ITV Races

Tony Calvin Antepost Tips: Back Cesarewitch pair at 33/1 and 66/1

Betfair horse racing tipster Tony Calvin
TC has two antepost bets for Newmarket on Saturday

Tony Calvin makes the case for two antepost bets at long odds in Saturday's Cesarewitch Stakes at Newmarket...

  • Soft ground could hamper Vino Victrix

  • 33/134.00 bet can write winning story at Newmarket

  • 66/167.00 shot is even more appealing at daft price


ITV presumably get paid by the race - that's obviously a joke before anyone has a moan-up - as they are again showing a mighty fine nine contests on Saturday (the first five are on the main channel, then they switch to ITV4 after the Cesarewitch to allow the egg-chasing build-up to Wales v Argentina), but all power to their commitment to the cause.

It's a godsend for those without access to Racing TV or Sky Sports Racing, so credit where it is due.

We will come on to Newmarket's Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at 14:00 later, but the starting point for any Saturday ante-post betting column has to be the Cesarewitch at 14:40.

We are down from 54 to 40 entries after Monday's confirmation stage, with a maximum field of 34 allowed on Saturday. The market believes that another jumps trainer will take away the prize yet again following Charles Byrnes, Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins trousering the Ces cash in recent years.

Last year, it was the turn of Byrnes to laugh at the Flat-only merchants, and Gordon Elliott's Pied Piper is currently the 9/25.50 favourite with the Betfair Sportsbook, a position cemented by Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore recently being booked to ride.

Ground uncertain with rain forecast

What ground the field will be running on is open to question, though.

They were watering at Newmarket last week and the ground has officially hardened to good to firm overnight, as of the going update at 7:42am on Monday, but the fine weather is set to turn on Wednesday.

The main weather site I use has 13mm of rain on Wednesday and 11mm (down from 24mm forecast on Sunday, admittedly) on Friday. And that is backed up by other weather bods, too. Friday looks thundery and wet all day, so they could easily cop more than 11mm.

My main long-term fancy for the race has been Vino Victrix but the forecast will be a fair worry for connections.

He can handle good to soft well enough (though good would be infinitely better) but when it turns soft then he is a pretty woeful operator, as I found to my cost when tipping and backing him at the less-than-Glorious Goodwood.

He hasn't got to within 12 lengths of the winner on his four starts on soft ground.

If it doesn't get that bad, then last year's runner-up (off a 2lb higher) has to be a massive player here after being handled with kid gloves by Billy Loughnane when fourth to Novel Legend at Goodwood last time. I'd say they very much had an eye on Newmarket that day.

Goodwood winner Novel Legend was well beaten at the Curragh next time but the runner-up Grand Providence won the Ces trial here subsequently (and is the 8/19.00 second favourite here, though she isn't currently assured of a run), so even the bare form looks decent enough.

Trainer Hughie Morrison is one of the few Flat trainers to have tasted success in this race recently, with Sweet Selection in 2016, and everything points to Vino Victrix going close. And he is currently 9/110.00 with the Sportsbook.

I was sorely tempted to stick him up here but, given the uncertain weather forecast, I won't be pressing up on him myself without a better handle on the ground, and that maybe will only come on my 8am Twitter Spaces show on Saturday morning given the Friday forecast.

I'd rather take 7s on Saturday morning, six places, if I know I am dealing with suitable ground.

On good going, he will be top of my list.

He clearly bumped into a blot in Run For Oscar in this race last year, with the rest well beaten off, and he is now 2lb lower after a real eye-catcher of a prep. There is nothing not to like apart from that forecast, so I suggest you hold fire, for all the Sportsbook combination of price and place terms is undoubtedly tempting. To a degree.

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Pied Piper has a lot going for him as a 157-rated hurdler, running off 96. He is a ground-versatile course winner and he prepped for this with a fair third (it was nothing more than fair) at Killarney in August, his first run since the Punchestown Festival in April.

The fixed-odds 9/25.50 is surely too short, though.

Last year's third and Vino Victrix's stablemate Not So Sleepy has to be on the shortlist (the same owner-trainer combo also have Salisbury winner Lady Percival in here, and we will get to her shortly), especially with so much rain in the offing. But he goes so well when fresh that maybe he left his Cesarewitch chances behind at Newbury, for which he picked up a 4lb penalty that leaves him 1lb badly in.

The latter comment also applies to another favourite of mine, recent Chester winner Tashkhan, but he is another who will relish any significant rain. That pair are 12/113.00 and 14/115.00 respectively.

You'd be a fool to rule out any of Willie Mullins' five, but let's stop going around the houses, shall we. Is there a bet?

Newmarket - 14:40 Saturday: Back Typewriter

If there is, they have to be ground-versatile. The 20/121.00 poke Wordsworth has a fair chance on his back-form and after a hurdles win for new connections last time, but I am going in two-handed here.

The first is Typewriter win-only at 33/134.00 with the Sportsbook, or 34.033/1 or bigger on the exchange. She currently trades at 36.035/1 as this goes live, and 33s on the fixed-odds front is available across the Oddschecker board.

I am going in on the nose with her as only as recently as April did connections pull her out on soft ground at Nottingham, when she had actually won on that surface at that very course in the past.

Hopefully, they will let her take her chance come what may on Saturday, as she shaped well over an inadequate 1m6f on soft ground at Goodwood last time (she has always looked a plodder). She showed marathon trips were no concern for her when fourth on quick ground in the Queen Alex over an extended 2m5f at the Royal meeting.

A mark of 93 looks very fair on the Ascot run, although she is due to go down 1lb in future.

Back Typewriter @ 33/134.00

Bet now

Newmarket - 14:40 Saturday: Back Lady Percival

The one I like most though is an each-way bet at 66/167.00, five places on Morrison's mare Lady Percival. It looks a bizarrely big price to me, and a generally available one, too.

The trainer won this race with a 4yo mare in Sweet Selection in 2016 and I just hope owner Lady Blyth doesn't mind running two in here, as this one is surely overpriced given her progressive profile and her Salisbury win last time.

She came back from a long break to run (her first since December, so hopefully they were keeping her fresh with an eye to this race) an encouraging third at Wolverhampton in August and she did it well from the front at Salisbury.

Granted, she is 1lb wrong here, as she went up only 3lb for that win and runs under a 4lb penalty, but that 3lb rise looked lenient as she won pretty readily from a progressive, in-form horse, with the third (who ran well to be second next time) 7 ½ lengths away.

She is also a half-sister to a certain Quickthorn, so hopefully a mark of 82 is not the limit of her potential, and she stays this trip just as well.

Soft ground could be an issue I suppose, given her early experiences of soft and heavy ground back in 2020 and 2021 were not great, but those were early on in her career and Quickthorn handled deep ground well.

Plus, while it was good to soft at Salisbury, Timeform called it soft, so I hope connections note that. I am also presuming good ground is hunky dory, too.

The 66/167.00 looks a bit daft to me, so I just hope she gets the chance to show it, as I have no idea if she is an intended runner. The fact that she is still in the race and guaranteed a run suggests she is.

She is currently 70.069/1 on the Exchange.

Back Lady Percival e-w 5 places @ 66/167.00

Bet now

Newmarket - 14:00 Saturday: No bet

The Dewhurst at 14:00 had 33 entries on Monday morning but we are down to 12 now. The big man, City Of Troy, is still in the race though and he is the 1/21.50 favourite.

The visuals gadgees and the Time Bandits both agree this is a potential worldie, and you wouldn't be in a mad rush to take him on.

However, backing him ante-post is surely another matter entirely.

I know politics were probably as much at play as the ground - he won the Superlative Stakes, doing handsprings, on good to soft - but he was pulled out on officially good to yielding ground late on in the National Stakes at the Curragh last month, so Friday's expected rain would be a worry for him, too.

And Aidan O'Brien has left some rather hefty back-up in here with the National Stakes winner Henry Longfellow, Lagardere runner-up Unquestionable, River Tiber, Henry Adams and Johannes Brahms also potentially on show.

Having six of the 12 is just showing off - O'Brien also has six of the 14 in the 2yo Group 3 at the start of the card - and I bet most odds-compilers would rather not have priced this race up.

As it is, if they start to see money for the 10/111.00 chance Henry Longfellow, they may be possibly tempted to pull the market.

Aside from the Ballydoyle crew, we also have the small matter of the Champagne Stakes winner Iberian at 10/34.33, recent Group 3 course winner Alyanaabi (8/19.00) and the supplemented Mill Reef victor Array (14/115.00) to ponder over. And don't forget Indian Run, winner of the Acomb Stakes and a 14/115.00 chance.

Oh, and Iberian's conqueror in the Vintage Stakes, Haatem, and Tattersalls Stakes third Eben Shaddad, who shaped far better than his finishing position there.

A potentially brilliant race? Undoubtedly.

A betting heat at this stage. Na.


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STAKED: 185 RETURNS: 168.9 P AND L: - 16.1 PREVIOUS (from March 26 2022 -April 15 2023) Staked: 436 Returns: 643.6 P/L: +207.6 All exchange bets are settled at Betfair SP for sake of fairness ANTE-POST - 22

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