Hughes the man for Bertiewhittle
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value in the Betfred Victoria Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
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After three days of Chester punters will be used to looking for draw bias but trying to figure out which side to be on in these big handicaps at Ascot is difficult.
It all depends on where the pace is and looking at the Betfred Victoria Cup there seems to be a nice spread with Dream Tune and Fast Finian drawn on the far side and Highland Colori possibly the one to lead the way on the near side.
The latter helped make the pace for the far side in a key piece of form for this race, the QIPCO Future Stars Apprentice Handicap that took place on Champions Day.
Six of the first eight home that day re-oppose with Lightning Cloud, who was first home on the near side, most fancied according to the market.
He has an obvious chance if he can start better than he did at Thirsk on his reappearance, but at 4lb higher than that Ascot run there's no room for any mistakes on Saturday and he's passed over.
I am interested in one that ran in that apprentice race though and it's David Barron's BERTIEWHITTLE who brings some very solid Ascot form to the table.
He gets a 4lb pull with Lightning Cloud from the race on Champions Day, where he stayed on well to finish just under two lengths off Kevin Ryan's charge.
On his two previous visits to Ascot he was unlucky when not getting a clear run on his way to a running-on seventh behind Don't Call Me and prior to that he was leading with 100 yards to go in another of these competitive seven-furlong handicaps but was just run out of it into third late on.
All three pieces of evidence point to a big run here and the crucial difference is that Richard Hughes has been booked for the ride. There are few riding with as much confidence as the champion jockey at present and his ice-cool style might just suit Bertiewhittle who travels strongly but needs to be produced to perfection.
The list of dangers is long and varied and I can't go into battle with just the one horse, with George Margarson's REBELLIOUS GUEST the other one who looks worth chancing at 33/1.
There are plenty of risks involved in backing this fellow who raced just three times last season including finishing positions of 13th and 14th on his final two starts.
But such things are factored into his price and the positives outweigh the negatives as far as I'm concerned.
He was a very talented juvenile, good enough to run in the Coventry and the Middle Park and his 13th in the Jersey Stakes last season wasn't too bad on reflection.
He was hampered early and made good headway to finish just four lengths off the winner Ishvana. Plenty who finished around him in that race are rated well into the 100s now and he could be very well handicapped off a mark of 97 with Ryan Powell taking a further three off.
Margarson has a very good record at Ascot in these big handicaps and he reports Rebellious Guest to be working very well at home, with bronchitis and rushed preparations blamed for last year's disappointments.
He would say that and he might just have been not good enough, but I think there was enough in his Jersey Stakes effort alone to think he's worth a small interest back at Ascot on Saturday.
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: +228.06pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current). The column is +95.75pts to recommended stakes in 2013.