Value Bet: In it to win it
Matt Brocklebank fills in for Ben Linfoot as the red-hot Value Bet column attempts to highlight more winners at York.
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When it comes to trainers of sprint handicappers, Dandy 'The Sprint King' Nicholls is just about as patient as they come and that patience can be richly rewarded when INXILE runs in his first British handicap since July 2008 at York on Thursday afternoon.
Ever since that third to Look Busy off an official mark of 103 at Ayr, Inxile has effectively been consigned to stakes company and he's done the Nicholls yard extremely proud in the process, winning nine Listed races, plus a Group Three in France.
He has now slipped to a mark of 96 and looks fantastic value to take full advantage in this company, with most of the field either struggling for form or seemingly in the grip of the assessor.
The lack of a recent victory sees him available at 33/1 but it was only last January that he was beaten under two lengths off a lofty perch of 107 at Meydan, and he also showed he was no back-number when second in a conditions event at Nottingham last August.
Last month's eye-catching third behind Smoothtalkinrascal and Borderlescott was another commendable effort, especially considering it came on quick ground, and his subsequent no-show at Chester can easily be excused as he broke slowly, was forced wide and could never really get close enough to challenge, with the eventual first and second dominating throughout.
A return to a straight five furlongs in the opening Betfred Supports Jack Berry Stakes (1.45) here is a huge plus, as are the relatively easy conditions as he's won four times on soft in the past.
2 Strap Bet now on the Dante meet
Another I'm keen to be with is MR SNOOZY in the Investec Specialist Bank Stakes (5.00) over two miles.
The five-year-old has been a real star for the Walford team and may not have stopped improving just yet based on last month's Doncaster third.
Having won three on the spin at Town Moor last year, the gelding blatantly needed the run when well beaten on his seasonal return over 10 furlongs at Newcastle, before being stepped back up in distance back at Doncaster last time.
It was a slightly strange run as Jason Hart pushed the button a long way from home and it was to his mount's credit that he boxed on for third having been claimed by Perfect Heart and Bob's World over a furlong out.
The winner was the antepost favourite for the Chester Cup before being balloted out so the form is more than reasonable and Mr Snoozy, available at 14/1, has been eased 1lb in the ratings.
Hart is a young jockey with a serious future and, while I expect another positive ride, I'm sure he'll be a little more cautious and give his mount every chance to thoroughly see out the trip.
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: +271.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).