ITV Races - Tony Calvin

Wednesday Racing Tips: Tony Calvin's best bets for Chester

Betfair Ambassador Tony Calvin
Tony Calvin brings us his best bets for the opening day of the Chester May Meeting

Tony Calvin advises two double-figure priced bets on the opening day of Chester's May meeting live on ITV this Wednesday...

  • Two bets on the opening day of Chester's May meeting

  • Outsider of the field can go close in the opener

  • Beckett horse fancied in Cheshire Oaks

The racing comes at you thick and fast at this time of year on terrestrial TV, and it is the turn of Chester to take centre stage on the Flat, with their three-day fixture.

Unfortunately, we lost Newton Abbot on Tuesday morning, as it is waterlogged. They have had no luck with their weather this year.

It is good at Chester, with perhaps the odd spit and spot of rain but largely dry, warmish conditions.

I actually don't believe anyone truly believes betting at Chester is their ideal. In fact, some tipsters regularly take this week off. It is a meeting for minimal stakes.

Every year, you read the same lines trotted out - and rightly, too - about the punting dilemma it presents.

Take under the odds about well-berthed horses - bookmakers know the likely betting traffic and price accordingly - or literally get drawn in by those tempting over-the-top offers about those nearer the City walls than the oft-favoured rails.

You can look silly either way, and very early on in sprints, races in which you can pretty much know your fate after 100 yards.

And that is without horses changing run-styles (or being withdrawn a regular feature here) because of the troublesome draws they have been presented.

We have already seen horses drawn nine and 10 taken out of the 5f races. They probably won't be the last.

Chester - 13:30: Back Macanudo @ 33/134.00 Win-Only

Right, we kick off with a 14-runner (maximum field) 6f handicap at Chester at 13:30, a race in which Old Chums looks the likely leader from stall two, though he has missed the kick before. The stable is going okay (two of their five 2024 winners have come recently) and he is a 6s chance on the Sportsbook.

Auric, from stall eight, is a possibly a surprising early favourite at 5/16.00 - it sounds like new snooker world champion Kyren Wilson is part of that syndicate - but it is the price of Macanudo from 12 that sums up the aforementioned dilemma.

He is 33s with the Sportsbook, and 40s in four places, but he'd probably be at least half that price if drawn better. And he has form on both good to firm and soft.

Aunties and uncles, I know.

He has course form (he actually made the running when a fair second over 5f here last July) and he probably ran his best race of the current campaign when third at Bath last time, after which he got dropped another 2lb (that's 4lb in total since he joined Ian Williams from Olly Murphy after winning at Chelmsford in February).

He has been held up this season, so maybe they will ride him for luck from off the pace again here, but he is 33s (and 40s) for a reason and that is because it isn't hard to see him experiencing a world of grief.

Looking at the pace map below, Mr Chester Franny Norton will need all his track-craft to get into a challenging position before it is all too late.

I have outlined all the risks but I have to stick to my betting MO and recommend a minimum-stakes win-only bet on him at [33/1, or 34.033/1 or bigger on the exchange. If you can get better, obviously do so. The Sportsbook are paying four places, by the way.

With so much speed in the race, let's hope for that sprint phenomenon - the pace collapse.

The 13/27.50 chance Winged Messenger (seven) is the other one with course form, and he comes here after a good run at Thirsk last month.

Back Macanudo Win-Only in 13:30 Chester @ 33/134.00

Bet here

Chester - 14:05: No Bet

The 2yos are next up in the Lily Agnes at 14:05, and the early betting here gave zero clues. The Sportsbook opened up 5/16.00 the field, with seven of the 11 priced up at 7s and shorter.

None have experience of the track, and not one has posted a time and form performance that would scare a baby, so perhaps the brace of Hugo Palmer debutants (he obviously trains nearby at Michael Owen's stables these days) could play a big role here, though they have drawn seven and eight. You'd have thought the locals have been well drilled for this, though.

Ripon runner-up, and 5s chance, Night In Paris could marginally have the best credentials, but she has only two horses outside of her, so Jamie Spencer is going to have ride a peach.

In summary though, the race looks a complete guess-up.

Chester - 14:35: No Bet

We have a 3yo 5f handicap at 14:35 and I have seen easier locks to unpick. This race is full of speed (see below).

Again, course form is scarce - only Due For Luck and Midnight Lir have run here before - and the widest-drawn four occupy the tail-end of the betting alongside Dandy Devil.

It's all about risk and reward. The in-form Ziggy's Missile is drawn 12 of 12 and is as big as 14s in the marketplace; give him trap one, and you are looking at half those odds, though he can be tricky at the gates.

The one I liked best on paper is Rainynightingeorgia, and a fair chunk of that is that I view the stable-switch from William Jarvis to Alice Haynes as a big positive.

Spencer was on board when this filly made all at Lingfield, having previously finished second to Beautiful Diamond on her debut , and I think a mark of 78 looks fair for her. She also has a decent pedigree for a horse starting out in handicaps on a lowly perch.

But, given she has six forward-goers inside of her - and I apologise for repeating myself - it could be game over if she is tardy out of the gates.

I have no issue with taking a risk if the reward is adequate compensation but I wanted a lot more than the Sportsbook's current 13/27.50 to get involved.

From a price perspective, Moonstone Boy makes the most appeal at 9/110.00 with the Sportsbook from stall four.

The stable has hit a bit of form recently, and this horse makes a quick reappearance after running at Newcastle last week. He does so in first-time blinkers (stable is 4 from 34 since 2012), and for what it is worth his dam won in initial headgear (in her case a hood).

You have to think Andrew Mullen, who rode him at Newcastle and keeps the ride here, recommended the blinkers angle. A lot of the headgear changes seem to come from jockeys' feedback.

If you want an interest, the 9s about him is the way to play it.

Chester - 15:05: Back Seaward @ 20/121.00 Win-Only

The Classic trials then kick in, with the Cheshire Oaks at 15:05 seeing Galileo Dame and Forest Fairy fighting for Sportsbook favouritism at 9/43.25 and 5/23.50 respectively.

Again, there is a lot of guesswork here, as six of the nine have only raced twice or less, but you had to love the way the former picked up to beat Rubies Are Red (re-opposes again here) in their maiden on heavy.

But, boy, was the girl Forest Fairy impressive when winning on her debut at Wolverhampton.

While the form is mixed - the runner-up won at Kempton next time, with the third and fourth stuffed subsequently - it was all about one horse that day and I'd be a big fan of the stable when they get their hands on a good 3yo filly. Beckett actually has four in the Lingfield fillies' trial on Saturday.

The stable could be about to catch fire too after a slow start to the turf season , so she'd be my definite lean in the race. It's obviously a big step up for her, but nothing in the race sets a high bar to aim at.

In fact, her stablemate Seaward (incidentally, one of the above four given a Lingfield entry on Monday morning) could prove troublesome.

They rolled the dice with her in the Group 1 Fillies Mile after her Ascot win and didn't barely came up with a one, as she only narrowed avoided finishing last by a short head, though it probably wasn't as bad an effort as I am painting.

I was surprised they ran her there on soft going, as Beckett said she wanted fast ground ("it is important to her") after the Ascot win on good (Timeform called it good to firm) and Seaward has a decent pedigree, too.

She cost 460,000 euros as a yearling and , while there is a fair bit of speed in there, she is by huge stamina influence Sea The Stars out of a firm ground winner.

Doubts galore in here - they all have the potential to step forward massively - but I think she rates a better bet at 20s then her stablemate does at 5/23.50.

It could be Beckett will have a look at the ground before running her and maybe wait for Lingfield - it clearly won't be bad at Chester by any means, and may even be on the quick side by race-time - but I can't second-guess that scenario at the moment.

The ideal scenario here is that she jumps out in front from stall two and Hector Crouch doesn't see another rival. Crouch was on board at Ascot, a race in which she showed a great attitude to prevail.

Having taken a big risk with the opening selection, I was going to give this race a swerve - the blow-out potential is obvious here - but I'm going to chuck a few quid at her myself, so I have to stick her up here, again to the smallest of stakes, at that top industry price of 20/121.00, or 21.020/1 or bigger on the exchange.

Back Seaward Win-Only in 15:05 Chester @ 20/121.00

Bet here

Chester - 15:40: No Bet

There is no surprise to see Grosvenor Square head the betting at 5/42.25 in the Chester Vase at 15:40, but the form of the Aidan O'Brien yard would have to a concern if betting at these short odds.

He is the clear form stand-out but Hidden Law (beaten a short-head by Cadogan Place at Southwell in March) looked a potential worldie at Newbury last time and we also have three other last-time-out winners in here, along with Golden West, who has first-time headgear applied after disappointing in deep ground in France.

I'll happily sit this one out, with so many unknowns on display and no tempting price to adequately cover those doubts.

Best of luck. You tend to need it at this fixture....


Chester: Good (also mainly dry Tuesday and Wednesday)


Karl Burke hood 5-44 (2014)

Karl Burke pieces 15-171 (2016)

Iain Jardine blinkers 4-34 (2012)


1.30pm Chester: Beyond Borders (1) (prominent), Old Chums (2), Call Glory (3) (prom), Exponista (5), Tsunami Spirit (6) (normally off pace but has led), Al Shabab Storm (10), Macanudo (12) (held up recently but has pressed on before), Siobhanbrogan (14)

2.05pm Chester (very limited evidence): Lady Lightning (1), Flicka's Girl (4), Kodibeat (5), Seraphim Angel (6), Night In Paris (9), Paddy's Courage (10),

2.35pm Chester: Kings Merchant (1), Due For Luck (2), Blue Storm (3) (prominent maybe - has been held up of late but has been ridden aggressively before), Moonstone Boy (4) (occasionally prominent), Knicks (6) (prominent), Vince L'Amour (7), Rainyniteingeorgia (8), Ziggys Missile (12)

3.05pm Chester: Flying Finn (5), Port Fairy (9), Rubies Are Red (3), Seaward (2)

3.40pm Chester: Grosvenor Square (1) but others may switch tactics to take him on?

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

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

Excellent: Gemma Tutty

Good: Andrew Balding, Karl Burke, Dominic Ffrench Davis, Paul & Oliver Cole (borderline fair), Robert Cowell, John & Thady Gosden

Fair: George Scott (though arguably borderline moderate despite a 33-1 winner), Richard Fahey, Kevin Philippart De Foy (borderline moderate), David and Nicola Barron, Mick Appleby (despite winners), Hugo Palmer, Tom Dascombe (maybe more good), Ian Williams, Craig Lidster (borderline moderate), Ed Dunlop, George Boughey, Michael Dods, Iain Jardine, John & Sean Quinn, Ed Bethell, Adrian Keatley, Joseph O'Brien, Charlie Appleby

Moderate: David Loughnane, Tim Easterby (despite winners), Darryll Holland (despite recent 6-1 wiinner), Alice Haynes (possibly harsh), Mick & David Easterby, James Owen, Ralp Beckett (but definitely coming to the boil more; had two recent winners), Aidan O'Brien.

Now read Ryan Moore Day One Chester May Meeting: Three smart chances on Wednesday

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