ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Saturday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin's three to back at Goodwood and Haydock up to 25/1

Betfair horse racing tipster Tony Calvin
TC is backing one at Goodwood and two at Haydock on Saturday

Tony Calvin previews Saturday's ITV races and finds two to back at Haydock as well as one to get started with at Goodwood...

  • Antepost pick has springboard for success

  • 13/27.50 and 25/126.00 each-way bets at Haydock

  • Goodwood bet can roll back the years

Ryan Moore Superboost

It's Irish 2,000 Guineas day at the curragh and Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore has a leading chance in the feature race at 15:40 aboard River Tiber. Aidan O'Brien's 3yo was one of the top juveniles last season and has never finished outside of the top three in any of his races.

If you fancy that trend to continue today then you can back Ryan and River Tiber to finish in the top three at the super-boosted price of 5/42.25.

I'll put the watering politics to one side here as ITV are showing 10 races from four different tracks on Saturday, so there is a lot to get through.

The times through Friday's racing at three of those courses (Haydock, Goodwood and the Curragh) will give us a better handle on the true state of the ground, but I am working on the basis of soft ground at Haydock on Saturday.

It is currently officially soft, heavy in places after they have had 46mm since Tuesday. Well, 51mm but I promised not to go there.

Antepost Bet Update - Vadream Haydock 13:50

That is obviously great news for my 14/115.00 each way ante-post selection, Vadream, in the Temple Stakes at 13:50, though I was expecting more than three withdrawals from the 13 five-day entries given the amount of rain that landed, the most significant of which was Regional.

Perhaps we will get non-runners once connections of the horses who prefer better ground (such as the likes of Live In The Dream and Equality) can better assess how the track is riding on Friday afternoon, and maybe walk the track on arrival on Saturday.

In truth, Vadream is now far too low at the Sportsbook's 10/34.33 as she does have plenty to find (she has also not run her race on occasions, even on soft, while her stable could be in better form), but she should obviously love the ground, as it can't be deep enough for her, as she showed at Doncaster last season.

And that 2023 Palace House defeat of main pace angle Live In the Dream clearly reads very well.

I see no need to press up at her too-skinny current odds - I can actually see her being a fair drifter to 6s+ now the field has held up better than I expected - but the fact that Vadream has been running so well this season on good ground is hopefully a springboard to success now that she encounters plenty more dig.

I'll leave the race there, but if it is even deeper than advertised then the 3yo filly Flora Of Bermuda, getting all the allowances - she was my alternative antre-post lean on Tuesday but she was entered in three races, so she was untippable - is no outsider in my book at the Sportsbook's 20s.

If you want to read my thoughts on all the Temple Stakes runners, please check out my detailed ante-preview.

If you are betting each way at Haydock in particular watch out for non-runners and changing each way terms. They have already had a remarkable 21 going-related withdrawals for Friday's racing.

Haydock 13:15 - No bet

The Haydock card opens with a 100k handicap at 13:15, and presumably early-bird punters on Thursday were fighting like rats in a sack over the initial 8s about Blue Lemons, who has soft ground form.

The 8s became 6s then 9/25.50 in just under an hour, which was understandable. He did very well to finish a neck second to a smashed-up and well-regarded winner in Hand Of God there, and the third finished runner-up (of 15) in the Italian Derby last weekend.

I have no idea how strong the latter race was admittedly, but it sounds good for an 87-rated horse to finish second in a Classic.

The Sandown race was run in a very good time and he could well have got off very lightly with a 1lb rise. The 5lb claimer that rode him at Sandown looked tidy enough, so I am not sure him being replaced with James Doyle (Danny Tudhope was actually jocked up on Thursday) is necessarily the positive most will assume.

It all revolves around whether the current 4/15.00 is his basement price now in a very competitive handicap (and it really is), and I concluded it was. As I always say, you have to draw the line somewhere or else you'd be taking any price going.

Nellie Leylax, with his high knee action, would be my other fancy in the race but he is also no bargain at the Sportsbook's 5s either (though 7.26/1 on the exchange), especially as he may have plenty of attention on the front end (and maybe even by Blue Lemons).

Haydock 14:25 - No bet

We have dealt with the Group 2 Temple Stakes at 13:50 already, so on to the eight-runner Group 2 6f Sandy Lane Stakes at 14:25, a race in which the unbeaten dual Group 1-winning, and 119-rated, juvenile Vandeek predictably heads the market at 8/131.61.

There is no surprise that the ground-versatile colt is bigger on the Betfair Exchange (currently a drifting 1.774/5), given he is making his reappearance under a 3lb penalty against race-fit rivals, and it is just a matter of whether to oppose him.

I'd probably rather just lay him around the 8/111.73 mark on the Exchange and have the field running for me at 11/82.38, but I specifically liked Inisherin and Pandora's Gift most of the opposition.

I can definitely see the angle of Guineas sixth Inisherin stepping down to 6f for the first time and rarely do you see horses race with the willing exuberance of the progressive Pandora's Gift.

I'd probably just prefer the former at 7.06/1 or bigger on the Exchange - betting each-way here is obviously problematic - even though the forward-goer could have competition for the lead.

But with both of the two I have named unproven on soft ground (Pandora's Gift actually makes her turf debut), I'll probably just lay the favourite and have the rest running for me at odds-against.

Haydock 15:00 - No bet

I had narrowed down the seven-runner 7f+ handicap at 15:00 to English Oak and Zip, but unfortunately the Sportsbook odds-compilers agree and make the pair 9/43.25 and 3/14.00 respectively. The latter is 4s elsewhere.

The 4yo English Oak has the more obvious handicap upside after just the six starts but the lead looks here for the taking for Zip (just the 66 starts for him as an 8yo) and he could prove hard to peg back here if getting across to the rail and attempting to dominate.

He comes here in good nick and he has course form figures of 5229712362, which isn't that shabby given the nature of the race he usually runs in.

English Oak wouldn't be sure to run on account of the ground (he was actually pulled out on official good to soft at York last season) and I imagine, like other trainers, Ed Walker will walk the course on the day and make a late call on his participation.

Don't forget they race at Haydock on Friday, so that will churn up the ground up to a degree.

But it may not be that bad by Saturday afternoon, you never know.

Haydock 15:30 - Back Divine Comedy and Euchen Glen

The Sportsbook are paying four places in the 2m handicap at 15:30 but, unfortunately once again, they agreed with my reading of the race and are joint bottom-price about Divine Comedy. They are 13/27.50 when he is 8s and 15/28.50 elsewhere.

But he is currently 8.615/2 on the Exchange, so I have a decision to make on how to get with him. Or even to walk away again.

More on that shortly.

I wouldn't know his jockey Kaiya Fraser from namesake Mad Frankie, and a record of zero from 25 this season would not be wildly encouraging on the face of it.

But 17 of those 25 saw him either finish second, third or fourth, and he has ridden 26 winners in his career at a fair strike rate, so I am inclined to give the 5lb claimer a pass. Especially as he has won four times on the horse.

So maybe even a pass with a distinction given his form figures on the horse are 321113133.

He had a penalty kick when winning here on fast ground last May, he showed he gets 2m well when a close third at Kempton in November. I thought he shaped very encouragingly on soft ground over a clearly inadequate 1m4f on his return at Doncaster.

He remains on a winnable mark, and I am pretty happy with the 13/27.50 each-way, four places. Yes, he is bigger elsewhere, so do what you have to do - I will always flag this - but that price is big enough for me, with the extra place.

You have to fear the unexposed Nothing To Sea - I can see Ralph Beckett exploding into top form soon - but not a great deal in here scares me, in truth, maybe outside of the 8s pokes Emiyn and Zimmerman.

I considered also putting up the latter, but then I had another look at the race and asked myself why I was ignoring old boy, 11yo Euchen Glen, at 25s.

Well, mainly because he is an old boy I guess, as he has to give seven years to three of his rivals here and at least three years to the rest of them.

But he clearly ran a much more encouraging race when second at Hamilton last time, and he could roll back the years here off his current mark of 89.

Just five starts ago he was rated 100, and this is a horse who finished fourth in an Ebor off 96 last summer.

Jim Goldie has his horses in pretty good form (see trainer assessments below) and Euchen Glen is a soft ground course winner, and one who has also won on heavy.

He actually finished a half-length and a short-head third in this very race in 2018.

Of course, there are negatives but I'll take my chances at 25/126.00 each-way, four places. He raced with a lot more enthusiasm last time and the winner went on to run well off a 5lb higher mark next time.

Goodwood 13:30 - Back Blue Prince

The ITV coverage starts with the 7f handicap at Goodwood at 13:30, and it was no surprise to see all the juicy prices about Al Shabab Storm squeezed dry through Thursday. He is into a mere 15/4 with the Sportsbook, having opened up at 15/28.50 and 7s in the wider marketplace.

You have to walk away from him at the current odds, but I have to give Blue Prince another go here at 10.09/1 or bigger on the Betfair Exchange.

Given the make-up of the field, I can see him being weak in the market.

I stuck him up at 40s each-way when he finished third at York last week and I wasn't enamoured by the ride he got, flying home having been anchored near last, miles off the pace on a track that often suits speed (the first two were handy), in his first-time hood.

Now, this looks a stronger handicap but, given I thought he should have gone close to winning at York and he races off the same mark here, I am happy with the current Exchange price (he is also available at 10s on the fixed-odds front).

He clearly lacks the upside of many of these sexier types (seven have won last time out) but hopefully Tom Marquand will look to ride him more prominently here from stall six, even if there is a ton of pace in here.

He really does not want to be shuffled back to last around here over 7f in a 17-runner handicap, and he will have no chance if he is.

With that nightmare scenario in mind, I am going win-only here, instead of 17/29.50 each-way, five places, with the Sportsbook. That's clearly an option, too.

However, I can easily see Marquand sitting motionless behind a wall of horses on the inside, or even having to be switched round the field on the outside, and finishing a never-nearer sixth.

Goodwood 14:05 - No bet

The going is good at Goodwood, by the way.

Francophone has an obvious chance in the 1m2f Listed fillies' race at 14:05 but I am done with Charlie Johnston's horses for the time being (although they are going okay, to be fair).

There could be some cheap black type on offer here, and I can fully see why David O'Meara has thrown his 79-rated Lava Stream into the mix.

She is quite a well-bred filly and the form of her four-runner Doncaster handicap success (off just 74) was franked by the runner-up winning at Sandown on Thursday evening.

I'll stop short of putting her up at 16s with the Sportsbook, but she'd be my bet in the race if I was having one. You don't want to get too hung up with official ratings in these races, especially with a horse like Lava Stream who has had just five starts.

York 14:45 - No bet

On to York then and first on the ITV agenda there is a 5f York handicap at 14:45.

Only 13 runners but I have seven who like to race prominently, so hopefully no track or speed biases will be at play here.

I couldn't see a betting angle into the race, though Starlust at the Sportsbook's 15/28.50 (they are paying four places here, even though Democracy Dilemma has just come out) is the pick of their prices as stepping down to 5f could suit.

A mark of 105 wouldn't be overly-generous on his Group 1 exploits last season but it could be manageable. Trap one may be a help or a hindrance, who knows?

I am forgetting the going again, sorry. It is good to soft, soft in places at York.

I thought the 1m5f188yd fillies' Listed race at 15:20 was an unattractive betting heat, though it will be fascinating to see how Marie's Rock fares on her Flat debut.

Curragh 15:40 - No bet

We round off with some Classic action from the Curragh at 15:40, with Rosallion trading at a touch of of odds-on for the eight-runner Irish 2,000 Guineas. He is 10/111.91 with the Sportsbook.

The ground was apparently very quick earlier in the week, so they put 5mm on and they could get a little bit of rain before race time.

The round course is good, good to firm in places and that should suit the favourite.

I can always let horses at these odds go unbacked and untipped, but there has to come a point when Unquestionable becomes backable, and he may have already hit it at double-figures on the Betfair Exchange.

The reason for his weakness is that trainer Aidan O'Brien has said he will need the run badly after a setback four weeks ago, but this is a horse who only has a length to find with Rosallion on their Lagardere form and who went on to win at the Breeders' Cup, beating Mountain Bear by 1 ½ lengths.

I will probably chuck a few quid on him, fitness doubts or not - that 11.521/2 on the Exchange is very tempting, and I may even follow the Santa Anita formline through with Mountain Bear at 20/1+ - but I won't force a tip.

And keep an eye out for a non-runner, each-way punters.

A busy Saturday, but a relatively quiet punting one for me.

Good luck.

Going and weather

Haydock: Soft, Heavy in places (1mm Friday; 1mm Saturday)

Goodwood: Good (largely dry; dew spits and spots amounting to 1mm maybe)

York: Good to soft, soft in places (3.5mm Saturday)

Curragh: (1mm Friday; 3mm Saturday, though course say they could get more from late afternoon - they have watered 5mm)

Straight course: Good

Round course: Good, good to firm in places

First-time headgear

Darryll Holland cheekpieces 1-11 (since 2021)

John and Thady Gosden cheekpieces 9-82 (2021)

John Gosden 14-105 (2016)

Pace maps

1.15pm Haydock: Blue Lemons, Nellie Leylax, Sir Les Patterson, Celtic Warrior?, Silent Move

1.30pm Goodwood: Dragon Leader, Balmacara, Al Shabab Storm, The Camden Colt, Kingdom Of Riches, Robbo, Validated

1.50pm Haydock: Live In The Dream, Asfoora (prominent), Equality (prom), Seven Questions (prom),

2.05pm Goodwood: Francophone, Kitteridge, Lava Stream, Where I Wanna Be

2.25pm Haydock: Esquire, Inisherin, Orne, Pandora's Gift

2.45pm York: Democracy Dilemma, Rabaah, Hiya Maite (prom), Lethal Nymph (prom), Manila Scouse, Never Dark, Copper Knight

3pm Haydock: Zip

3.20pm York: Gather Ye Rosebuds (prom), Night Sparkle, River Of Stars (prom), Trevaunance

3.30pm Haydock: Nothing To Sea, Emiyn, Solent Gateway, Yorkindness

3.40pm Curragh: Take Me To Church, Haatem

Balloted out (money back for ante-post punters); N/A

Trainer form - for all with entries in Saturday's ITV races (does not include Friday's results)

Excellent: Sir Michael Stoute

Good: Aidan O'Brien, Tom Clover, Donald McCain, David Evans, Roy Bowring (no recent runners but had a good 2024), James Owen, Charlie Hills, Gosdens, Ralph Beckett, Harry Charlton, Nicky Henderson, Jessie Harrington, Ed Dunlop (three of his last five runners have won at 7-1+)

Fair: Richard Hannon (though bare statistics point to moderate), Jack Davison, Andrew Oliver, Joseph O'Brien, Karl Burke, Jane Chapple-Hyam, John Butler, Richard Fahey, Jim Goldie, David Loughnane (arguably more moderate), Charlie Johnston, Kevin Philippart De Foy, Jack Channon, David O'Meara, Crisfords, Ian Williams. Andrew Balding, Roger Varian, Clive Cox, Ed Walker, Richard Hughes, William Haggas, Joseph Parr, Robert Cowell, Kevin Frost (winner on Thursday), Paul Midgley (5-1 winner on Thursday), Muir/Grassick, Henry De Bromhead, Adrian Keatley, Peter Chapple-Hyam (11-1 winner on Thursday evening), Barrons, Declan Carroll

Moderate: Adam West (though an 18-1 winner on Thursday was much welcomed), Tom Dascombe, Kevin Ryan, Harry Eustace, Mick Appleby (despite a 16-1 winner), Darryll Holland (some going okay), George Scott, Hugo Palmer, Tim Easterby, Charlie Fellowes (though not many runners, and a recent near miss), Lucinda Russell, Eve Johnson Houghton, Iain Jardine (arguably more fair), Stuart Williams

New man in town: Henry Dwyer (Aussie sprinter Asfoora has been lodging with Amy Murphy)

Listen to this week's Racing...Only Bettor

Now read Ryan Moore: Good ground to suit River Tiber in Irish 2,000 Guineas

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