ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Tony Calvin Antepost Tips: It's a 10/1 for the money at Kelso this Saturday

Horse racing tipster Tony Calvin
TC is backing one at Kempton this Saturday

Tony Calvin previews Saturday's ITV horse racing at Kempton and Kelso, recommends a 10/1 each-way bet and provides in-depth information on the weather forecast, going and double entries for both...


It's the betting cool of Kempton and Kelso this weekend before the punting furnace of Aintree's Grand National meeting next week, but the Betfair Sportsbook have still priced up all of Saturday's ITV races.

I reference the latter point, as increasingly some firms don't tend to bother with midweek ante-post prices, presumably because they see so little trade on them. That is particularly true of Kelso this weekend.

No-one could seriously argue that this medium of betting is on the rise, and margins and each-way terms are also almost always better when the competitive day-of-race markets appear from late Thursday morning onwards. But it is all about giving customers the choice.

However, often the best option in punters' armory is to decline the offer to get involved early doors.

That thought immediately occurred to me when looking at Kempton's three ITV races.

It is good to see very healthy numbers at the five-day stage there - even the fillies' Listed race has got 12 entries - and the course will be further heartened by the fact that there are so few double entries in the three terrestrial races (see all details below, including for Kelso, which we will get to, shortly).

Indeed, none of the entries in the 14:05 and 15:15 have other options this week, while only four of the 23 in the 100k Rosebery Handicap at 14:40 could go elsewhere. The two ITV handicaps will surely (well, probably) get maximum fields of 14, and see four places offered.

So, in short, you have to have a very good price reason to get involved ante-post at Kempton, as it clearly isn't hard to see the numbers holding up, with the prospect of better odds and enhanced place terms (all three races are currently 1,2,3) for each-way punters after the final fields are known at 10am on Thursday.

Betfair Kempton.jpg

The early favourites are Novus at 15/82.88 in the 1m fillies' race (despite her 5lb Group 3 penalty), Old Harrovian at 4s in the 1m3f Rosebery Handicap, while Sweet Fantasy and Novel Legend are the 7/24.50 joint jollies in the 2m Queen's Prize Handicap.

The one for what money there was knocking around in the fillies' race was targeted firmly towards Many Tears, a 300,000 guineas December purchase out of the Ger Lyons yard. She was slashed from 13/27.50 into 7/24.50 at 11.31am on Tuesday, having been an opening 10s with the Sportsbook on Monday. She is bigger elsewhere, mind you.


Kempton 14:40 - No bet

For what it is worth, I thought the pick of the prices in those Kempton races was Youthful King at 16s in the Rosebery, though I'd be inclined to wait to unload on him.

He clearly shaped very well from off the pace when a strong-finishing fourth under a 7lb claimer at Lingfield last week and most of his better efforts have come when making all or being ridden prominently. But he is surely one to revisit on the day once we know he is okay to be turned out again so quickly and we see what draw he gets.

He was berthed 14 of 14 at Lingfield (when probably weak in the market as a result) and I imagine a lower stall will see him ridden to the fore here.

There are negatives about him, notably some sexier opposition from big yards, so I want as much information as possible to hand before backing him. Stable-switcher Londoner could be interesting if going here, too.


ITV adds to Kelso confusion

Kelso is probably the more attractive ante-post card at the moment, because we pretty much know it will be heavy/borderline raceable there by Saturday - see the ground and weather forecast below - and some of the races could cut up a touch as a result (also see a fair number of double entries below).

I hope we don't get another late abandonment there, as we did with Musselburgh last week. It's not a big price.

That Musselburgh meeting couldn't even take 3.25mm (that's the first time I have seen such a specific amount given) overnight, and we could be in for another similar story with Catterick's Wednesday meeting. Kelso's forecast is even tastier on the rain front, with possibly a further 40mm to come before race-time.

Maybe that is why we have four domestic meetings on Saturday afternoon, which seemingly goes against the Premier Racing template in the main betting slot, as a safety net to further abandonments.

Anyway, on to the four ITV Kelso races, where it looks a very safe bet indeed to proceed on the basis of heavy ground for the reasons outlined above (and below).

Actually, I am not currently 100pc certain what four races ITV are showing there.

The public BHA site is still saying the 15k 2m novices' hurdle at 13:50 opens the card (and the Sportsbook are one of only three firms to price it up), but everyone else is saying it has been bumped off ITV - and now runs at 16:10 - in favour of the 100k novices' mares handicap hurdle final, which looks set to get on the box at 15:35.

In fact, the private BHA log-in site says the novices' hurdle is indeed off ITV and now runs at 16:10, so it looks a near-certainty the public BHA site is wrong.

It's all a bit of mess but it doesn't matter anyway as nothing appeals in the novices' hurdle and the 100k mares' race has understandably not been priced up by anyone due to the late change and mild confusion.


Kelso 15:00 - Back Elvis Mail

That leaves us with three races to go at then, and the 3m2f 89yd handicap chase at 15:00 screams out as a race to study. Eight of the 13 hold double-entries (Your Own Story is declared overnight at Warwick on Thursday), Jet Plane hasn't been allotted a weight and is therefore presumably not qualified (he was a non-runner because of the ground at Ludlow on Tuesday), and last year's runner-up Half Shot has the option of waiting for the Topham next week, or the Scottish National, though he is unlikely to get in either.

Your Own Story and Jet Plane are 7s and 8s respectively.

That left me with an initial working shortlist of just Does He Know, Flash Collonges and Ballycoose.

I have no arguments with Does He Know being a 4s poke in here after the cheekpieces seemed to revitalize him at Doncaster last time (a 5lb rise was very fair), and his presence means that all bar four of his rivals are out of the weights.

However, 12st in the likely conditions could be a fair old ask, especially as I had him tagged as more of a good ground horse before that, an Ascot win on soft notwithstanding. It was testing enough last time, for sure, but this is set to go up another level or two up (or is it down?) in the attritional stakes.

Flash Collonges showed nothing in that Donny race and would seem an unlikely runner on heavy ground.

Ballycoose could love the ground as a winner on heavy but his stamina for 3m2f+ in this ground is as unproven as it is unconvincing.

So I had a decision to make. Do I ditch my ante-post rule on not tipping a double-entered horse?

If I am going to do it, it had to be here with this set-up.

So the answer had to be yes, as you'd be very surprised if connections went to Carlisle with Elvis Mail when they see the likely make-up of the race-day field.

Yes, he is one of the eight double-entries in here, but he is one of only five in the handicap (and two of the other four, Aye Right and Flash Colllonges, are surely unlikely runners in the ground) and Kelso is where he has posted some of his better career efforts. Including in this very race.

Furthermore, while I personally don't read much into this, I note Bruce Lynn is jocked up on the horse at Kelso, and not at Carlisle on Sunday.

Lynn was on board when the horse ran poorly over hurdles last time, and that run is clearly no positive, but this horse is a better chaser and he didn't run too badly at the track when third in the Listed Premier Chase here last month, when his rider couldn't claim his usual 3lb.

Lynn was also on board when he won this race by 7 ½ lengths from Half Shot last year, off just a 5lb lower mark, and that win made this heavy ground scorer two from two over course and distance.

And, on the subject of his win in this contest last year, a career-best, he did oblige after unseating at the first over hurdles when a 100/1101.00 poke in the Coral Cup on his previous start.

Make of that what you will but I think he is well worth a small each-way bet at 10s with the Sportsbook, all things considered.

Back Elvis Mail each-way @ 10/111.00

Bet here

Elvis Mail is also on the same mark as when beating Highland Hunter here in October too, lest I forget to tell you, a race that has worked out exceptionally well, as Empire Steel, Burrows Diamond and Corach Rambler filled the next three spots home that day.

A win-only bet could be more sensible I guess, given his double-entry, but that each-way angle could be massive come Saturday with a heavily reduced field.

I'll leave it there, as I have already massively over-written and the clock is ticking.

Actually, a very late addition to this column just before this goes live, and an important one, too.

The trainer of Elvis Mail, Nick Alexander, has just got back to me and said "Kelso definitely plan A for Elvis." Plans can always change, I know that, but thank you, Nick.

By the way, in response to feedback, I plan to post my Saturday tipping columns on Fridays from now on.

Going the thick end of 48 hours in advance was probably counter-productive in hindsight, in a few areas, though it may be occasionally necessary to still do so for the opening columns at big Festivals.

My selections may be different to any podcast recommendations as a result - and if it means I have to forego big prices in the written format then so be it - but I will flag up the reasons in copy if so, of which the most obvious will be changing prices.

It will also help those podcast odds to be more accessible and available once the show becomes live, usually late on Thursday afternoons.

A small change, but hopefully one for the better on both fronts.

Good luck.


Weather, Going and Double Entries for Saturday's ITV Racing

Kempton Going

Standard To Slow (a bit of rain on each day this week, if it matters)

Kempton Double Entries

2.05pm: NONE

2.40pm: No Surrender, Valsad, Winter Reprise, Qitaal

3.15pm: NONE

Kelso Going

Soft (as at 11.31am on Tuesday, after 7mm on Monday)

Forecast: Currently 40mm of rain predicted Tuesday to Saturday, with 14 mm alone on both Wednesday and Friday.

Kelso Double Entries

1.50pm: Aodhan May, Curley Finger, Feivel, Lady In The Park, Prince Des Fichaux

2.25pm: Autumn Return, Bridgetjoans, Duyfken, Faithfulflyer, Forged Well, Heard That, Iolani, Libor Lad, Lincoln Burrows, Sanosuke, Swift Reply

3.00pm: Aye Right, Dorking Cock, Elvis Mail, Jet Legs, Prince Des Fichaux, Ready Steady Beau, Twoshotsoftequila, Your Own Story (entered overnight at Warwick on Thursday) ; in addition, Half Shot is in Topham next week

3.35pm: Lavida Adiva, Spit Spot, Followango, Walkinthecotswolds, Majestic Jameela, Similar Story

4.10pm (non-ITV race now, but I did it before they switched the running order, so here it is): Ayiko, Bold Light, Coastal Rock, King Of Tara, Lavida Avida, Looking Splendid, Reforme


Now read Ultimate Guide to Betting on the Grand National 2024: Tips, Odds and Predictions


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