Roll the Dice with Tepmokea
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from day three of the York Ebor Festival and he's focused on the Sky Bet Handicap.
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We saw on Thursday in the Clipper Logistics Handicap won by Mont Ras that a soft lead at York can be a lethal weapon and this should be considered when assessing the opening Sky Bet Handicap on Friday.
For while you might presume that a decent pace is assured in a field of 16, there is a distinct lack of usual front runners in the line-up.
I've identified just two, SCATTER DICE and TEPMOKEA. At 12/1 and 33/1 respectively, both look worth backing, as they appeal from a handicapping point of view too.
We'll start with Scatter Dice, Mark Johnston's filly, who won four races in five starts between April and July last year, rising from a handicap mark of 64 to one of 93 in those four months.
She hasn't won since, but finally, after 11 starts this year, the handicapper has relented and dropped her to a mark of 87. Racing off that rating at Chester last time, she ran her best race for ages when a three-quarter-length second to Kiama Bay (with whom she has a 6lb pull at the weights on Friday).
A daughter of Manduro, you might think that the cut in the ground she experienced on the Roodee was to her advantage - and it might've been - but she's performed perfectly well on a fast surface several times, including in victory.
Unlikely to be hassled up front for the lead, Scatter Dice is a dangerous filly to let loose up front at York, especially given she is beginning to look well-handicapped on her very best form.
With Franny Norton booked in the saddle I'd expect a big run and 12/1 seems perfectly fair.
If there is one horse that is going to keep her company throughout the contest it is Elaine Burke's Tepmokea and he is also worth backing at 33/1.
Regular readers will remember he was the selection at the same price when second to one of Johnston's in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock, running well off his lowest mark for three years from a prominent position.
Well, after two below-par runs since he's back down to a rating in the 80s and, drawn perfectly in three, expect him to be prominent early once again.
He took up the running two furlongs out at Haydock before being worn down by Star Lahib late on and I think it's reasonable to expect a similar performance on Friday now he has his optimum conditions once again.
The added bonus in this race is his exceptional record at York - his only two career victories over a mile and a half have come on the Knavesmire and at 33s he's been seriously underestimated.
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: +260.56pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current). The column is +128.25pts to recommended stakes in 2013.