Chance McManus aces at Ffos Las
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from the feature races Sandown and Ffos Las on Saturday.
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If any of Saturday's National Hunt meetings survive the rainfall that's showering the country as I type, it's going to be really heavy going and non stayers need not apply if the Burns Pet Nutrition West Wales National gets the go ahead at Ffos Las.
Three and a half miles in such testing conditions will take some getting, though such a test will hold no fears for Mountainous following his romp in the Chepstow mud last month.
- 1pt win Alaivan in 2.05 Ffos Las at 9/1 (Sky Bet) - no obvious pace in the race and that would suit this two-miler who ran well last time
- 1pt win Smoking Aces in 2.40 Ffos Las at 9/1 (Coral, William Hill) - thorough stayer who ran well despite mistakes last time; carries featherweight
- 1pt win Roalco De Farges in 3.35 Sandown at 9/1 (Paddy Power) - could be thrown in on his form behind Tidal Bay at the track, if he can overcome long absence
Whether you want to get involved with him at around the 9/2 mark depends on if you think he can cope with a 12lb rise in the weights, a hike that seems harsh enough following his head victory over Hawkes Point.
On balance, I'd be surprised if he could defy such a rise and would much prefer to have a bit of the 9/1 available about Jonjo O'Neill's SMOKING ACES instead.
He won a three mile and five furlong handicap chase at Fairyhouse in soft to heavy ground when trained by Tom Taaffe and it's not the only time he's advertised his credentials in a stamina fest.
A run out over an inadequate trip at Chepstow on his first appearance for O'Neill proved fruitless, as expected, but he left that form way behind when second in the At The Races Sussex National at Plumpton on January 5.
Quite a few mistakes crept into his performance that day, but he stayed on really well and if he can brush up his jumping and get into a good rhythm he will be hard to beat.
Carrying a featherweight here, he looks the best-handicapped horse in the conditions and 9/1 is a fair price.
Owner JP McManus could have a good day at Ffos Las, as his ALAIVAN is also interesting in the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle.
It's his first run over two and a half miles in the UK or Ireland (pulled up over the distance in France) and while he has to prove he stays, the race could be run to suit.
It could be a highly tactical affair with no obvious pace angle and given the jockeys won't want to over-exert their mounts in the conditions they could go very slow early on.
That would suit Alaivan given his stamina doubts, his ability over two miles a possible positive if it turns into a test of speed.
He bounced back to form last time at Wincanton when second to Quick Decision, goes very well on heavy ground and is 11lb below his highest rating over hurdles.
At 9/1, he's worth a small interest.
Finally, ROALCO DE FARGES is the one who could be much better than his current mark in the Betfred Masters Handicap Chase at Sandown.
The concern is his time off the track, 644 days, as he's never run well after a break and Philip Hobbs has stated in the past that he's a bit stuffy and needs a run.
However, Hobbs worked wonders to get Planet Of Sound to win after nine months off at Kempton recently and it could be worth chancing that he can repeat the trick with Roalco De Farges.
This horse handles soft ground well and looked a staying chaser to follow the last time he was seen, when chasing home Tidal Bay in the 2012 bet365 Gold Cup Chase here at Sandown.
Seven lengths clear of the rest that day, subsequent events showed he had no chance with a 154-rated Tidal Bay. Hopefully we'll be saying the same about RDF after the race, as his mark of 131 is potentially very lenient.
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: +256.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).