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Friday Racing Tips: Amber can translate all-weather form to turf says Tony Calvin

It turned soft at Chester on Wednesday and a bit more rain is due on Friday (around 8mm according to the site I use), and that does not deter me at all from siding with Amber Island in the opener at 13:30.

If it turns soft again, she just may relish it.

Back her at 30.029/1 or bigger. I’d be happy with 20/1+ myself.



Trainer: David Loughnane
Jockey: Laura Pearson
Age: 5
Weight: 8st 11lbs
OR: 92

Amber gets the green light at her price

I appreciate there are plenty in here with more obvious claims – the in-form Boardman, the 5lb well-in Repertoire (would have been 10lb had he not been 5lb out of the handicap) and Revich to name just three – and Amber Island has a fair amount to overcome, but no way am I letting her go unbacked at this price.

The most glaring barrier to victory is being drawn 11 of 11, and if that proves her undoing then so be it, but she is usually a hold-up performer (though she did go forward at Kempton four starts ago) and that may not be the overwhelming negative the market suggests.

She certainly scores highly on all other levels for me.

From a stable that had a double here on Wednesday, she comes into this contest after being in rude health on the all-weather, most recently when proving to be a dominant winner at Lingfield last month.

That victory reeked of a mare going up the ladder quickly and, while she duly went up 7lb for it, Laura Pearson is back on board and takes 3lb off, and I am looking forward to seeing what she can do on her first start on turf in over a year. It was interesting that she was also given an entry in a Group 3 at Lingfield on Saturday.

She has won on grass in the past but she has clearly improved since then, and I am not worried about the fact that she has not raced on anything slower than good, and that her sole turf win came on quick ground.

That is clearly a question to be answered but her dam was a Listed race winner and a mudlark in France, putting up all her best performances in testing conditions.

In summary, she simply looks overpriced, given that win last time.

I thought recent Newmarket winner Cap Francais was a fair price at around 10/1 in the 1m2f70yd handicap at 14:05 even if he is 1lb badly-in under his 5lb penalty, but I’d be unnecessarily forcing a bet in a tricky race.

Not that many races have as an unappealing set-up as the four-runner Group 2 Huxley Stakes at 14:40 – if they ever do chop 300 races from the racing calendar then contests like this 77k-to-the-winner would be on the top of my list, as they regularly attract rank numbers and zero betting interest – but keep on giving me these lovely big-field handicaps every day of the week.

Nate would have had a Great chance but his stablemate now looks best option

I was set to tip Nate The Great in the Chester Cup at 15:15 on Thursday morning but they pulled him out because of the ground at 9.30am.

They’d have been better off waiting if you ask me after a drying Thursday, but his withdrawal took the main punting element out of the race, and we are down to just 14 runners.

In fact, the one I liked most outside of him was his stablemate Coltrane, but he looks skinny enough on the exchange at 11/2.

No bet for me.

No bets elsewhere

You didn’t expect me to have an opinion in the seven-runner 5f conditions race at 15:45 and I am not going to disappoint you.

I know it is great that the smaller tracks get an airing on ITV but I really am not sure what a 0-110 handicap chase at Worcester at 13:50 brings to the terrestrial party, so I will park it there. It smacks of being a filler, and little more.

A much shorter column than usual, but I make no excuses for that on a day where only two races interested me from a betting point of view.

Let’s hope the recent all-weather form translates to the Chester turf.

Good luck.

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