Value Bet: Side with Moss
Ben Linfoot, fresh from tipping a 40/1 winner at Royal Ascot on Friday, seeks out the value in the Wokingham.
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All of the big-field handicaps this week have been won by horses drawn close to the stands' rail with middle to high stall numbers dominating these races.
The first horse home from a single-figure draw in the closing Buckingham Palace Stakes on Friday was Pastoral Player in 10th, while in the Royal Hunt Cup it was Artigiano in 12th.
- 1pt e.w Glen Moss in Ascot 5.00 at 25/1 (Sky Bet 1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - timely form boosts this week, Ascot form, should relish the test and draw no major concern
- 1pt e.w Seeking Magic in Ascot 5.00 at 12/1 (General 1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - rock-solid form, loves big-field handicaps and rail draw on stands' side a positive
However, the bookies have reacted to this perceived bias. The first horses you come to in the betting for the Wokingham Handicap with single-figure berths are Dandy Boy and GLEN MOSS, 10th and 11th in the list and both available at 25/1.
Yet in all of the races where the high numbers have dominated the pace has been on that side. But in the Wokingham, with Hamza drawn in seven, there is some genuine pace on the far side.
It could be that the Wokingham jockeys will all make their way over towards the stands' side anyway given what's happened this week. But in either scenario, two groups or one big group, I fancy the chances of Glen Moss.
His draw in two has seen his price inflate to 25/1, but it might not be such a bad thing to be on the outside of the pack if they drift over, while he could have Hamza to track if the far side group stick to their guns.
And on form he's no 25/1 shot. This horse beat Buckingham Palace winner Louis The Pious at Haydock, then finished second in the Victoria Cup last time where he beat Ayaar and Belgian Bill - both desperately unlucky when finishing fifth and seventh respectively in the Hunt Cup on Wednesday.
If you watch the Victoria Cup replay again, you'll see that Glen Moss was in front a furlong from home and bar the impressive winner Gabrial's Lad he beat the rest comfortably.
The handicapper nudged him up another 3lb for that, but the reassessment was perfectly fair and he has the pace to cope with the drop back to six. In fact, a strongly-run stiff six looks perfect for him.
I can't let him go unbacked, but I do want to be with one on the stands' side too given what we've seen this week. Despite everything I've said, it would be foolish to rely on one low-drawn horse in such a race.
Several horses drawn high have chances, including Absolutely So who is an improving, unexposed sprinter trained by Andrew Balding.
Yet I would rather back SEEKING MAGIC at 12/1 than anything else drawn high. He's officially 2lb well in after his fantastic run in the Investec Dash at Epsom, where he was narrowly denied by Caspian Prince.
That horse ran with credit subsequently on soft ground at Musselburgh, while Steps, fourth at Epsom, ran an absolute blinder in the King's Stand on Tuesday when running on into a close sixth.
That's very strong form in the context of this race and everything has come right for Clive Cox's charge. The ground, the draw and particularly the nature of the race. He loves a big-field handicap as he showed in the Dash and when winning at Glorious Goodwood last summer.
As much as Ninjago is respected, Seeking Magic should be challenging for favouritism in my view and the 12/1 is worth snapping up.
*Ben tipped Louis The Pious to win the Buckingham Palace Stakes at 40/1 on Friday.
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: +280.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).