ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin's three new bets for Betfair Chase Day up to 12/1

Betfair horse racing tipster Tony Calvin
TC has three new bets for Betfair Chase Day

It's Betfair Chase Day at Haydock on Saturday so read Tony Calvin's preview of the action to get the latest on his antepost picks and three new bets...

Decent ground at Haydock for Betfair Chase Day

For once, the forecasts, as of Monday afternoon, for Haydock and Ascot have proved spot on. In late November terms, we are set to race on decent ground this weekend.

The 15mm predicted for Haydock on Friday and Saturday on Monday morning had disappeared a few hours later, and the ground there now is soft (good to soft) in places on the chase course, and good to soft (soft in places) on the hurdles track.

It could actually be good to soft by race-time on Saturday if it stays dry, which seemed a 1000 poke at the start of the week.

Ascot are set to begin their two-day meeting on Friday on good to soft (good in places), while Punchestown is a mixture of soft and heavy.

Haydock 15:00 - Betfair Chase is a winner

We all know that National Hunt racing is in a parlous state in this country, so it is against that backdrop that the sponsors will be viewing Bravemansgame v Prokterorat v Corach Rambler v Royale Pagaille in the Betfair Chase at 15:00 as very much a win, even if there are just four runners.

A very big win.

I don't have a betting opinion in the race now the market has correctly re-set itself by making the King George winner and Gold Cup second as the favourite ahead of last year's winner Protektorat, though the Sportsbook's 8/111.73 may be a touch too strong.

There is definitely something inside of me that hopes the Grand National hero Corach Rambler, the outsider of the party at around 11s on the Betfair Exchange, rises from the ashes of his Kelso reappearance run to win this 200k Grade 1, but that is a thought very much steeped in hope rather than expectation.

The archetypal "watch without a bet" race.

Betfair Superboost - Bravemansgame now 1/12.00

If you fancy Bravemansgame to win today's Betfair Chase at Haydock then the Betfair Sportsbook have very kindly boosted his price from 4/61.67 to 1/12.00.

Just click on the 'Bet now' tab below to go straight to the betslip.

Back Bravemansgame to Win the Betfair Chase (15:00 Haydock) at the superboosted price of 1/12.00

Bet now

Haydock 14:20 - Antepost bets Emitom and Schalke

On Tuesday, I tipped Emitom and Schalke each way at 14s and 40s, four places, respectively in the Betfair 'Serial Winners' Stayers' Exchange Handicap Hurdle at 14:20 but, whisper it quietly, I was rather hoping the race would cut up more than it has.

There were 20 in the race on Monday but 16 stood their ground at 10am on Thursday, including the big two of Crambo and Slate Lane.

That said, from a selfish punting perspective, I was glad to see dangerous rivals Hyland and Hugos New Horse, not confirmed.

The Tuesday case for both of my ante-post selections stands then, and Emitom is by far the stronger recommendation of the two, as I said, though of course his price reflected that.

I decided not to press up myself but you can easily argue he remains the best bet in the race, and I couldn't put you off him.

In fact, I very nearly did put him up again, as 12/113.00, five places, is highly tempting.

One word of warning for each-way players though. If the field goes down to 15 or fewer, those five places look sure to become four, as they did in the Greatwood Hurdle last Sunday,

Anyway, Emitom is 3lb well-in here on his reappearance Newbury second to Young Butler, he is 27llb lower than his peak hurdles mark in 2021 and he is a course and distance winner, too.

He has thrown in the odd stinker in the past but he has obviously done nothing wrong in two starts for Alan King, including a defeat of Hyland (has gone up 12lb for two wins this season) in March, and he was only denied by a tenacious Harry Derham stable-switcher at Newbury recently, a race in which he traded odds-on in running.

The 9yo obviously vulnerable to a younger improver, such as the front pair, but he is officially the best handicapped horse in here and I don't think the market reflects that.

The case I made for Schalke at 40s each way on Tuesday was admittedly far less convincing, although he is now 20s with the Sportsbook, these on-the-day markets on the Exchange are so wild he could easily trade at three figures win-only there given his profile. However, he shaped far better than it appeared at Ayr at the start of the month, positioned in rear throughout, and was not given a hard time on his first start since his fourth in a very valuable handicap at Sandown in February off a 1lb higher mark than this.

I assume he had a problem after Sandown, so that Ayr spin was probably much needed and at least he got dropped 1lb for it.

I have gone off him a touch in truth, even if I am pot-committed - the ground is far better than it looked like being on Tuesday (he has a good record on soft or deeper) - so, cut to the chase, is there a fresh bet?

Lord Snootie and Dubrovnik Harry were others that interested me on Tuesday, but the price of the first-named went into freefall before my column went live (he opened at 25s and 20s in places, and even the Sportsbook's 14s was clipped into 10s before I could publish), while the latter was also entered at Exeter on Sunday.

By the way, I bet Dubrovnik Harry's ante-post backers had heart attacks as he was literally only confirmed for this race at 9.59am on Thursday.

Lord Snootie is now just 6/17.00 with the Sportsbook and Dubrovnik Harry had been backed from 14s to 11s on Thursday, when there was still a little juice in the latter's price.

The argument in favour of Dubrovnik Harry is very simple. It was a case of job done when he qualified for the Pertemps in a qualifier when fourth at Cheltenham and, if that is the end destination, he now has to get up the handicap ladder pronto.

He has promised more than he has delivered so far - though that may be harsh given his lightly-raced profile - but he shaped so well from off the pace on his reappearance last month that I was looking to get him onside.

However, given his hit-and-miss profile, and with the drying ground not being ideal, I have to walk away from him as that 11s became 9s on Thursday afternoon. Too short in such a deep handicap.

Haydock 13:15 - Back Park Annonciade

Given the Grade 1-winning novices' hurdler Apple Away is getting 15lb from Gallard Du Mesnil, it was no surprise that the Sportsbook's 6/17.00 about her early on Thursday for the 13:50 lasted about as long as a snowflake in the Sahara. She is now a far more sensible 5/23.50.

Stuart Crawford had a welcome winner after a quiet spell with Dorking Cock at the weekend and I bet he thought his Carnfunnock would be his clear number one in the 2m3f handicap hurdle at 13:15, as his Park Annonciade was 7lb out of the weights at the five-day stage.

Carnfunnock remains the shorter priced of the pair and is ridden by Daryl Jacob, but that doesn't bother me one bit, because the weights went up 8lb at the overnight stage, meaning Park Annonciade is now in the handicap on 10st 3lb. And Jacob can't do that weight.

The 5lb claimer Ben Bromley can hopefully do 9st 12lb as I like Park Annonciade's chance here.

A lot. He is my bet of the weekend as it stands.

He went up what looked a harsh 5lb for a neck win at Ayr last time, but the fact the third came out and won a Fakenham handicap by 18 lengths earlier this week suggests differently.

I am taking the step up to 2m3f for the first time to be a positive.

Granted, he emptied out over an extended 2m1f at Sligo in June but he was given an overly-aggressive ride there (though the winner has scored twice since and is now rated 131) and he is by Leger winner Masked Marvel out of a mare who stayed 3m2f.

Having just his fifth hurdling start, this 5yo surely has races in him off his current mark of just 114.

Back him at 7/18.00 with the Sportsbook - that's the general price in the marketplace - or 8.07/1 or bigger on the Exchange.

Back Park Annonciade @ 7/18.00

Bet now

Haydock 15:35 - Back Bali Body

I wanted to be with Famous Bridge in the 3m1f125yd handicap chase at 15:35 but the Sportsbook's 3/14.00 is a little too short for me. He was 7s earlier in the week.

Instead, I am going to back Bali Body at 12/113.00 win only on the Sportsbook, or 13.012/1 on the Exchange.

Ideally, I wanted to play each-way with Famous Bridge such a big danger, but the bounce factor must be a consideration after he shaped so well after a huge absence at Wetherby.

However, they may have deliberately left him underdone there - he drifted from 9s to 16s on the show, as well as going off at a Betfair SP of 19.5 - so hopefully he will progress, and not regress, after that second.

Very well handicapped off 116 on his Sandown win in December 2021, and having just his eighth start in total and his fourth over fences, he is worth the risk at 12s.

Back Bali Body @ 12/113.00

Bet now

Ascot must be hugely disappointed that only one of their seven races have attracted eight runners but the scariest thing is that some of the fields actually held up very well.

It is not a punting card for me, though I didn't think the race-fit Minella Drama was a good price at the Sportsbook's 12s against Shishkin and Pic D'Orhy in the 13:30 - in fact, I have backed him at 14/115.00 and very nearly put him up here, as his price set against the Paul Nicholls horse makes no sense whatsoever - and I'd have the 11/43.75 chance Theatre Glory as marginal favourite in the 14:05.

Let's hope all eight stand their ground in the 125k 2m1f handicap at 15:15 but, even if they do, I couldn't see a bet.

The Sportsbook are ducking Corrigeen Rock at 4/15.00 when he is 11/26.50 elsewhere and I think they are right to do so, as he could get his own way out in front here - if Aucunrisque doesn't charge off, that is - and he has a very likeable and gritty character, with the prospect of more to come. I can hardly tip him at 4s, though.

Punchestown 14:35 - Back Echoes in the Rain

The Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle is also on ITV from Punchestown at 14:35 and we have a very short-priced favourite in the shape of last year's winner State Man at 1/41.25.

However, be warned that his trainer has had three horses beaten in this race at odds of 1/61.17, and 2/51.40 twice, since 2015. On each occasion they were beaten by a stablemate.

The 15/28.50 with the Sportsbook for Echoes in the Rain has tempted me in, then.

With her 7lb sex allowance, she has only 6lb to find with the favourite and she comes here race-fit after a second in a Group 3 on the Flat earlier in the month. Furthermore, the last time we saw her over hurdles she bolted up in a Grade 1 here over 2m3f in April.

It could well be this race sets up for a late pouncer with State Man and Fils D'Oudairies going from the front, and the 15/28.50 for Echoes in the Rain is surely too big. Any 6s or bigger would lure me in.

Back Echoes in the Rain @ 15/28.50

Bet now

The lack of the headgear she wore in Punchestown is an obvious worry in a small field but presumably the trainer thinks her three hoodless runs on the Flat suggests she doesn't need it. And she is also keen with or without it, it seems.

Good luck.

Read Paul Nicholls: Bravemansgame is in top order and has a great chance to win Betfair Chase

Racing... Only Bettor. Watch the latest episode here.

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

P/L: +3

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

RETURNS: 168.9
P AND L: -33.1

*Bets settled at Betfair SP for fairness


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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.