Take Rex to Sprint to success
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from the feature action at Haydock and Ascot on Saturday.
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Lethal Force gets the chance to seal a hat-trick of Group One sprints this season at Haydock on Saturday, but while he has the most obvious credentials for success I think he's vulnerable.
He could blast out and make all from stall one over on the far side, and if he is unhassled for the lead he probably will, but the presence of Heeraat and Hamza from stalls three and seven respectively spell trouble for him.
They too like to force the pace early and there has to be a chance he'll do too much too soon in trying to dominate. If that's the case, we could be looking at a bit of a boilover as I'm not convinced by the claims of Gordon Lord Byron, who looks hard to win with, or Garswood whose form fails to convince.
- 1pt win Blue Bajan in 15.15 Haydock at 16/1 (General) - finally dropped to a realistic mark and hinted last time he could be about to strike
- 1pt win Rex Imperator in 15.50 Haydock at 16/1 (General) - travelled through the Stewards' Cup like a Group horse and can transfer that form to top level
- 1pt win Excellent Result in 15.30 Ascot at 20/1 (General) - ran well at Royal Ascot despite racing keenly, big chance if settles after break
The horse that I think is worth chancing is Stewards' Cup winner REX IMPERATOR who looks just the type of handicapper who can take the step up to top-level company in his stride.
It took a gelding operation, a switch to William Haggas', the application of cheekpieces and finally the services of Neil Callan in the saddle to make everything click with this tricky character, but the combination of all the above is finally unlocking his potential.
The way he travelled through the Stewards' Cup was very impressive - how many winners of that race can you call a quarter of a mile out? He looked like a group-class performer that day and at 16/1 is too big to prove it this weekend.
Though second last time at York, everything fell in place for the winner Sirius Prospect including the loose horse that did Haggas' charge no favours.
Back at six furlongs with a strong pace virtually guaranteed, I'd expect Rex Imperator to put up a bold bid on his first crack at a Group One with soft ground unlikely to be a problem for him.
Earlier on at Haydock, old warrior BLUE BAJAN looks overpriced at 16s in the Old Borough Cup.
Plenty in the contest, including stablemate Tropical Beat, have sexier profiles than him but I can't let him go unbacked at his price off a mark of 91.
Off 1lb higher at York last time he ran a good race when sixth behind Broxbourne in first-time cheekpieces, more than hinting he's dropping to a rating he can finally win off once again.
In this race last year he was extremely unlucky off a 6lb higher rating when a hampered fourth behind Sir Graham Wade and with talented claimer David Bergin taking off a further 5lb, he makes plenty of appeal despite a long losing run and his advancing years.
Finally, down at Ascot, EXCELLENT RESULT catches the eye at 20/1 in the Ladbrokes Mobile Handicap.
Saeed Bin Suroor's charge made a big impression when running away with a maiden at Sandown in May but could finish only seventh next time in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot.
However, despite pulling hard in a prominent position he hit the front two furlongs out and had plenty beaten in behind.
His exertions eventually got the better of him as he faded into a three-length seventh, but he has plenty more to give off his current mark and after a decent break I'd expect him to go well.
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: +249.56pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current). The column is +117.25pts to recommended stakes in 2013.