German raider can deny the Queen
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on day three of Royal Ascot and he's backing Germany's Altano to get the better of Estimate.
- Related Content
As if Royal Ascot isn't hard enough, you can now throw thundery showers into the mix.
So as well as trying to predict where the pace is, which side to be on in the straight mile races and just simply who is going to get home first, we have uncertainty over the ground too.
- 1pt e.w Altano in 3.45 Ascot at 20/1 (General 1,2,3,4) - dour stayer who will appreciate a real test and underrated
- 1pt win Maputo in 4.25 Ascot at 12/1 (Ladbrokes) - progressive horse who is uncomplicated and should run well from prominent position
- 1pt win Royal Skies in 5.35 Ascot at 12/1 (General) - thriving on racing and he's still improving at the trip
Still, the action on the track is compelling and the Gold Cup remains, for me, the race of the week despite Flat fans being obsessed with speed in the modern game.
This year's Group One for steely stayers has the caveat of the Queen owning the favourite, Estimate, who should go well if her reappearance run in the Sagaro Stakes is anything to go by.
I think she'll run well but at 6/1 her price has gone and the same can be said for Simenon who is also a likely player following his magnificent double last year.
Rite Of Passage is also short enough given his fragility, but again, it would be no surprise to see him win the race for the second time. After all, he is trained by Cup king Dermot Weld.
But looking at the market on Wednesday evening, I feel the 20/1 about the German raider ALTANO represents the best bit of business in the race.
There is loads of pace in the race for starters. El Salvador, Vadamar, Last Train, Model Pupil, Colour Vision and Saddler's Rock all like to either lead or race prominently and I'm hopeful the race will be set up for a closer.
There are plenty of those in the contest too, but Altano looks a dour stayer and I'm convinced the more of a test this race is, the better he will be.
Andreas Wohler's horse has been one of Germany's top stayers for a while now - he's a Deutches St Leger winner - and he won the Oleander-Rennen at Hoppegarten for a second time on his latest start which gives us some idea of his level of form.
His stablemate Earl Of Tinsdal was back in third after going for home too early and he beat Vadamar and Joshua Tree in the Gran Premio di Milano last season.
While Earl Of Tinsdal needs the rain, Altano is more versatile regarding underhoof conditions and at 20/1 I like his chances from an each-way perspective.
Middleham trainer Mark Johnston has had some memorable Gold Cup days in the past thanks to Double Trigger and Royal Rebel.
He's only had a handful of runners this week but a host of entries on Thursday gives him a chance of getting on the board and I'm keen on a couple of his runners.
Firstly, MAPUTO appeals in the Britannia Stakes at 12/1.
This Cape Cross colt is related to a host of winners and his Sussex Stakes entry is an indication of the high regard he's held in - not misjudged following a hat-trick of wins this season.
He looks really progressive and is a nice price simply because of the presence of hotpots Cape Peron and Wentworth.
Admittedly the pair look ahead of the handicapper, but both will be ridden in rear before being unleashed late on and traffic problems for both wouldn't be the biggest surprise.
Instead of backing either of those two at skinny prices I'd much rather chance Maputo, an uncomplicated prominent racer, who might be just as progressive if a little less sexy.
Johnston has dominated the King George V Stakes that closes the card with five wins in the race since 1995 and he has four representatives this time around.
ROYAL SKIES is the one to be on according to the market at 12/1 and that price looks fair given his overall profile.
He's won races at Pontefract and Musselburgh on his last two starts, his latest win only in a three-runner contest but a good guide to his ability nonetheless.
He beat Eric The Grey in Scotland, a good yardstick, and he beat him convincingly giving him loads of weight.
Improving with racing, Royal Skies looks to have plenty more to offer over 12 furlongs and given he's in a rich vein of form it could be worth chancing him in a good race now.
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: +237.06pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current). The column is +104.75pts to recommended stakes in 2013.