Play it again, Ben
Ben Linfoot is back and he seeks out the value from Saturday's meetings at Ascot and York.
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Kevin Ryan is a man to follow in the big handicaps, as evidenced by recent wins for Captain Ramius in the Ayr Gold Cup and Lightning Cloud and York Glory at last month's Royal Ascot.
The Hambleton handler runs Lightning Cloud again in Saturday's Cash Out Multiples Only On Betfair International Stakes at Ascot, but at the prices I prefer the chances of his second string, TRAIL BLAZE, at 33/1.
- 1pt e-w Trail Blaze, 1515 Ascot at 33/1 (general) - capable of running a big race from his current mark if blinkers work the oracle
- 1pt e-w Santefisio, 1515 Ascot at 33/1 (Coral) - overpriced on his big run at Royal Ascot despite the possible threat of rain
- 1pt win Baccarat, 1530 York at 10/1 (general) - lightly raced sort with potential to improve who boasts a good recover over track and distance
- 1pt win Bogart, 1530 York at 25/1 (general) - well handicapped on his best form and could run a big race back on his favourite course
Trail Blaze was a very consistent horse as a two and three-year-old, finishing in the first two in 10 of his first 12 starts on the racetrack.
This season, as a four-year-old, he hasn't been nearly so consistent. But on two of his four starts he has suggested that he remains capable off Saturday's handicap mark of 90.
At Ayr last month he led the way entering the final furlong in a mile contest before being beaten into fourth (off 91), while at Newcastle a week later he ran another good race when third over seven furlongs.
He likes to go out and make all, blazing a trail if you like, and his no-nonsense style is likely to be complimented by the first-time blinkers - he'll also stay out of any potential trouble.
Ryan employed first-time blinkers to great effect on Glory Awaits in the Guineas and I hope they'll have a similar effect on Trail Blaze who looks a big price to run the legs off his rivals from the front.
However, he's not the only 33/1 chance I like in the race as SANTEFISIO looks value at those odds considering his Royal Ascot run.
A convincing winner of the Buckingham Palace Stakes 'on his side', he was only beaten by one length in fourth overall behind Ryan's winner Lightning Cloud.
Held up that day by Joe Fanning, he came through to storm home over on the far side and pulled two lengths clear of everything else.
Off just a 4lb higher mark, 33/1 underestimates his chance even considering a below-par effort at Newcastle last time on softer than ideal ground. If the forecast rain arrives at Ascot before the International his chances would be hindered, but at 33s it's a risk I'm willing to take.
Up at York Richard Fahey is aiming to win his third Sky Bet Dash and in BACCARAT he has a solid chance.
Third on the far side behind Santefisio in the aforementioned Buckingham Palace Stakes, he hit the front in his group approaching the final furlong suggesting a drop back to six could be a good move.
Indeed, the son of Dutch Art is one from one over six furlongs and he has a 100 per cent record at York too. Extremely lightly-raced with just six career starts under his belt, you just get the feeling a handicap mark of 94 will not be the ceiling of his ability and any double-figure prices should be snapped up.
Finally, I'll return to that man Ryan again as his sole representative in the race, BOGART, is worth some consideration at 25s.
He won the big sales race at the Ebor meeting as a juvenile and though he has only won once in 11 starts since then, he's run some fine races in defeat in better company.
His eighth in the Duke Of York stands up to close inspection as he was only beaten five lengths by Society Rock and Lethal Force (off level weights with the latter) which is no mean feat.
His record looks patchy but that's only because he has one way of doing things - quickly from the front - so he often falls away in his races when headed.
But this horse is quick and on Saturday he races over his optimum trip, on his favourite track, from his lowest ever mark.
He could be hard to catch, and, at 25/1, he's worth the risk to land what would be an emotional success for Amy Ryan.
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: +258.31pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current). The column is +126pts to recommended stakes in 2013.