Tominator to exterminate Cup rivals
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from Saturday's Imperial Cup card at Sandown.
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We've a mole, a Mr Mole, in the Paddy Power Imperial Cup and his presence in the market makes TOMINATOR a stand-out bet at 9/1 in the valuable handicap hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
Paul Nicholls' market leader is as short as 11/4 and he has a good chance of victory going by his efforts in two of his three races this season; a notable defeat of Melodic Rendezvous in October and an easy win at Taunton last time.
- 1pt win Tominator in Imperial Cup at 9/1 (Ladbrokes) - Race looks ideal and he is a horse who is well handicapped.
- 1pt win Barrakilla in Sandown 2.05 at 12/1 (Stan James) - Won well last time and progress may not have stopped.
- 1pt e.w De Blacksmith in Sandown 2.05 at 50/1 (Bet365, Sky Bet) - Shouldn't be written off and price is an insult.
However, he clearly has his quirks. On his penultimate start at Wincanton he was beaten at odds of 2/7 after he hung left in the latter part of the contest and it's something to bear in mind if you're taking short prices about him in a heat as hot as this one.
I'd much rather be on Jonjo O'Neill's Tominator who looks the best-handicapped horse in the field.
When he won at Bangor on his hurdling debut he was being talked of as a Supreme Novices' or Neptune contender as he had the potential to be a bit better than a handicapper.
However, some dodgy jumping behind Dodging Bullets at Cheltenham soon quashed those ambitions and that's when Plan B must've been hatched: the handicap route.
A bit of a break seemed to do him good as he jumped much better here at Sandown on his last start, especially in the closing stages when in full flight.
A good-quality stayer on the Flat, an initial mark of 130 over hurdles looks an attractive one, especially seen as he should thrive in the cut and thrust of a big-field handicap. He did on the level.
A strongly-run two miles looks perfect for him and the soft ground will hold no fears either - 9/1 looks big and we'll happily have a bit of it.
Earlier on I like the look of BARRAKILLA in the EBF paddypower.com National Hunt Novices' Final at 12/1.
This is a really hot race with any number of improvers who have bright futures ahead of them, with Edmund Kean, Many Clouds, God's Own and Imperial Leader all nice horses who were on the shortlist.
However, at 12/1 Barrakilla has been underestimated.
I was particularly taken with his win in a handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter last month when he absolutely bolted up, beating a solid yardstick in Hassadin who just wasn't in the same league.
A rise of 11lb in the weights was inevitable but it might not be enough to halt the progression of this Evan Williams-trained horse who will handle the soft ground and a battle if it gets tough in the closing stages.
I also can't resist the each-way claims of DE BLACKSMITH in the same contest as I can't see why he's the outsider of the field at 50/1.
He's another who will handle the ground and stay further in time and I fancy him to resume his progression now he's back racing on soft.
Slightly keen in the early stages last time at Kempton, he also seemed to struggle on the good ground and was tapped for toe when they were queuing in behind him turning into the straight.
A speed test on a flat track like Kempton when it's riding good wouldn't have played to his strengths and he was eased down when his chance had gone.
However, he hurdled well from a prominent position for a long way - it's one of his strengths - and back on soft ground on a more testing track he can go well.
He'd won his previous two starts showing a good attitude on soft ground and it's too early to be writing him off as a no-hoper, even in a race as good as this.
50/1 is too big and a small each-way bet is advised.
Finally, consider backing As Der Fer in the Chepstow 15.40. He hosed up back from a break off a similar mark at Ffos Las in November 2011 so his long absence isn't a concern.
It looks a weak contest and he could outclass them, outstay them, or both. There's very few prices available at the time of writing but I would say anything around the 7/1 mark is fair.
Ben Linfoot's Value Bet Aim: The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK. Running total: +146.56pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).