Value Bet: Eagle to soar
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from Haydock and Sandown on Saturday with the main focus on the Old Newton Cup.
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With rain forecast overnight at Sandown, betting on the Coral-Eclipse comes with a Rule 4 warning and it could pay to wait until as close to the off as you can before placing your bets.
The two I fancy at the prices, Verrazano and Trading Leather, could do without any rain falling and I would be reluctant to back either without 'Firm' somewhere in the going description.
Yet if enough rain falls to let Derby second Kingston Hill takes his chance, then he would be a cracking bet at around 6/1 given the form he showed at Epsom. A testing 10 furlongs with a bit of cut could be absolutely ideal for him.
- 1pt win Lyn Valley in 240 Sandown at 14/1 (William Hill) - eased down in hot race at Royal Ascot and big price to upset his elders under ideal conditions
- 1pt e.w Open Eagle in 330 Haydock at 33/1 (Paddy Power, bet365 1/4 1,2,3,4) - poor draws excuses on last two runs but that's not the case on Saturday with recent rain a positive too
- 1pt win Quiz Mistress in 330 Haydock at 16/1 (Coral) - handicapper has given her a chance, goes well at Haydock, race should be run to suit and rain a +ve
Whatever happens with the weather, The Fugue looks worth taking on at the prices. She's the class act in the race on fast ground but this looks a high-class renewal with plenty of depth to it and she would have to be a couple of points bigger before I'd be tempted to get involved.
However, no matter how good this year's Eclipse is, it's a 'no bet' race for me with attention turned to the Old Newton Cup at Haydock.
Horses that have been defeated in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot have a fine recent record in this contest, with Consular, Mad Rush, Dangerous Midge and Halicarnassus all graduating from good runs in Berkshire to victories in Lancashire in the last eight years.
Unfortunately the market is well aware of this stat with Salutation, Havana Cooler and Dashing Star all finding themselves in the first five in the betting after chasing home Arab Spring at the Royal meeting.
Salutation makes most appeal out of the trio, as he has a fine draw in three for his running style and I'd expect him to confirm the form with Havana Cooler, who might not quite have the speed for this trip.
But there is plenty of early pace in here and that tempers enthusiasm for Salutation at single-figure prices, with preference for a well-drawn horse that should be able to travel prominently off a good gallop.
The one I like is David O'Meara's OPEN EAGLE at 33/1 as he has some valid excuses for what, on the face of it, are below-par runs this campaign.
He was drawn out wide in both the Chester Cup and the Investec Zebra Handicap at Epsom on Derby day, but he was pushed up to chase the leaders in both instances and used up too much energy early on in doing so.
From stall five he has the perfect berth to jump out and track the pace here and the change in the ground to Good to Soft is also absolutely ideal for the son of Montjeu.
On his first two starts for O'Meara he looked a handicapper of some potential, winning at Carlisle in a canter off a mark of 88 before following that up with an excellent third-place finish from 7lb higher in the November Handicap.
With just two all-weather starts and the aforementioned Chester and Epsom runs since then, he remains unexposed under ideal conditions and the handicapper has given him a chance too.
Now rated 91 after being dropped 4lb this year, he's right in between the ratings that saw him romp home and put in a good performance towards the back end of last season.
There's every reason to believe he will put his best foot forward at Haydock on Saturday and the general 33/1 is well worth taking.
The other one that I think is worth chancing is Hughie Morrison's QUIZ MISTRESS at 16s.
This is the first time she's run in a handicap since finishing second to Number Theory in this contest from a 9lb lower mark two years ago.
She showed her well-being when finishing fourth at Haydock in a fillies' Group Three at the end of May, running on after being hampered two out.
She'll need luck in-running again on Saturday, but she's another that will benefit from a strong pace and the handicapper has given her a good chance by dropping her 5lb.
Finally, over at Sandown, I have to give another chance to LYN VALLEY in the Coral Challenge seeing as he's available at 14/1.
He was right in there with a chance two furlongs out in the Britannia, but was heavily eased by Frankie Dettori when his chance had gone inside the final furlong.
That proved to be too tough a task, but it was a very hot race and one that is already working out well, with stablemate Almargo and Table Rock, who finished just in front of him, already coming out and winning post-Ascot.
He won't be inconvenienced by a bit of cut, a stiff mile looks absolutely ideal and he can give this posse of largely out-of-form handicappers something to think about off a featherweight.
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: +276.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).