Triple a Threat to all in feature
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and he has three selections to consider.
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It's QIPCO British Champions Day, but not as we know it. With no Frankel to light up proceedings, the star-of-the-show baton is being passed back to likeable French raider Cirrus des Aigles, 2011 Champion Stakes hero and last year's runner-up.
He didn't have much chance last season, as Frankel was as close to a racing certainty as we've ever seen. The late Sir Henry Cecil's horse was sent off at 4/11 and 2/11 for his Champions Day assignments, but there will be no such prohibitive prices glowing on the bookmakers' boards come Saturday afternoon.
- 1pt win Pale Mimosa in 13.45 Ascot at 20/1 (General) - represents connections who know what winning this is all about
- 1pt win Balmont Mast in 14.10 Ascot at 16/1 (General) - fresh, conditions ideal and overpriced on his best form
- 1pt win Triple Threat in 16.05 Ascot at 16/1 (General) - race more open than betting suggests and this one unexposed at 10 furlongs
But the 11/10, even money and odds-on quotes in places about Cirrus are short enough.
Is he really back to his best? We won't really know until 4.10 on Saturday, but I'm not convinced by his Prix Dollar breeze. He's priced up on his old form and though if he's at the very top of his game he'll be hard to beat, it's an easy decision to take him on.
Farhh is also worth opposing on value grounds. Clearly difficult to train, this is a very tough assignment considering he's only had one race in the last year and he's never won over the trip.
If you're taking on the top two it's ripe for an upset. There could be the lack of a really strong gallop and that wouldn't either suit Hillstar or Ruler Of The World, while Mukhadram would prefer summer ground.
Therefore, it could be worth taking a punt on another French raider, TRIPLE THREAT at prices around the 16/1 mark.
Andre Fabre's three-year-old has had a fairly light campaign, running just four times including when eighth in the Prix Niel on his latest start.
Sent off at 9/2 at Longchamp, better was expected. But it was his first go at a mile-and-a-half and his first run in two months. Such a performance - beaten just over three lengths - can be forgiven.
On his only two starts over 10 furlongs he's been victorious. The first of those came in the Prix La Force at Longchamp in April, the second in the Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte in July.
It's form that wouldn't be good enough to win this race, but he's highly progressive at the trip and it's reasonable to expect there is more to come. It could also be significant Fabre has waited for Ascot with him and in a race that looks slightly more wide open than the betting suggests, he's the value call.
The QEII is tricky, with Dawn Approach and Soft Falling Rain perhaps inconvenienced by the softer ground, while Olympic Glory will attempt to turn the Moulin tables on Maxios.
They look the four to concentrate on and though I considered Gregorian at 40s given his Queen Anne run and liking for the conditions, he does have enough to find with the principals.
Instead, the QIPCO British Champions Sprint looks worth playing in with BALMONT MAST underestimated at 16/1.
He's the outsider of Edward Lynam's three but was particularly impressive in a listed contest at the Curragh last Sunday.
Runner-up in the Group One Golden Shaheen at Meydan in March, he's the third highest-rated horse in the race and on his third start back from a break he's relatively fresh.
We know he's in great form, a stiff six is ideal and Johnny Murtagh, whom he gets on well with, is in the saddle. With not many obvious front runners in the line-up the likes of Maarek and Jack Dexter could be inconvenienced and the in-form, uncomplicated Balmont Mast could be seen to best advantage.
Finally, chance another Irish raider in PALE MIMOSA at 20/1 in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.
Dermot Weld and Dr Ronan Lambe won the race last year with Rite Of Passage and though that talented stayer hasn't made it to the race, Pale Mimosa might just be an able substitute.
You might think the Fillies & Mares contest would be more suitable for this former Galtres Stakes winner, but Weld has run her over 1m6f on her last three starts including to winning effect at Leopardstown in June when she beat the talented Missunited.
He clearly thinks her future lies over staying trips, and, given he's the master in the sphere, 20/1 appeals about this lightly-raced but talented filly.
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: +251.56pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current). The column is +119.25pts to recommended stakes in 2013.