ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Tony Calvin Antepost Tips: Vadeni is real deal but Dubai Honour offers value

Betting.Betfair tipster Tony Calvin
TC is backing Dubai Honour to Eclipse rivals at Sandown

"He is relatively lightly-raced with just the 11 runs under his belt and he is a horse with plenty of potential and upside to him..."

Back Dubai Honour in the Eclipse 15:35 on Saturday @ 26.025/1

French Derby winner and Eclipse favourite Vadeni is formidable but Tony Calvin looks elsewhere for his bet in the big race at Sandown on Saturday...

It is fair to say the Coral-Eclipse has varied in quality in recent years, and has lacked for numbers on occasions, too - I genuinely couldn't remember who won it last year before looking it up (it was St Mark's Basilica, by the way) - but Saturday promises to be a serious heat in all respects.

There isn't one no-hoper among the 11 entries, and you just hope that at least eight stand their ground on Thursday for maximum betting value.

Vadeni has style and substance

The race may lack a clear and obvious stand-out going into it - though fans of Vadeni, supplemented for £50,000 after satisfying connections in a Monday morning work-out, may beg to differ - but it could easily take a proper top-notcher to land the spoils and come out smiling at the other end.

As the betting suggests, that horse could be the aforementioned Vadeni, who announced himself as a very serious Group 1 tool indeed when running away with the French Derby by five lengths.

He may have been a bit of a slow-burner until then but he certainly lit the blue touch paper when trouncing a field that included Group 1 winners in second and third, and some seriously impressive previous Group scorers in fourth and fifth.

The performance had style and substance, and more than a touch of sauntering brilliance about it, and you can count me in as a believer.

And he is treading the same path as the aforementioned St Mark's Basilica, coming here after that French Derby win.

Vadeni wins French Derby.jpg

Of course, believing is one thing, but backing that up with hard cash is another matter entirely. Because punting is not about who you will think will win a race, it is about the best betting opportunity at the prices.

And, yes, I always get funny looks when venturing this argument to non-betting friends.

The general response goes: "What, you mean you back a horse that you don't even think has the best chance of winning?"

And that would be the polite, starting point of most of these conversations.

We have both an Exchange and Betfair Sportsbook market to go at.

Oh, and a bit of ground housekeeping before we get stuck into the betting.

It is currently on the quick side (good, with good to firm in places) and they have been watering (they put 5mm on the round course on Monday).

The forecast is for rain off and on for the week - in fact, I am not far from Sandown and it has been raining for about 20 minutes here as I type away at 3pm on Monday, although it was blue skies 45 minutes later - but not much is due, as it stands.

I say that but the two websites I use suggest it could now be pretty grim on Thursday, with one suggesting 6mm and the other edging towards 10mm.

Forecasts change, though, and frequently.

Price isn't right for formidable fav

Vadeni is a 9/4 chance in the fixed-odds front, and a touch bigger on the Exchange as you'd expect - he is currently trading at 3.55/2 and that isn't quite screaming "you must back me" in a field of this depth.

I imagine his connections will be hoping nature, and more watering possibly - tin hat at the ready, Mr Cooper - makes the ground at least good (or a touch softer in an ideal world) come Saturday afternoon.

Official going descriptions say he has never raced on anything quicker than good, and that assessment is backed up by Timeform.

Native Trail is one to swerve too

Mind you, I would side him with at those odds all day long if you asked me to back either him at 9/4 or Native Trail at 3s.

I wouldn't be in a mad rush to back the Irish 2000 Guineas winner at 5s, if I am being perfectly frank (he is currently 4.57/2 on the Exchange).

The Godolphin horse may have been the star 2yo and could improve for the step up to 1m2f, but he will have to, and it is not a given that he will fully see out the trip in this grade.

His pedigree is more of a miler, even if his run-style suggests an extra 2f may, indeed, be very welcome.

If you fancy him, then I think he drifts throughout the week. But, as we saw at the Curragh last weekend, where a few horses tripled in price and won, that is no barrier to success.

Aikhal a definite maybe

Aikhal was one of those Curragh winners who was friendless in the market, and he went off at a Betfair SP of 25.024/1 when running away with his Group 3 by 4 ¼ lengths, stepping up to 1m2f for the first time

That was some bounce back after finishing last of 11 in the St James' Palace Stakes on his comeback (and the 10th in that race, Wexford Native, also won in Group company at the Curragh).

These are obviously much deeper waters and I imagine they will leave a decision on his participation here until later in the week, but if both he and fellow 3yo Stone Age run, then it's not easy to say who is Ballydoyle's top dog now.

It'd be a bold shout to turn out Aikhal again so quickly, but the fact he was left in the race on Monday suggests he is a definite maybe.

Keep your powder dry for HD

You can also make a case for High Definition being considerably overpriced at 50s given he will surely be much better suited by stepping down to 1m2f again.

There is no evidence to say he stays 1m4f at Group 1 level, so his third in the Coronation Cup was probably a good effort, and his earlier neck second to Alenquer at the Curragh is rock-solid Group 1 form, with the third State Of Rest and the fifth, Broome, coming out and winning at Royal Ascot.

In fact, the 50s is something of an insult but I imagine likely running plans feed heavily into that price (not that I know of any, unfortunately ).

Aidan O'Brien 956.jpg

Will Aidan O'Brien run all three of his entries, or keep one of these back for the King George and other targets, such as at Saint-Cloud on Sunday, an easier Group 1 race which Broome won last year?

On balance, I'd be very much inclined to take a lesser price about High Definition after the decs at 10am on Thursday (if entered), rather than the 50s now, once it is a day-of-race market.

Powder-dry time for him.

Vadeni and Native Trail head the Betfair betting then, but they are chased up by Bay Bridge at 7/2 in the Sportsbook market, and their odds-compilers are obviously keen on him bouncing backing from his Royal Ascot reverse.

I say reverse but there was clearly no disgrace in going down by a length to a proven Group 1 horse in a tactical race, and it hard to erase the memory of his impressive victory here previously, albeit in a grade below this.

With the prospect of easier ground than at Ascot, and a more even gallop, then I can fully see why you would want him onside. The 5/1+ on the Exchange at the time of writing is one of the fairer prices in the market.

John and Thady Gosden have wasted no time in declaring their weekend jockeys, with James Doyle replacing Frankie Dettori on Lord North and David Egan on board his usual ride, Mishriff.

Mishriff, third of four in this race last season, is the highest-rated horse in here on 127 - that rating coming courtesy of his six-length dismissal of Alenqeur in the Juddmonte last season - but we haven't seen him since his blow-out in dirt in Riyadh in February, so his state of readiness is questionable, for all he has been given racecourse gallops on the July course by all accounts.

His odds of 8/1+ undoubtedly underplay his talent, but perhaps are understandable given that absence, and his undercooked run in this race last year, on the back of a Sheema Classic win previously.

Real World is at the top of his game and steps back up to 1m2f after banging heads with Baaeed over 1m. Again, it is easy to see the case for him, but the one that I kept on coming back to was Dubai Honour at 25/1.

Haggas runner is overpriced

I appreciate the Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Alenqeur is the stable number one (on betting at least), but no way should William Haggas' Dubai Honour be over three times his price. They are officially rated the same horse, for starters.

Now, quotes of 25/1 could indicate he is a not a probable starter here - and he has swerved a couple of entries of late, most recently at Royal Ascot, presumably because of the quick ground - and may need all the rain and watering going to even line up here.

But this was a seriously impressive and progressive horse in the latter stages of 2021, and one who patently failed to stay 1m4f when we last saw him in the Sheema Classic in March.

He was on a massive upwards trajectory last season, winning a handicap off 93 in July and then finishing a ¾ length second to Sealiway in the Champion Stakes at Ascot little over three months later - he traded at 1.222/9 in-running there when he looked to be coming with a winning run from off the pace - and he could also have gone close to winning the Hong Kong Cup in December with a better run.

He is relatively lightly-raced with just the 11 runs under his belt and he is a horse with plenty of potential and upside to him.

Listen, he may not run - and, like High Definition, he also holds an entry at Saint Cloud on Sunday over 1m4f - but I think he is worth a small bet at 25s win-only, with the Sportsbook. If you can get bigger on the exchange, then so be it.

I am backing him anyway, albeit to minimum stakes.

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