Kevin Blake

Saturday Racing Tips: Kevin Blake backs Calvados and Cobden to gel at Kempton

Horse racing tipster Kevin Blake
Kevin recommends bets at Kempton and Newcastle

Kevin Blake recommends a bet for Saturday's big race at Kempton and one that will relish ideal ground at Newcastle...


Harry and Saint could be Kempton dream team

Inevitably, every weekend between now and the second week in March will be framed within the context of the countdown to the Cheltenham Festival. But we still have plenty of very good action to keep us occupied until then and this weekend is no exception.

At Kempton, the pick to my mind is the valuable Coral Trophy Handicap Chase (15:00) and the one that is taking my eye is the Paul Nicholls-trained Saint Calvados.

The 10-year-old has been a high-class operator on his day, winning two Grade 2 races and being beaten just a neck by Min in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020. The second of those Grade 2 wins came as recently as last April at Sandown in the shape of an impressive 16-length win in the Oaksey Chase.

Over the summer, Saint Calvados was bought by the Corinthian amateur rider David Maxwell, which was a punchy move from him, as Saint Calvados has never looked a particularly straightforward ride being quite a hard puller.

It is fair to say that the two haven't necessarily clicked in their two outings this season, with them going off too hard in a two-runner Grade 2 at Ascot prior to pulling too hard in a Grade 2 at Kempton in January.

A consequence of those two runs has been a generous drop of 7lb which makes him look well handicapped. Most significantly, Harry Cobden now takes back the ride. Cobden is obviously one of the best jockeys in Britain and was onboard when Saint Calvados gained that aforementioned win at Sandown last April.

While his best form has come at short of three miles, his performance at Sandown over an extended two miles six furlongs suggests that he can get this trip if he consents to settle better than he often does. It wouldn't at all surprise if he runs a big race.

Back Saint Calvados 15:00 Kempton @

8.4

BB could bring A-game on ideal ground

One of the biggest races in Newcastle's racing year takes place on Saturday in the shape of the Vertem Eider Chase at 15:25. While this race can often turn into a woeful slog on testing ground, this year will be different as the ground is being watered to maintain it at good-to-soft.

That surface won't be ideal for every horse in the race, but one that it will be ideal for is the Ann Hamilton-trained Bavington Bob. The eight-year-old marched up the ranks when switched to fences last season, winning four handicap chases and going up a total of 23lb.

His connections would have started this season hoping that they might have a Grand National horse on their hands, but the Hamilton team had a slow start and Bavington Bob ran a long way below form in his first two starts of the campaign.

Given a 12-week break and with the Hamilton team starting to come back to life, Bavington Bob ran a much better race on his latest outing at Kelso, not travelling overly well on ground that would have been softer than ideal prior to finishing a close second to Just Don't Know.

Since then, the Hamilton team have started to roll, with two of their last three runners having won. As well as that, Babington Bob looks very much ready for the step up to this marathon trip and the return to much better ground will very much suit.

The final piece in the puzzle is that he will wear first-time blinkers which should be a help to him travelling better than he has in recent starts. All told, he looks to have quite a bit in his favour and I could see him running very well indeed.

Back Bavington Bob 15:25 Newcastle @

11.0

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