Escobar is Tony Calvin’s best bet of the day



More small fields at Goodwood on Sunday, so it makes sense to start with the 10-runner 6f handicap at 14:25.

It has to be said it did not look very appetising at first glance, but it quickly became apparent to me that the two to concentrate on were Alaadel and Atalanta’s Boy.

I thought the issue with the former was going to be his price, as you will not see many more considerate or promising introductions as his from the widest draw at Chester – and the handicapper dropped him 1lb for it!

Basically, he was dropped in on the rail from his draw that day, and the 40/1 chance was given a real confidence-booster on his first start since October, staying on nicely into sixth under hands and heels.

It was the type of run that bookmakers tend to be all over next time, but the first time up on Friday morning made him a 15/2 chance.

That was never going to last, as he also happens to have everything else in his favour, too. The only downside is the overall form of his stable, and that is a significant concern, I admit.

Alaadel loves testing ground (all his best form has come on soft and heavy), is now just 2lb higher than when winning at Haydock in September, and he has won on his only start at Goodwood.

In short there is nothing not to like about his chances here (bar that stable form) and the booking of Oisin Murphy, whose record on the horse is that course win and a third from two rides, is another plus.

He rates a win-only bet at 13/2 with the Betfair Sportsnook. He’d be half the price if the yard were in any nick.

Form: 8/201067-6

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Date Course/Class Pos Type Dist. Gng. HDGR WGT Jockey BSP
20/08/20 Chester 6/10 Flat 6f 17y Gd/sft z 9st 4lbs Jason Hart 70.83
25/10/19 Doncaster 7/12 Flat 6f 2y Heavy z 9st 4lbs Gerald Mosse 9.6
12/10/19 York 6/22 Flat 6f Soft z 8st 13lbs Gerald Mosse 17.32
05/10/19 Ascot 13/17 Flat 5f Gd/sft z 9st 7lbs Adam Kirby 15
06/09/19 Haydock Park 1/11 Flat 6f Gd/sft z 8st 12lbs Gerald Mosse 8.91
17/08/19 Ripon 11/19 Flat 6f Soft z 9st 9lbs Connor Beasley 9
13/06/19 Nottingham 2/9 Flat 6f 18y Heavy z 9st 7lbs Adam Kirby 11.5
27/10/18 Doncaster 8/18 Flat 7f 6y Good z 8st 10lbs P. J. McDonald 15.45
14/10/18 Goodwood 1/9 Flat 6f Heavy z 8st 10lbs Oisin Murphy 5.05
06/10/18 Ascot 9/11 Flat 5f Gd/sft v 8st 11lbs Martin Harley 5.2
21/09/18 Ayr 7/23 Flat 6f Heavy z 9st 7lbs Harry Bentley 21.65
24/08/18 Ffos Las 9/16 Flat 6f Soft b 9st 2lbs Silvestre De Sousa 6.49
10/08/18 Newmarket (July) 3/6 Flat 6f Soft z 9st 2lbs Oisin Murphy 4.68
27/10/17 Newbury 1/14 Flat 6f Gd/sft b 8st 10lbs Jim Crowley 3.45
06/10/17 Ascot 4/18 Flat 7f Gd/sft b 9st 1lbs Jim Crowley 6.2
08/09/17 Ascot 2/11 Flat 6f Soft b 9st 3lbs Jim Crowley 3.15
03/08/17 Ffos Las 2/6 Flat 6f Heavy z 9st 8lbs Dane O’Neill 3.42
12/07/17 Kempton Park 8/10 Flat 6f Std/slow 9st 11lbs Jim Crowley 8.34
10/06/17 Chepstow 5/8 Flat 7f 16y Heavy 8st 13lbs Dane O’Neill 2.19
20/05/17 Doncaster 1/6 Flat 6f 2y Heavy 9st 12lbs Jim Crowley 2.14

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a sprint handicap and you can make a case for them all, but the other one that I liked was Atalanta’s Boy.

His last run in the Stewards’ Cup (where he was 2lb out of the handicap anyway) was a write-off as he completely blew the start, and he had earlier been in good form with a win and a narrow second on his two starts in 2020.

Furthermore, he is a dual course winner, proven in this ground but, on balance, I am happy to rely solely on Alaadel at a bigger price than I was expecting.

Small fields equal little interest on my part

Five turn up for the fillies’ handicap at 13:50 and no surprise at all to see the well-related improver Ice Sprite and the smart bumper horse/Windsor winner Urban Artist dominating the market.

Point In Time is the outsider of the quintet and is clearly far more exposed than the above pair, but she is no forlorn hope with her stable in such good form, and the recent rain in her favour. But there is no betting edge in the race for me.

Rosa Gold is entered at Newmarket on Saturday (at the time of writing) , so it looks like it could be just the five for the 1m2f handicap at 15:00 as well.

It’s Good To Laugh, down 1lb from a poor run at Sandown and back to easier ground, is maybe the pick of the prices at 7/1+ but it is not a race that I want to bet in.

Escobar well worth backing at venue he likes

I thought I was going to be saying the same of the seven-runner Group 3 7f Prestige Stakes at 15:35 but the layers seem to have over-reacted to Escobar‘s below-par run at York last week.

I think you can forgive that run myself as he went markedly right from his outside stall, was immediately plumb last, and could never get into a race where it favoured to be on the speed. Actually, more crucial, rather than favoured.

He had earlier run a blinder when third here in the Lennox (not the first time he has run well at this course) and he is definitely the form horse on his defeat of Lord North in a heavy-ground Balmoral at Ascot last season.

He has backed up quickly before too, when winning after just a seven-day break at York last season, and he is a bet at 15/2 win-only with the Betfair Sportsbook.

That is far too big. In fact, he is the best bet of a quiet punting day.

Form: 5431-0037

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Date Course/Class Pos Type Dist. Gng. HDGR WGT Jockey BSP
22/08/20 York 7/8 Flat 7f Gd/sft z 9st 6lbs Jamie Spencer 22.33
28/07/20 Goodwood 3/11 Flat 7f Good z 9st 3lbs Daniel Tudhope 60
16/06/20 Ascot Queen Anne Stakes 12/15 Flat 1m Gd/frm z 9st 0lbs Adam Kirby 168.28
05/06/20 Newmarket (Rowley) 10/10 Flat 1m Gd/frm z 9st 7lbs Daniel Tudhope 17.5
19/10/19 Ascot 1/20 Flat 1m Soft z 9st 6lbs Adam Kirby 27.06
05/10/19 Ascot 3/17 Flat 7f Gd/sft z 9st 6lbs Adam Kirby 32
07/09/19 Ascot 4/16 Flat 7f Gd/frm z 9st 4lbs Robbie Downey 14.5
24/08/19 York 5/6 Flat 1m 177y Firm z 9st 5lbs Jamie Spencer 14
02/08/19 Goodwood 3/20 Flat 1m Gd/frm z 9st 3lbs Jamie Spencer 17.81
13/07/19 York 1/6 Flat 7f 192y Gd/frm z 10st 0lbs Jamie Spencer 4.3
06/07/19 Sandown Park 2/13 Flat 1m Gd/frm z 9st 5lbs Andrea Atzeni 19.12
16/05/19 York 10/14 Flat 7f 192y Gd/frm z 9st 9lbs David Nolan 15.59
27/04/19 Haydock Park 9/11 Flat 1m 37y Heavy z 9st 5lbs David Nolan 7.28
13/04/19 Newbury 15/26 Flat 1m Soft z 9st 8lbs Adam Kirby 19.4
20/10/18 Ascot 2/20 Flat 1m Gd/sft z 9st 2lbs Adam Kirby 104.45
06/10/18 Ascot 10/15 Flat 7f Gd/sft z 9st 2lbs Adam Kirby 29
29/09/18 Haydock Park 3/9 Flat 1m 37y Gd/frm z 9st 9lbs Adam Kirby 14
15/09/18 Leopardstown 11/17 Flat 7f Gd/frm z 9st 11lbs Daniel Tudhope 24.77
16/08/18 Leopardstown 7/8 Flat 1m Good 9st 7lbs Daniel Tudhope 4.8
03/08/18 Goodwood 8/17 Flat 1m Gd/frm z 9st 6lbs Daniel Tudhope 6.45
07/07/18 Sandown Park 2/15 Flat 1m Gd/frm 9st 7lbs Daniel Tudhope 12.38

Good racing but no bets at Perth

I am told there are a couple of handicap good things at Perth, starting with Scardura in the 2m novices’ handicap chase at 14:05.

His stable is in good form and the horse himself shaped really well when second in a good time at Stratford last time, and he does look very well treated on that form.

But he has not been missed in the market, and he probably wouldn’t like to see any more rain, either.

I can let him win unbacked, and the same is true of Imperial Elysian, who is up 11lb for his impressive Southwell win last time, in the 14:40.

In fact, I would definitely rather back Scardura than him at a similar price, as I can see the case for two or three others in the handicap hurdle.

Speredek obviously has the talent to laugh at these off a mark of 134 if returning to his 2017/18 best after a wind op, whole Dear Sire is in good form and Tree Of Liberty has slipped down to an exploitable mark for a stable that know what’s what.

I toyed with putting up The Young Master each-way in the Perth Gold Cup at 15:15 but the race does have a bit of depth to it, and I’d be forcing a bet, in truth.

Good luck all.