Value Bet: Good Intention
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on day three of the Cheltenham Festival and he's tipping 14/1, 25/1, 25/1 and 33/1 chances.
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Is there any point in taking on Annie Power?
Ten from ten, she looks the real deal and those prohibitive prices about her in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle look absolutely spot on considering the ability she's already shown, along with her potential.
The only reason for taking her on, in my view, is if you think she's a doubtful stayer. But on running style and on pedigree I think she'll relish it. Though Big Buck's can go down fighting, the 7lb mares allowance swings things in Annie Power's favour dramatically and I just can't oppose her.
- 1pt win Utopie Des Bordes in 2.05 Cheltenham at 25/1 (general) - ran well in a good guide to this race and has dropped to an interesting mark
- 1pt win Crowning Jewel in 2.05 Cheltenham at 25/1 (BetVictor, William Hill) - also ran well in a good guide to this race and this improving hurdler and prominent racer is expected to enjoy the better ground
- 1pt win Third Intention in 4.00 Cheltenham at 14/1 (general) - several pieces of his form take the eye, a new combination of aids is tried and this race should be run to suit
- 1pt e.w. Wetak in 4.00 Cheltenham at 33/1 (general) - ran a belter on his only previous run at the track and could surprise in a race in which his yard have a fine record
It's easier to take on Dynaste in the Ryanair, but he can be such a potent weapon when fresh that I would be doing so reluctantly and with that being the case it's straight to the handicaps for Thursday's bets.
First up, the 24-runner Pertemps Final. It's a race that loves to throw up a surprise winner and though Fingal Bay and If In Doubt have obvious claims, they have to be taken on at single figure-prices given the likelihood that something well-handicapped is lurking at larger odds.
Top of my shortlist for this race for a good while now has been Grand Vision, a horse that finished third in the Albert Bartlett in 2012 and has done well since returning from a lay-off.
He qualified with a fine run at Warwick and his Welsh Champion Hurdle third was boosted by Coral Cup winner Whisper yesterday, while the ground has come right for him too.
I just worry that he might get outpaced in a hot race like this and at 14/1 the value has been squeezed out of him. He could well be the one, but at bigger odds I like the look of both UTOPIE DES BORDES and CROWNING JEWEL who are both available at 25s.
They both ran in the Fixed Brush Hurdle earlier in the season, finishing second and sixth respectively, and that's a race that has been a fine guide to the Pertemps in recent years, with Buena Vista, Cape Tribulation and Holywell all running in the Haydock contest prior to winning at the Festival.
Looking at their chances individually, Nicky Henderson's Utopie Des Bordes has dropped to a very interesting mark since finishing second to Gevrey Chambertin in the aforementioned Fixed Brush.
On her next start she qualified for this race when fifth behind rapid improver Saphir Du Rheu, before running below-par on her next too efforts in very soft ground at Kempton and Ascot.
Consequently, dropped 4lb to 138, she's just 2lb higher than when half a length second at Haydock and the better ground looks sure to suit her looking at her overall profile.
Crowning Jewel should also enjoy the better ground and this race looks to have been his target all season.
Following on from his sixth at Haydock, he was given a break before qualifying for this race with a good third at Musselburgh last month.
He's an improving hurdler and a prominent racer who should stay out of trouble and at 25/1 I want him on board.
Later on the card I'll also be taking two against the field in the Byrne Group Plate and I can't resist the claims of THIRD INTENTION at 14/1.
This horse should come with a wealth warning given he's won just once in his last 14 starts (and that was a match), but he's very interesting on several pieces of form on his handicap debut over fences.
Incredibly he's run in 12 novice chases before trying his luck in a handicap, but he was rated 151 over fences at one point, such was the quality and consistency of his efforts in novice company.
Sixth in the Jewson last year, he was only 10 lengths behind Champion Chase third Module, while his third behind O'Faolains Boy in the Reynoldstown at Ascot last time looks all the better now following that rival's RSA win.
He's been outpaced on his last two starts over three miles - which makes this drop in trip slightly surprising - but this was his only entry at the six-day stage and I do think a hell-for-leather Festival handicap will suit him.
Given the experience he's racked up in novice chases, a mark of 143 could well be lenient, and, though he hasn't travelled well in his races lately, the first time cheekpieces/tongue-tie combination could help.
I'll also be chancing David Pipe's WETAK at 33/1.
This horse is a little bit off the radar as we've only seen him in this country three times, but he ran a belter on his only run at Cheltenham at the Paddy Power meeting in 2012, finishing second to Shooters Wood on Good to Soft ground despite stumbling at the penultimate fence.
Since then he's only been seen once in England, when falling at Ascot last month. However, he was well backed that day and made good headway before tiring on his first go at three miles.
On that evidence, two and a half miles on better ground could be perfect for him and he's a very interesting contender at the prices, for a stable that have a fine record in this race.
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: +230.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).