Value Bet: Lightning bolt
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value in the Lincoln and the Spring Mile at Doncaster on Saturday.
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The market for the William Hill Lincoln has a very different look to it on Friday evening than it did just 24 hours ago thanks to the change in the ground at Doncaster and the subsequent non-runners.
The going is now 'Soft' and that means Captain Cat won't take his chance (along with Bronze Angel and Norse Blues), his absence from the race causing some market upheaval this morning.
Tullius, Off Art and Gabrials Kaka now dispute favouritism, the former a genuine Group horse in a handicap while the latter duo are unexposed four-year-olds with the potential to be better than their current handicap marks in time.
- 1pt win Sweet Lightning in 3.50 Doncaster at 12/1 (General) - well-handicapped, conditions to suit and goes well fresh; huge chance
- 1pt win Levitate in 3.50 Doncaster at 12/1 (General) - last year's winner has everything in his favour at his favourite track
- 1pt e.w. Postscript in 3.15 Doncaster at 28/1 (Stan James, bet365) - unexposed on the ground and yard's horses going well enough
None of that particular trio look to have claims outstanding enough to back them at single-figure prices, though, and I'm drawn to a couple of previous winners of the race for my bets.
First up David O'Meara's SWEET LIGHTNING, a horse that won this race in 2011 off a mark of 104 on the back of four unsuccessful runs at Meydan.
Fast forward three years and he's had a similar preparation, three runs in defeat at Meydan this time and he's dropped to a mark of 98 too - 6lb below the mark he won his Lincoln off and 2lb below what he won the Irish Lincolnshire from last season.
There's no doubting he's well handicapped considering those figures and the ground holds no fears given he won his Irish Lincolnshire on soft-heavy last campaign.
He goes really well early in the season too. In fact, he's been first or second on his first start in Britain or Ireland in each of his previous six campaigns.
He has been well backed in the last 24 hours but considering the change in ground conditions and the non-runners, 12/1 remains fair and he has the momentum to go off plenty shorter yet.
I can't let LEVITATE go unbacked without a saver either and this is not a sentimental bet following the favours he did this column last year.
Earlier in the week he wasn't on my mind given he's racing off a career-high mark of 106 on Saturday - 16lb higher than the rating he won this race off last campaign.
But the ground has come in his favour and John Quinn has stuck useful 7lb claimer Joe Doyle on board too, so the goalposts have shifted.
Surprisingly, though, the market hasn't reacted in the same way and at 12/1 he's a decent bet. With Captain Cat out there isn't really a sexy improver for punters to latch onto and I can see solid handicappers like Levitate being backed.
And, of course, he loves Doncaster with half of his six career wins coming on the track.
In the consolation race Gworn, Brae Hill and Dance And Dance all have chances but they've been found in the market and the one I like at a big price is POSTSCRIPT.
Like Levitate, Postscript is by Pivotal but he's never really had the chance to show what he can do on soft ground and there has to be a chance it will bring out the very best in him.
He's a prominent racer that will thrive off a strong gallop and I'm convinced a solid end-to-end pace on the straight track will see him perform to his very best.
From a handicapping point of view he's not an obvious one, but he has won off 85 twice and is only 4lb higher here, while his reappearance run on the all-weather at Wolverhampton was respectable enough.
Almost all of David Simcock's horses are running well at present as well, which further enhances the each-way appeal about this 28/1 chance.
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: +215.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).