big - the Sportsbook were much nearer the right price at 9/25.50 - and he is the way I am leaning here at the odds.

The jockeys will presumably be having an off-the-record chat about the pace in this race beforehand, as it is conceivable that any of the four could make the running, though I suspect Harry Skelton will be told to get round on Sail Away and pick up £9,327.50 for fourth.

Anyway, back to Ahoy Senor.

Now, clearly backing him comes with risks attached given his inconsistent form in the past two campaigns but his second to Shishkin in the Aintree Bowl gives him little to find with L'Homme Presse - he was rated 169 after that run, and the favourite is on 170 - and there were definite signs of a return to form before his rider's stirrup broke at Cheltenham last time.

He travelled far more kindly there and jumped well on the inner, so it was disappointing to see his chance badly compromised. He probably did very well to be beaten just 10 lengths.

Considering his tendency to jump right, this test could suit him, although I am not totally sold on that angle to be honest - as could a forcing ride over the 2m5f trip - and I am willing to risk a few quid on him.

He could fold if really clouting one but he has the raw talent and ability to give these much more of a fight than the odds suggest.

He is 5/16.00 with the Sportsbook but 6s and 11/26.50 in the wider marketplace, so do what you have to do, but I am happy to back him at that 5s or 6.05/1 or bigger on the Exchange.

Back Ahoy Senor @ 5/16.00

Bet Here

Ascot 13:50 - No bet

Ascot's Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at 13:50 has been reduced from seven to five at the overnight stage and it seems like the line I used last week - there are three certainties in life; death, taxes and easy money for novice chasers who turn up (there was money available for sixth here) - can be trotted out ad nauseum with these type of races.

The problem with this contest in particular was that three of the seven at the five-day stage also had the option of the 3m handicap on the card. With that in mind, I wonder if the issue of double-entries on the same card, over the same trip and discipline, will be looked at, in that they wouldn't be allowed.

It'll never happen of course - and it is probably a spectacularly bad idea thinking about it - but some outside of the box thinking is needed for novices' chases.

Indeed, for field sizes in non-handicaps, full stop.

Anyway, Ascot will be happy with the field holding up well enough with the five runners, but I really don't have a betting opinion.

Ascot jumps 1280x720.jpg

If Derek Fox and Harry Cobden may be having a chat before the big one, they could have already had an earlier conversation as Apple Away and Brave Kingdom are the pace angles here.

Apple Away is the most likely winner, as the betting suggests, but she is easily passed over at the Sportsbook's 7/52.40.

Ascot 14:25 - Back Teddy Blue

I couldn't see a lot of pace in the 2m3f+ handicap hurdle at 14:25 - maybe Irish Hill, Monviel and Issam - and it was a tricky race to call, all round, really.

Rare Edition has an obvious chance up in trip and is fair enough at 11/26.50, and 7s poke Bad (has had a wind op, with first-time cheekpieces applied) surely has a handicap in him off 122, but I am dutching Teddy Blue and Soaring Glory.

Teddy Blue has the more obvious chance as he travelled well for a long way in the 2m5f Lanzarote and he ran a lot better than his eventual beaten distance of 13 lengths behind Jay Jay Reilly would suggest.

It could be that his stamina simply ran out over that longer trip but it is interesting that they are trying him in a tongue-tie now. That is the first time Gary Moore has put it in on, but he wore one when he won over 1m6f on the Flat in France.

If his stamina lasts out here, then he is handicapped to take a big hand, as he is now 1lb lower than when second of 17 in the Swinton last May.

I thought he was a very fair price at the Sportsbook's 12/113.00 each-way, five places. That is the offer pretty much across the board but any 10s is okay, too.

Back Teddy Blue e-w @ 12/113.00

Bet Here

Ascot 14:25 - Back Soaring Glory

Soaring Glory has little to recommend him on recent evidence but the upside is that he has now dropped to a mark of 132, having been as high as 149, and hopefully the step back up in trip on a course where he can boast form figures of 1231 can spark him back to life.

The fact that Jonjo O'Neill had won with four of his last five runners going into Thursday's racing is obviously no negative either.

He is well worth a swing at the Sportsbook's 25/126.00 each-way, five places. He didn't run badly when second at Doncaster three starts back and he is 6lb lower than when a good third over 2m4f at Aintree last May.

I am not getting hung up on the 33s about him early on Thursday being taken, as that was never going to last. The 25s is fine, and 16s and bigger is acceptable, too.

I was toying with going win-only on both bets, as neither have a solid profile, but I like the prices and the each-way terms combined.

Back Soaring Glory e-w @ 25/126.00

Bet Here

Ascot 15:00 - No bet

I found it hard to have a strong opinion on the 3m handicap chase at 15:00.

Iron Bridge will run at Haydock if that goes ahead, so that is a non-runner to consider (he is currently 5/16.00 with the Sportsbook, and that is a 15p Rule 4 deduction), and nothing came across as particularly bet-provoking.

If Torn And Frayed reverts to front-running tactics, and can see off pace rivals Threeunderthrufive and Do Your Job, then I can see him going well off 132 on this better ground. But the trip worries me. The 18s with the Sportsbook was a fair old tempter, though, I have to admit.

I may have to back him to small stakes myself just in case he does pop up at a price.

The 8s chance Revels Hill has a big run in him if straight enough - and he will need to win well here to have any chance of taking up his Grand National entry, as he is currently rated only 137 - but that's clearly a guess-up after his absence.

I am not inclined to force a bet.

Haydock 14:40 - No bet

The same comment applies to the Rendlesham at Haydock at 14:40, though I suspect good course winner Botox Has, down in class, could be difficult to beat despite carrying a 6lb penalty and his rider not being able to claim his usual 3lb.

However, 9/43.25 is nothing flash and the 161-rated chaser Sounds Russian is a dangerous floater.

He has been off the track since sustaining a knee injury in the Gold Cup and it has clearly been a long road back, as he only had his first canter in November.

He obviously has the talent to win this but who knows what the main intention is here. The Sportsbook's early 6s was taken on Thursday morning, though.

Haydock 15:15 - Antepost Bet Snipe

Earlier in the week, I put up Snipe at 9s ante-post for Haydock's Grand National Trial at 15:15, as I thought his light weight could be a massive plus in the conditions. He only has 10st on his back here.

Hopefully, it will be shades of Robyndzone, who landed a 12/113.00 to 10/34.33 punt when winning a 3m4f handicap chase here off 10st 3lb (or 9st 12lb when you factored in his rider's 5lb claim) just before Christmas in what was equally bad ground.

Snipe is unproven over the trip but he is a 7yo on the up, and Timeform called it heavy when he won by 6 ½ lengths over 3m1f at Aintree on Boxing Day, after which Dan Skelton said he "could be one for marathon distances in the spring".

That form looks okay, too. The runner-up hasn't been out since but the 11 ½-length third won by five lengths next time and Snipe is just 6lb higher here.

He certainly finished off very strongly that day, and he again looked all ends up a grinder when staying on far too late over 3m on good ground to take second at Doncaster last time.

Whether his 3lb claimer (who takes the ride again here) overdid the waiting tactics there on a horse that does nothing quickly, I am not sure. But there is little doubt in my mind that he is well worth trying over this longer trip in much deeper ground. This is only his sixth start over fences, too.

He could really come into his own up this gruelling straight, and he remains a decent price in the wider marketplace, though to be honest I thought the race would cut up a bit more than it has (13 on Monday, to 11 now, with Iron Bridge also in at Ascot, though this is his first preference).

However, I certainly couldn't put you off backing Snipe - though the Sportsbook are 6s, and he is two points bigger elsewhere, and he may well end up at 8s on the Exchange on the day - but I will resist the urge to press up on my ante-post recommendation.

He is definitely the bet in the race if you want to play, though. He is 9.08/1 on the exchange as this goes live.

There is not a lot of pace in here, so maybe they will go forward on Highland Hunter again. I doubt they will want to be winning on him if they are toying with the Grand National though, as the weights are out next Tuesday. The same possibly applies to the 147-rated Chambard, but this is a big pot in its own right.

The Sportsbook are paying four places here, by the way.

Outside of Snipe, I can easily see the case for Yeah Man at 8/19.00 given his run-style, and first-time cheekpieces could suit him on that front, too.

It is disappointing to see the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton at 14:05 attract just five runners for a 41k-to-the-winner pot but it is hardly surprising considering the sorry absence of decent 2m hurdlers in this country outside of Constitution Hill. And it never gets a big field, anyway.

However, as five of the seven on Monday had alternative engagements on Saturday the track will actually have been delighted and relieved to get the field they have.

I'd be lying if I said I had a betting stance on this race, though my two against the field would be Nemean Lion and Guard You Dreams. Two against the field in a five-runner race is a bit over-indulgent, though.

Good luck.

Now Read Paul Nicholls: Track and trip ideal for Pic D'Orhy ahead of Betfair Ascot Chase

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PROFIT AND LOSS (Nov 1 onwards; 2023-24 NH season)


RETURN: 115.4

P/L: +49.4

PROFIT AND LOSS (April 16-Oct 31; 2023 Flat season)


RETURNS: 168.9

P AND L: -33.1

Exchange bets settled at Betfair SP for fairness


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