ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Thursday ITV Racing Tips: Tony Calvin's trio of bets for York

Tony Calvin
Tony has a trio of tips for the second day of the York Dante meeting

We move on to the second day of the York Dante meeting, and with some competitive handicaps to commence the card our resident tipster Tony Calvin has a trio of bets to consider...

  • Tony has 34.033/1 and 7.06/1 tips in the sprint handicap

  • Our man is backing a 16/117.00 shot in the 14:45

  • Dante the feature race of the day but no bet for TC

We obviously haven't seen how the track is riding as this column goes live, but we know a bit more about the ground after Tuesday saw 7.6mm land, and the current forecast suggests we could get another 5mm or so in the next 24 hours.

It is currently good, good to firm in places, so Tuesday's rain has changed little.

York - 14:15: Back Good Earth

Thursday starts with a 19-runner 5f handicap at 14:15. So, as Tom Cruise said in A Few Good Men, "and the hits just keep coming" in the difficulty stakes at this meeting.

Actually, I think trainer form could be the way into this race and this could be a first for me. Read on.

Now, there would be very few occasions when you would bet, and tip, on this angle alone - that would be a touch naive - but everyone, even if it is in their subconscious, has to factor in the well-being of a stable when assessing a horse's chance.

And I would rate Michael Herrington's recent form as very good, and he runs Good Earth here.

The bare statistics wouldn't blow you away (indeed there is some interpretation here), but Herrington has had winners at 14s and 13/27.50 this month, as well as horses at 12s (twice) and 10s beaten under a length in the same period.

For a stable not blessed with superstars, that is impressive in my book.

And his Good Earth may just be ready to strike, stepping back down to 5f on turf, after two 6f spins, one on the all-weather and the other on soft, last month.

I believe this horse is best over 5f on decent ground, and his course form figures read 1220, which is highly relevant when you consider the win came in a 20-runner heat and the other races featured at least 14 rivals.

Actually, his best runs here have come over 6f and he disappointed in the one start over 5f, though he wasn't ideally drawn in 21 that day, so that is forgivable.

His last three wins have come over the minimum trip (albeit York is a quicker 5f), and he is now 2lb lower than when winning at Sandown last August. It took him a few runs to get into full stride last season and hopefully Herrington has him primed for this.

No-one is saying he hasn't run poorly in his two starts this season, but he didn't get a solo from trap one on his return at Kempton, and the soft ground wasn't ideal at Doncaster last time, for which he was dropped 2lb. He was very weak in the market on both occasions.

Sprint handicaps aren't my bag but I am willing to back him at 34.033/1 or bigger on the exchange - that should be an attainable price given the wider marketplace, as he is 40s in five places on the Oddschecker grid - as I quite like his draw in six too, as I think Tees Spirit and Copper Knight will bring the pace into the race from two and one respectively, though there is some speed high, too.

For the sake of openness, I couldn't tip him fixed-odds as the Sportsbook are just 25s, when he is 40s and 33s elsewhere (regulars will know what to do), so I am going win-only on the exchange. He currently trades at 40.039/1 and bigger there.

York - 14:15: Back Clarendon House

The Sportsbook must have a mind-reader on their books as they also want nothing to do with Clarendon House, my other fancy, putting him at 4s when he is 7s in five places elsewhere.

I pretty much agree with their assessment.

I think this strong traveller could be a Group 2/3 horse when encountering a speed track over 5f on decent going (which he could well get here despite the recent rain) and he ran a cracker against three soft ground merchants, in spite of the conditions, at Goodwood last time.

If there is a horse in here who could blow this race apart it is him - he is 6lb higher on the all-weather after a hugely impressive win at Southwell in December - but I reckon he can operate equally well on turf.

I clearly can't take advantage of the safety net of the Sportsbook's five places given their current price, so I will look to back him at 7.06/1 or bigger on the exchange as I have to have him onside in this race, and not lose if he wins. His midfield draw in 12 will hopefully be no barrier to success, and 6s and upwards looks good to me.

I can't readily recall having two bets in a 5f handicap before.

York - 14:45: Back Mirsky E/W

I was going to say it is finger-in-the-air stuff when horses get their UK marks after coming over from France- well, to this untrained eye at least - but the Flat ratings bods would probably come after me with a vengeance if I had, as it's actually a straight translation (he was rated 44.5 kilos in France, which equates to 97.9).

Either way, Mirsky could well have been given an exploitable mark judged on his stable debut for David O'Meara in the Thirsk Hunt Cup.

Winner of four starts from 1m to 1m3f in France - and having excellent Listed-race form against good horses in 2022 - the handicapper rated him 98 at Thirsk and he shaped very promisingly there.

Nothing much was presumably expected of him that day (though he was trimmed from 33s to 25s on the show, and actually went off at near the industry SP at a Betfair SP of 28.48) but he ran a screamer coming wide from off the pace.

With the stable in great form (they have three in here, including the dangerous Bopedro), Mirsky rates a decent bet at 16/117.00 in 14:45 with the Sportsbook. He is 20s in three places, but I'd be happy with 14s and bigger myself, so I am happy to play at 16s each way, six places.

That's an attractive combination.

I'm hoping being drawn 2 of 20 is a bonus, and there is certainly a lot of pace around him. Timeform called it good for all of his French wins - and for his two excellent Listed race efforts - so the ground will hopefully be fine.

York - 15:15: No Bet

There were just seven in the filles' Group 2 at 15:15 at the five-day stage and fortunately we only lost Madame Ambassador at the overnight stage, but small field races just don't cut it for me.

And we have three of them to round off the ITV races at York.

If you read Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore's column he seemed reasonably upbeat about Infinite Cosmos' chance, so the Sportsbook's 13/27.50 - just cut from 8s , which may be related to his comments - could be fair about that likely improver with course form.

Free Wind and Bluestocking set the bar, but not scarily high, so that 8s is probably the way to go if you want a bet in the race.

York - 15:45: No Bet

Someone has got to step up to the plate to beat Ancient Wisdom in the Dante at 15:45, but whether you want to be taking 11/102.11 about him on the likely ground is another matter altogether. He is 2.3411/8 on the exchange.

He will probably be fine (he won on good to firm on his debut) but his Group 1-winning progression came on soft and heavy.

I suspect he will cop but there are enough doubts and lurkers to make you think about taking a short price about him.

York - 16:15: No Bet

Big Evs will take a lot of stopping in the 5f Listed race at 16:15, even under a 5lb penalty, and the Sportsbook's price of 8/111.73 tells you that.

However, Kylian is interesting on his debut for Archie Watson. The trainer is finally finding his stride after a very slow start to the season and his new acquisition has less than 2 lengths to find with the favourite on their Molecomb form.

Salisbury - 14:30: No Bet

ITV are also showing a handicap from Salisbury at 14:30 and it is all change on the going front there.

It was good to firm there on Monday morning but they had 27mm in a 12-hour period on Monday into Tuesday, and it is now soft, heavy in places.

Some shift.

I don't have a betting opinion in the race but Circuit Breaker will welcome the rain and he shaped well at Kempton on his return. And the stable has been in good form over the sticks. The 9/25.50 about him is fair but probably nothing more.

A shorter piece than usual, but those sub-eight Group and Listed races don't readily lend themselves to a bet.

Go well.


York: Good, good to firm in places (Wednesday 2mm; Thursday 3mm)

Salisbury: Soft, heavy in places (27mm on Monday/Tuesday have changed it from good to firm; 1mm Wednesday; 2mm Thursday)


Adrian Keatley visor 0-33 (since 2015)

Kevin Ryan cheekpieces 13-150 (2016)

Julie Camacho hood 6-35 (2012)

Julie Camacho cheekpieces 5-46 (2017)

Richard Fahey visor 10-177 (2009)

Marco Botti cheekpieces 8-92 (2016)


2.15pm York: Tees Spirit (2), Spartan Arrow (11), Bergerac (14), One Night Stand (19), Arecibo (8) - prominent, Looking For Lynda (10), Good Earth ? (6), Copper Knight (1)

2.30pm Salisbury: Alright Sunshine? (if consenting to race), The Goat, Circuit Breaker (prom), Torcello, Pawapuri?, Ocean Heights, Ellerton?

2.45pm York: Grey's Monument (14), Al Mubhir (1), Point Lynas (5), Master Richard (17), Dashing Roger (11), Cruyff Turn (3), Bajan Bandit (20)

3.15pm York: Infinite Cosmos?, Sapphire Seas.

3.45pm York: Ancient Wisdom, Cambridge? Caviar Heights, Gods Window

4.15pm York: Big Evs, Mon Na Slieve, Sports Coach (prom)

BALLOTED OUT (money back for ante-post punters): N/A

TRAINER FORM - for all with entries in Thursday's ITV races (does not include Wednesday's results):

Good: Michael Herrington, Neil Mulholland, Adrian Keatley, David O'Meara, Aidan O'Brien, Andrew Balding (has been very good for a while), O'Neills (not the pub chain), Owen Burrows, Jim Boyle, Crisfords, Fell/Murray, Sir Michael Stoute, Jack Channon, Murphy/Keady, Charlie Hills

Fair: William Haggas, Kevin Ryan, Harry Eustace (though winnerless), Ed Bethell, Ralph Beckett (beginning to hit stride in the main), Ben Haslam (though only one winner recently), Tim Easterby (fair/moderate, but a winner on Tuesday), Karl Burke, Michael Dods, Clive Cox, Julie Camacho, Mick Appleby (borderline moderate), Quinns (maybe more moderate), Richard Fahey (probably more good), Nigel Tinkler (not many winners but a lot have been going well, and a 8-1 winner on Tuesday), Shaun Lycett, Hughie Morrison, Charlie Johnston,, Robert Cowell), Scott Dixon, Antony Brittain (winner on Monday), Gemma Tutty, William Stone, Grant Tuer, Moores, Charlie Appleby, Roger Varian, Archie Watson (running into form, and probably nearer good form now), Gosdens (tailing off a bit)

Moderate: Nicky Henderson, David Pipe (though a 16-1 second on Monday), Michael Bell (despite winners), Syd Hosie, Declan Carroll, James Horton (one of his three recent runners ran okay), Ann Duffield (odd one going okay), Marco Botti (though a winner at Windsor on Monday helped), Adrian Nicholls

First runner of 2024: Ismail Mohammed (nothing since two runners in November; he must have been on holiday...)

Now read more Horse Racing tips and previews here.

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

RETURN: 30.2
P AND L: +8.2

2023-24 NH season:

RETURN: 143.4
P/L:    +16.4

April 16-Oct 31; 2023 Flat season:

STAKED:  202
RETURNS: 168.9
P AND L:  -33.1

March 26 2022 -April 15 2023:

Staked: 436
Returns: 643.6
P/L: +207.6

April 14 2021 to March 25 2022:

P/L: + 183.1


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