Tony Calvin’s trio of tips for All-Weather Finals day


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To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t be an all-weather specialist and I rarely ever bet at Newcastle, so I am certainly not the ideal companion for Finals day on Good Friday.

But I can read a form book and put in the homework, so let us see how we get on.

Count on Otto to give us a Good start to Friday

Given the above, I am going to start at Lingfield, and Count Otto looks a bet at 16/1 win-only with the Betfair Sportsbook in the ITV opener there in the 14:20.

Amanda Perrett has a small stable down in Sussex, so it was good to see her win with her last runner – going into Thursday’s racing, that is – at this course earlier in the month. And hopefully she has teed up Count Otto for this valuable pot.

The horse clearly hasn’t been at his best in four starts this season but he has come down 10lb in the weights as a result to a mark of just 83, and he ran a much more encouraging race when third at 33/1 at Kempton last time.

This time last season he was beating a then 93-rated Chil Chil (now 110) over 6f at Newmarket off a mark of 91 and some of his other better efforts have come here, including when third (again off a mark of 91) in the 7f apprentices’ handicap at this meeting last year.

Now, he will clearly need all the luck going from stall three, which is why I am playing win-only – he has raced prominently in the past, but is usually held up – but Jim Crowley, who rode him when he won at Newmarket, is back on board and hopefully he can plot a path.

Charming can be forgiven latest defeats and go well

Totally Charming comes into the 1m handicap at 16:00 on the back of two short-priced defeats, and having gone up 4lb for those, too.

So not ideal.

However, I think he is overpriced at 6/1 with the Sportsbook, and I am happy to back him each way, four places, at those odds.

A winner on debut for the stable at Kempton in January, his narrow 4/9 defeat at Southwell next time can be excused on account of the winner being a progressive sort (he is now 11lb higher) and he probably would have won over 1m2f here last time had he settled better and not been forced to race so wide from his outside draw.

A 1lb rise for that ½-length third looks acceptable in the circumstances, and a strongly-run 1m promises to suit him a lot better.

Hoping for pot of gold with Rainbow

There is something about Newcastle that has never appealed to me as a punting track, and I prefer handicaps to conditions’ races, so I am certainly not going to force too many bets here.

In fact, I am not going to make any excuses for keeping this column much shorter and sharper than usual, and the only bet I am having there is Rainbow Dreamer each way at 6/1, four places, with the Betfair Sportsbook in the 16:15.

He ran poorly when we last saw him at Kempton in early February but Alan King believes he may have run him too soon after his Wolverhampton win just 19 days earlier.

If he comes back to his best form, then he is the one to beat here, and he also has plenty of good effort around this track too, not least a Northumberland Plate fifth off a mark of 107 here in 2020.

Unsurprisingly, King reports, in his excellent Weekender column, that this 150k prize has been the long-term plan and he has been working well (though I accept he probably wouldn’t say if he hadn’t) and he has got his wish and secured the services of Hollie Doyle, who has won five times on the horse.

The stable form isn’t great but I can live with that.

Over and out.