ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin picks out four big odds bets

Tony Calvin
Tony Calvin has found plenty of value this Saturday

Betfair's very own Tony Calvin will be feeling smug with his ante post bet backed into favouritism, but he isn't stopping there with a further four enticing bets at Ayr and Newbury on Saturday...

Saturday's nine-race offering on ITV is a bit too sprint-heavy for my liking - I am no massive fan of the wham, bam, thank you mam, fare - but obviously the 6f Ayr Gold Cup at 15:40 is the biggest betting contest of the day so we better start there regardless.

Outsider appeals at the price

Bad news for ante-post supporters of last week's Group 1 Flying Five runner-up Erosandpysche (who would have been 10lb well-in) as he is a no-show, which means that Khanjar is now the favourite by clear daylight.

He obviously has the profile to entice - a William Haggas-trained 3yo, winner of three of his six starts - but, as it stands, he has nothing in hand of the assessor under his 5lb penalty and if your idea of pleasurable punting is taking around 9/2 in a 25-runner 6f sprint handicap then we are certainly not on the same page.

Mind you, Haggas won this race with a 7/2 poke in 2020 and does have a habit of being one or two steps ahead of the handicapper.

The one I am drawn to on this drying ground - the forecast for Ayr is set fair (famous last words) and it looks like being good ground at worst - is Motagally at 28/1 win-only the Betfair Sportsbook (who are playing five places for each way punters).

He is currently a similar price on the exchange.

He was rated as high as 103 when with Charlie Hills, best on quick ground, and hopefully he is ready to strike on his third start for new trainer Scott Dixon off a mark of 94.

He was without blinkers (in which all his best form has come) on his stable debut for Dixon as a 40/1 chance in the Beverley Bullet, but they were back on when he shaped very well when fifth in the Portland on soft ground last week, coming back for more late on.

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Okay, he is 2lb higher here in this early-closer, but he remains well treated on his back form - indeed, he finished fourth in this race off 98 last season, as well as that 2020 level - and this quicker ground will really suit him.

Going into Thursday's racing, Dixon has had four winners this month from 13 runners, and everything looks set for a decent show. Whether his draw in 22 is the place to be, we shall see.

Having put him up at 12/1 ante-post on Tuesday, I was obviously very glad to see Koy Koy confirmed for the 1m handicap at 13:20.

And I was also happy to see him declared in a first-time hood, as I suggested they may try some headgear after he was a touch too keen at Newbury last time, a race in which his jockey got off and said he raced too freely, when he was positioned in front and on the outside.

The trainer is 3 from 14 with a first-time hood.

A winner of a five-runner race at Newmarket, off just a 2lb lower mark than this, three starts ago - I'll give him a pass for the Goodwood disappointment afterwards, as plenty don't handle that track - but that run at Newbury gives him an excellent chance.

He was beaten only 1 ¾ lengths under a 7lb claimer there, and the winner, Atrium, followed up off a 4lb higher mark at Doncaster last week.

And it is not just the winner that has franked the Newbury form. Only three horses have come out of that race so far, and the sixth, Oh This Is Us, was another and he won at Ascot.

With stronger handling, and on drying ground he will enjoy, he remains my premier fancy for the race.

However, he is now just 10/3 with the Betfair Sportsbook, and that looks plenty short enough, so I can't put him up again at that price. At around 9/2, he'd become a bet again for me.

I also don't have a betting opinion in the Doonside Cup at 13:55.

Well, I certainly didn't after the opening 7/1 about Royal Champion with the Sportsbook predictably evaporated into 9/2 (which is still pretty much the best price out there), anyway. In truth, it looks a nasty little Listed race though, and the favourite, Phantom Flight, could take a lot of beating.

Two pronged attack in Silver Cup

I liked two in the Ayr Silver Cup at 14:30, and I was very surprised when the first firm up on Thursday morning made Dusky Lord and Asadjumeirah 22s and 25 respectively.

Unsurprisingly, those odds didn't last, but they are still the pick of the prices to me at 14/1+ (they are both 14s with the Sportsbook if you want to back them there).

I had a good go at Dusky Lord in the Portland last week, continuing to back him as he drifted - he was very weak, presumably on account of the soft ground, on which he was unproven - and I did my money without having a sniff of a chance in the race itself.

However, he didn't run without merit from what proved to be a poor draw in 21 of 21 - and he was not beaten far in the end, just under 6 lengths - and they put the cheekpieces back on here which he wore when a 1/2-length second of 15 to Lord Riddiford off this mark at Goodwood in July.

His record suggests he will very much like this return to a decent surface. Back him at 15.014/1 or above. I'd hope you get bigger.

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I love a good headgear stat, so the fact that Asadjumeirah's trainer, Anthony Brittain, is 0 from 21 with first-time cheekpieces since 2016 should really put me off him.

However, I really like the profile of the horse as he shaped very well when second of 17 to Devil's Angel at Haydock two starts ago and he again hinted at better to come when fourth off this mark of 83 at Thirsk last time. Those were his two starts since being gelded after losing his way in early summer.

He beat Ghatanfar off 84 at Thirsk earlier in the season, and the runner-up is now rated 19lb higher, and decent ground suits him best.

Back him at 17.016/1 or bigger.

I thought Lowther runner-up Queen Me was a fair price at the current 13/8 on the exchange in the 15:05, but I can always let these kind of bets win without my money. Especially as most tend to lose if I back and tip at those odds.

And she could get very short with a name like that.

Over to Newbury, and I shall keep it brief here, as three of the four races make very little appeal.

I thought Kemari was fair at 8/1 each way at 13:40, and similarly Mountain Peak at 14/1 in the 14:15, but neither made the bet cut.

Nor did Salisbury debut scorer Heroism in the 14:55, though everyone knows that when Clive Cox has a first-time-out juvenile winner they tend to be pretty decent.

The form of that win looks relatively modest - even if the runner-up won a nursery off 80 on Tuesday - but Cox won this race in 2021 and 2016 and the fact he is coming here with the colt could speak volumes.

Well handicapped horse can't be ignored

The bet on the ITV Newbury card is Oneforthegutter at 16/1 each way, four places, in the 1m2f Dubai Duty Free Handicap at 15:25.

Now, I'd be a liar if I wasn't worried by a whole host of unexposed, lightly-raced improvers from the top stables in here, but I think Oneforthegutter is a well-handicapped horse.

In fact, I would have put him up as an ante-post bet (at 20/1) on Tuesday if he hadn't had two other entries this week.

Basically, we have a horse who has continued to come down the handicap despite running the best race of his campaign when fourth over this trip at York last time, a race in which he was disadvantaged by racing towards the stands' rail.

So that run can be marked up, while the handicapper has downgraded him.

Rated 102 last season following a head second in a French Group 3, he is now down to just 91 (dropped a generous 1lb after that York run) and hopefully this 3yo is now poised to strike, even if you would have liked to see his trainer in a touch better form (going into Thursday evening's racing, anyway).

Recommended bets

PROFIT AND LOSS (from March 26)

Staked: 193
Returns: 262.2pts
P/L: +69.2
PREVIOUS (April 14 2021 to March 25 2022)
P/L: + 183.1

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