Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin sticks with Faivoir at 22/1 in Betfair Hurdle

Betfair tipster Tony Calvin
Will a 22/1 outsider do TC a Faivoir in the Betfair Hurdle

Tony Calvin previews Saturday's Betfair Hurdle and puts up his antepost pick again as well as backing one in the earlier Denman Chase. He also highlights ones to watch at Warwick...

  • TC backs Betfair Hurdle ante-post bet again

  • Plenty of positives for Faivoir in the big race

  • Venetia Williams runner backed in Denman Chase

  • The Betfair Hurdle numbers have held up outstandingly well, with only five defectors since Monday. That is some going given the possibility of the ground riding on the quicker side of good due to the track not being able to water, the frost covers being down since Sunday, and a dry Saturday forecast.

    Perhaps this non-watering lark may catch on, eh?

    Prove me wrong, Deere Mark

    Of course, from a personal, selfish point of view, ideally I would have wanted the race to cut up more than it has for my two ante-post picks Faivoir and Deere Mark, at 33s each way and 25s win-only respectively. It is a lot more competitive than I was expecting it to be earlier in the week.

    The race still hasn't filled, which is disappointing for a 155k handicap, but it is probably a triumph in the circumstances.

    At least the weights have gone up with top-weight First Street being one of the five no-shows. That means Deere Mark is now in the handicap and able to race off just a 6lb higher mark than when dotting up at Kempton last time from Kaleb, a race that confirmed to connections that this strong-traveller has to be delivered as late as possible.

    He looks the sort who could excel in this big-field handicap, buried away, and asked for his effort half-way up the run-in. To be honest, though, I have gone off him a touch, and Kaleb's run in the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon on Thursday told us nothing as he unseated at the first.

    I'd be more than happy to be proved wrong at 25/1 though, as my money is already down.

    Plenty of positives for Faivoir in Betfair Hurdle

    I remain keen on Faivoir though, and I do like the angle of cheekpieces being re-applied on him, as he has been called a monkey in the past, and with good reason with the way he can duck and dive inside and out, in his races.

    Still, he has a very good strike rate (nine wins from 21 starts is impressive in anyone's language) and many people thought it was maybe connections ducking and diving with his handicap mark, as he didn't appear to be given a hard time when fourth to No Ordinary Joe at Kempton over Christmas, his first start since April.

    Although, to be fair, given his lolloping, and often awkward, galloping style, it is hard to decipher just how well it is going and how much he has in the tank.

    Either way, the handicapper dropped him 2lb for that run to a mark of just 138, so he is already 5lb lower than his close third in the Morebattle last season, and the positives don't end there.

    Betfair Newbury.jpg

    He won on his only previous start at Newbury (albeit a three-runner race) and his form figures on the quickest ground he has faced read 11141, with the fourth a very good effort off a mark of 144 over fences, although I suppose it may ride dead when the covers come up, as opposed to lively. We shall see.

    Right, back to the cheekpieces angle. The only time he has worn them before was when he was a 25/1 chance in a four-runner Kingwell Hurdle last season, so perhaps they have been waiting for this hefty prize before re-applying them (granted he ran in the County Hurdle after Wincanton, but that race is worth 56k to the winner, and this is 87k+).

    For what it is worth, his dam won her only start in blinkers in France. Every little helps when you are fleshing out a case.

    I am happy to stick him up again now, but this time win-only at 23.022/1 or bigger on the Betfair Exchange, with the Sportsbook currently ducking him completely at 14/1.

    Back Faivoir Betfair Hurdle 15:35 Newbury @


    I reckon you could get a fair bit bigger than 22s when the Betfair Exchange market really hots up on Saturday, as he hardly has a sexy profile, so you may want to wait.

    I fully respect the claims of the favourite Filey Bay (the fact that he won in the fog at Wincanton will make a few chuckle) but the bookies are giving little away with this recent JP McManus purchase from an outfit with a deadly eye for a big UK pot, and JP also has a very strong hand in here as Icare Allen and No Ordinary Joe also go in his colours.

    Mullins horse is big threat

    I am surprised that Icare Allen runs as, while he ranged from 6/1 to 14/1 in the fixed-odds books all week, he hit 50.049/1 on the Betfair Exchange and the last price traded about him before that ante-post market closed on Thursday morning was 32.031/1.

    I can fully see the case for him, even if he is 4lb higher in the UK, as he has Grade 1 form and shaped very well at Fairyhouse on his return.

    The word in Ireland over the weekend was they didn't see the point in taking on the good thing Gaelic Warrior in their big 2m handicap hurdle on Sunday, and they wanted to keep him back for a race they thought they could win. This presumably fits the bill.

    With Willie Mullins (who trained Ciel de Niege to finish an agonizing second for JP in this race in 2020) apparently of the opinion that good ground is fine for him, he strikes me as a very big threat.

    But I can make a case for so many in here (and they include Aucunrisque and even the 100/1 outsider Glorious Zoff) I will stick with the two ante-post plays, and the Faivoir win-only press-up.

    Mind you, the Sportsbook have acknowledged how deep the race is by offering six places, so you can crack on each way, if you so wish. That's a fair concession.

    Moody Fanion worth a bet at 5/1

    I found it hard to see past Greaneteen in the Game Spirit at 15:00 but very easy to let him win at 4/9 - though that's not a bad price at all, in fairness - while I initially thought the Denman Chase at 14:25 was very tricky despite the seven runners.

    Maybe even the 33/1 outsider Zanza has a squeak on his favourite course (four from five here, with a two length sixth in a Betfair Hurdle the one defeat) and on this ground.

    I have to see Hitman again before I back him again as he didn't jump or travel in the King George, and was subsequently found to have bled, while there is more headgear on show here than on Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs (trademark, Mark Winstanley), with four sporting new combos or accroutements being unveiled.

    If the cheekpieces can liven up Fanion D'Estruval early doors, then he is a big player as his third to Into Overdrive and Sounds Russian is as strong handicap form as you'll find and he is also two from four around here.

    His trainer Venetia Williams is only three from 29 with this option and he can be a moody sort, so I deliberated.

    The Sportsbook made my mind up for me by offering him at 5/1, as that is simply too big about a horse who actually comes out top on the official figures.

    I think 7/2 or bigger is acceptable.

    Back Fanion D'Estruval win-only Betfair Sportsbook 14:25 Newbury @


    I couldn't believe when four firms priced up West To The Bridge at 12/1 in their opening shows in the 3m handicap hurdle at 13:50 as he came back to form at Uttoxeter last time, reverting to his usual front-running style, and he is 4lb lower than his last winning mark.

    Everyone had the same idea about his price though, as he is now into just 6s, and the fact that his two runs at this track have been poor and four others in here also like to go forward are perhaps further negatives.

    The 6s is probably still a fair price, but no more than that.

    Silver could steal it at Warwick

    None of the three Warwick races on ITV have 1,2,3 each-way betting but it could have been a lot worse as only one came out of two of those contests from the five-day stage, though bizarrely West Balboa added to their tally (because of the going) just 23 minutes after being confirmed on Thursday morning.

    None are betting races but they are interesting enough in their own right.

    It is not hard to see Stolen Silver making all in the opener over 2m4f at 13:30, though Galahad Quest definitely has a handicap in him off this mark (for all he is 1lb out of the weights here) and maybe the first-time cheekpieces will help him.

    Trainer Jane Williams is zero from six with this angle though, and he finds winning difficult. And not many people would have had him still seeking a win in nine subsequent starts after his massive eyecatcher of a run at Wetherby in October 2021.

    Love Envoi probably only has Theatre Glory to beat in the mares' hurdle at 14:05 - 4/6 plays 9/4 currently - but the latter is a serious rival on ground (it is currently good) she will probably enjoy better than the favourite after shaping really well when third at Kempton last time.

    However, if they have a handicap in mind down the line for Theatre Glory (and she looks well treated off 137 to me) I am not sure how close they will want to get to Love Envoi, who has 8lb in hand at these weights.

    Maybe, she will chin the immensely-likeable favourite, who is by no means a total mudlark - and the 7/2 available on Thursday about her was too big, clearly (it has been taken) - but I am not inclined to force a bet.

    I had similar thoughts about Haddex des Obeaux in the Kingmaker at 14:40 as he looked a tool when making all to beat two subsequent winners here last time, and is a plausible Arkle outsider.

    But all four in here like to go forward, and current Arkle favourite Jonbon has looked a fair old weapon himself, and then some. Giving 5lb to Haddex Des Obeaux may not be easy, but they'll be some long faces if he gets turned over here.

    A quiet punting weekend, but a good one.

    Go well.

Watch this week's Racing...Only Bettor


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