ITV Races

Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin's five to back at Newcastle up to 50/1

Betfair horse racing tipster Tony Calvin

Tony Calvin previews Saturday's racing at Newcastle and makes the case for backing five, including a second bet to add to his antepost pick in a strong Northumberland Plate...

  • TC adds Howth to his Northumberland Plate picks

  • Faylaq is bet of the day at Newcastle

  • Green Team must be backed at 50/151.00

Newcastle Superboost

Talented sprinter Kinross is favourite to land the Group 3 contest at Newcastle at 14:04, and with form figures of 31122 it's hard not to see the 7yo involved in the finish.

The Betfair Sportsbook have super-boosted Kinross' price to finish in the top four from 1/31.33 to 1/12.00 so if you want to get involved then just click on the price in the below banner to go directly to the pre-loaded betslip.

It may not be a premier weekend in racing terms, but try telling that to Oz, Dennis and Neville - the Auf Wiedersehen Pet "Geordie Mafia", as Wayne Winston Norris used to call them - as the Northumberland Plate, off at 15:10, is a big deal in Newcastle.

It may not be the draw of old, as there is something more aesthetically pleasing in watching horses race on turf, but any 20-runner handicap is okay by me, even if I am not really an all-weather punter.

Antepost Tip Update - Newcastle 15:10

In fact, I have already got involved, as I put up and backed Duke Of Oxford at 14s win-only on Monday, and thankfully he was confirmed for the race on Thursday morning.

Incidentally, there were 22 horses effectively balloted out (list below) of the race, so make sure you get your money back if you punted any of those ante-post.

Obviously, I won't be pressing up at the current Sportsbook price of 13/27.50 - he is favourite there, but 9s elsewhere and around that price win-only on the Betfair Exchange - but I think he probably has as much to recommend him as any in here.

Forget his Chester Cup run last time, as it was a complete non-event from stall 16. He was near-last the whole way round and when David Egan finally tried to get a run entering the straight, the door was closed on him.

I am surprised the handicapper dropped him 1lb for it, but that means he is back on the same mark as when a three-and-a-half length second of 13 to Prydwen (a surprise no-show here) on all-weather finals day here in March.

Prydwen was ridden prominently and sluiced up on the near rail, while Duke Of Oxford came from off the pace, right over on the far side. That run can be marked up as a result, and Prydwen is now rated 9lb higher after going on to beat Onesmoothoperator (more of him in a moment) at Southwell.

Michael Bell took Adjuvant out of the race on Monday and he relies on the selection, a lightly-raced 4yo, who has been placed on both starts here.

There is a strong suspicion that he has not been seen to best effect on either occasion here, and hopefully his jockey can try and sit a touch closer to the pace and then the gears can kick in late doors.

Onesmoothoperator, a good second to Prydwen from off the pace at Southwell last time, has oodles of experience of this track (course form figures of 13222302513648).

He may not be a stand-out off his current mark of 93 (he has been beaten in all of his six handicap starts off higher than that level, and been beaten around six lengths in his sole start off it) and he was soundly stuffed when a 10s chance for this race in 2022.

However, that Southwell second to Prydwen last time out in April probably wasn't far off a career-best and he was only raised 1lb for it.

And that performance can also be marked up given the way the race panned out for him, as those who raced prominently were favoured there and he certainly didn't get the run of the race from behind.

That was a very hot race for the track (it was nearly 40k to the winner), as Royal Ascot winner Pledgeofallegiance was back in third, and subsequent scorer Tenerife Sunshine was fifth.

However, he was 14s when I toyed with him on Monday, and he is now 8s (10s elsewhere), with the Betfair Sportsbook paying six places. I wanted to get with him each way, but I can't play on those current terms.

Newcastle - 15:10: Back Howth

It is clearly a very competitive race, so I wanted a second string to my bow, and I went back to the Prydwen-Duke Of Oxford-Spartan Army form-line here in March, and Howth at 17.016/1 or bigger, or 16/117.00 win-only with the Sportsbook, appealed.

I'll go the Exchange route, and that guide price should be easily attainable. He is 20s elsewhere, and a ludicrous 33s in one spot. He is 21.020/1 on the Exchange as this goes live.

This horse was rated 102 in his pomp and he has run his best races for a long while on his last two starts, winning over 1m6f at Wolverhampton and then finishing a four-length fourth to Prydwen over course and distance in March.

Perhaps crucially, those efforts came over the furthest distances he has tried, having previously been campaigned over 1m2f and 1m4f.

I think that fourth could be the key form-line in here, and I very much like the fact that the stable is in much better form at the moment (they had another 20/121.00 winner on Thursday), and that is he unexposed over the trip.

I appreciate that back-rating of 102 came at two when he was trained by Aidan O'Brien, but he ran well off a higher mark than this at Chelmsford last season. He is weighted to go well.

Newcastle - 13:35: Back Lir Speciale

We also have a maximum field of 14 in the opener at 13:35 - five were balloted out - and I think Lir Speciale is overpriced at 25/126.00 each-way, four places, with the Sportsbook.

I think I read somewhere that Stuart Williams (worrying stable form, it has to be said) thought the ground went against him at Haydock last time , but Timeform called it good to firm, so I don't think I am buying that explanation.

The form doesn't really need excusing anyway, as he was beaten only four lengths, and he got dropped a handy 2lb for it.

He was also a massive drifter on the show there, so make of that what you will. He opened up at 9s on course and went off at a Betfair SP of 23.12.

He was rated 97 after winning at Kempton last season and is now down to 89, and most of his best form has come on all-weather surfaces (for previous handler Roger Varian), including when a length third over course and distance in September.

I hope Marco Ghiani rides him prominently from his draw of 14 of 14 on the rail, and I wouldn't be averse to the idea that he tries to make all.

He who dares Marco, he who dares (with the trainer's blessing, obviously...)

Newcastle - 14:04: No bet

I don't have any issue with the betting in the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at 14:04 - Kinross and Spycatcher looks fairly priced at around 7/24.50 and 5s on the Exchange - so I couldn't see much of a betting angle in.

No waffle, no bet.

Newcastle - 14:35: Back Green Team

There are only 14 runners in the Vase at 14:35 - 22 were balloted out of the Plate, and strangely eight declined to run in this 75k consolation handicap, very good money in its own right - and a horse rated 65 has got into the race.

It is effectively a 65-83 handicap for 75 bags.

I certainly wouldn't rule out Green Team at 50s as, although he will be racing off a 4lb lower mark in future and appears to have been running dismally, I'd say he has a pretty big chance on his run in the Plate last season when beaten just seven-and-a-half lengths off a 13lb higher mark.

He appears to have regressed markedly from his 2022/23 best - he simply would win this if (the most expensive word in betting) returning to that level of performance - but this is a winnable race, and I am certainly not letting him go unbacked and untipped.

The 50s is the best price out there, and I am playing win-only. You may want to wait and get with him win-only on the Exchange, as he is highly likely to trade bigger there on the day given his recent travails.

Josephine Gordon has a good record for Ian Williams (10 from 58 with a healthy level-stakes profit) and it would be good to see her winning a decent pot on ITV. I did some work with her for a couple of years, and she was a pleasure to deal with.

Not something that many say about me, clearly.

Newcastle - 14:35: Back Faylaq

If you wanted a solid one at a decent price then it is surely Faylaq each-way, four places, at 8s, although it would be unprofessional of me not to mention he is 10s in two places on the Oddschecker grid on the same terms.

Do what you have to do, but I'd happily take 8s win and place myself, so I am content to put him up, with that proviso.

I can actually see him going off around 5s though predicting markets these days is as hard as it has ever been.

He is probably my bet of the day, even at two points under the best price around, though I can't see that 10s lasting.

The Jim Goldie chain is going okay at the moment and his Faylaq finished a length third in this race off a 6lb higher mark last season.

He has run four solid races this term - including a fourth here off a 3lb higher mark over an inadequate 1m2f in March - and he did exceptionally well to finish third at Hamilton last time considering he fell out of the stalls, and was immediately a detached last.

His third in this race last season (staying on, only beaten a length) was his only previous start at 2m and I find it hard to see him finishing out of the front four, even if he is hardly a win machine who often flatters to deceive.

Put it this way, I may well be a cojone lighter if he is.

Chillhi is a player. If he stays. And obviously the favourite Alphonse Le Grande is the one to beat, though the Sportsbook have him covered and then some at 5/23.50.

Newcastle 15:40 - Back Zip

Zip is 7s on the Sportsbook for the 7f handicap at 15:40, and the Sportsbook clearly want him onside, and I can see why.

He was a touch disappointing when weak in the market behind the mighty English Oak at Haydock last time but at least he got eased 1lb for it and this three-time course winner is fully effective around here.

And, while he has plenty of potential pace pressure, I think he is well drawn in 11, by the near rail, to improve upon his neck second in this race last season, off a 4lb higher mark.

The issue is the Sportsbook's 7s is the lowest around - he is 9s in a place - but I suggest you try to back him at 9.08/1 or bigger win-only on the Exchange. He is 9.417/2 there as this goes live.

You can normally rely on him to run his race, and he could be ready to resume winning ways, 1lb lower than for his last success in October 2023.

To be honest with you, I was decidely underwhelmed by Newmarket's three ITV races. The ground there is good to firm and the watering can has a hole in it, it seems, as they put down 12mm on Monday and 15mm on Wednesday, with the prospect of more to come.

I am going to end there then, and keep myself in the sub's good books.

Juvenile races and small-field Group and Listed contests don't do it for me at the best of times, let alone on a heavily-watered, notoriously hard-to-call July course.

For those of you of a certain vintage (and in this case, a Hill Street Blues era - and what a theme tune that was), I will sign off as such.

"Let's be careful out there."


Newmarket: Good To Firm (dry and sunny) - Watering: 12mm on Monday and 15mm on Wednesday

Newcastle: Standard (dry and sunny)

Balloted out

1.35pm: Holy Fire, Boann, Tanmawwy, Lucky Man, Manila Scouse

3.10pm (22 in total): effectively all those running in Vase at 2.35pm (14), and Sir Chauvelin, Speedo Boy, En Or, Baez, Soowaih, Wild Waves, The Churchill Lad, Contacto

First-time headgear

David Menuisier - hood 3-33 from 2015

Pace Maps

1.35pm Newcastle: Sophia's Starlight, Kingentleman, Cross The Tracks

2.04pm Newcastle: Cold Case, Never Just A Dream, Popmaster?

2.15pm Newmarket (limited evidence to go on): Celandine, Tequila Rose

2.35pm Newcastle: Marbuzet, Pons Aelius, Show No Fear

2.50pm Newmarket: Crystal Delight, Deauville Legend, Kemari

3.10pm Newcastle: Yashin, Spartan Army (prominent), True Legend, Zealandia (prom), Solent Gateway, Island Brave

3.25pm Newmarket: Noble Dynasty, Nostrum?, Pogo, Dear My Friend

3.40pm Newcastle: Grey's Monument, Make Me King, Documenting (prom), Liamarty Dreams, Zip, Giant

Trainer form assessment

(does not include Thursday's results)

Good: Rod Millman, Charlie Appleby, Kevin Ryan, Adrian Keatley, Jack Channon, Jim Goldie, Brian Ellison, Sir Mark Prescott, Mick Appleby (returning to some very good form after a quietish spell), Deborah Faulkner, George Boughey

Fair: Simon and Ed Crisford, Ed Walker, Harry Eustace, Hugo Palmer, Stan Moore, Charlie Johnston, Ralph Beckett, Karl Burke, Roger Varian, James Ferguson, William Haggas (treble already on Thursday, though), Charles Hills, Sir Michael Stoute, Richard Hannon, Jamie Osborne, Grant Tuer, Andrew Balding, Harry Charlton, Craig Lidster, James Fanshawe, Ismail Mohammed, Tim Easterby, Ian Williams, Alan King, James Owen, Michael Bell, H Al Jehani, Roger Fell and Sean Murray (arguably more good), James Tate (though could do with more winners)

Moderate: John Ryan, Richard Hughes (though a 50s third at Royal Ascot), Amy Murphy , Richard Fahey, David Menuisier, Stuart Williams, Richard Spencer, Archie Watson, Mrs C O'Leary (Tony Martin), Iain Jardine, Rebecca Menzies, Jessie Harrington, Heather Main, Lucinda Russell, Kevin Frost

Now read Ryan Moore: Impressive debut winner Jan Brueghel has strong claims on Saturday

Recommended bets


2024 Flat season (day-of-race; Apr 26 onwards)


RETURN: 130.15

P/L: +37.15


2023-24 NH season (Nov 1-Apr 25)


RETURN: 143.4

P/L: +16.4

April 16-Oct 31; 2023 Flat season


RETURNS: 168.9

P/L: -33.1

March 26 2022 -April 15 2023

Staked: 436

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P/L: +207.6

April 14 2021 to March 25 2022: +183.1


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