Value Bet: One to Watch
David O'Meara's Watchable headlines Ben Linfoot's Value Bet selections for Saturday's action at Ascot and York.
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It has been a week to forget for Sir Michael Stoute, but if there's one Group One contest in the calendar that was tailor-made for his talents then it's the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Stoute has won the prestigious summer highlight five times, on four occasions with older horses that have peaked over a mile and a half in Berkshire in late July thanks to one man's patient approach.
- 1pt e.w. Watchable in 1515 at Ascot at 14/1 (General) - well drawn and well weighted; should go close
- 1pt win Yeager in 1515 Ascot at 25/1 (General) - unexposed; worth a shot at the price over this distance
- 2pts win Goldream in 1545 York at 14/1 (sportingbet) - this race looks perfect for Robert Cowell's inmate
- 1pt win Foxtrot Romeo in 1545 York at 20/1 (General) - looks well handicapped and drop in trip might just work wonders
This year he is represented by Telescope, a colt that was Derby favourite for much of the winter before the 2013 renewal. He didn't even make it to the track at Epsom, but hinted in the Great Voltigeur at York last summer that rattling fast ground and a mile and a half were conditions that would bring out the best in him.
After defeats over 10 furlongs on soft ground earlier this season things weren't looking great for Telescope, but he then smashed up his Hardwicke Stakes rivals by seven lengths at Royal Ascot when he was unleashed over a mile and a half on fast ground again.
So here we are. Telescope is 9/4 favourite for the King George despite getting his optimum conditions (although it is raining at Ascot as I write) and the reason for that is some stellar opposition headed by Breeders' Cup Turf winner Magician and the John Gosden-trained three-year-olds Taghrooda and Eagle Top.
It won't surprise you to hear I won't be advising a bet in the race as the odds look about right, but Telescope is the right favourite and if pushed I'd take him to put Magician and the three-year-olds in their place.
While the King George offers quality, there are a couple of fantastic Saturday handicaps offering quantity - and therefore winners at potentially fancy prices - including the Longines International Stakes which precedes the day's feature.
Up to 29 runners will go to post for the seven-furlong cavalry charge and we've plenty of similar races to call on from this season and years gone by in order to help us find the winner.
Four-year-olds have held sway with seven of the last 10 winners coming from that age group, while high numbers have dominated in recent renewals as five of the last six winners have come from stall 20 or higher.
Those high numbers, on the stands' side, dominated at the Royal meeting too and looking at where the pace is it could be very difficult for those drawn low on the far side to get into this.
Most of the early pace is in the middle, with Georgian Bay (13) and Majestic Moon (20) two of the more likely pacesetters in the first half of the contest.
That's fine for David O'Meara's WATCHABLE who makes plenty of appeal at 14/1.
He's drawn next to Majestic Moon in 19 so he should get a lovely tow into the race and I'm struggling to see why he isn't challenging Horsted Keynes and Belgian Bill for favouritism.
After just five career starts he's the most unexposed horse in the field and has already proven he has the game for this course and distance off a similar mark when he was third in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Beaten three-quarters of a length into third by Horsted Keynes that day, he has a 2lb pull at the weights here, has Richard Hughes instead of Danny Tudhope on board and yet is twice the price of Roger Varian's charge.
The form has been boosted by Bronze Angel, Heaven's Guest and Blaine already and though inexperience probably cost him from getting even closer to victory in the Buckingham Palace, he now has that experience to help him on Saturday.
The handicapper raised him just 1lb, too, which is very fair, and I expect him to put in a big performance at Ascot. If he doesn't win I'd expect him to go close, so back him each-way.
The other one I like is Jeremy Noseda's YEAGER, a similarly unexposed four-year-old that has the course form to suggest he has a big chance in the International.
You have to forgive him a couple of shockers at Newmarket and Ripon, but I'm prepared to do that as the undulations of both probably don't play to his strengths.
Last time at Ripon, particularly, he was held up in the rear and could never land a blow at a track where it pays to be up with the pace.
But that was one of only two starts this campaign and in the other, on the all-weather at Lingfield, he suggested he had a race in him off this sort of mark when a close second to So Beloved.
His win at Ascot came on last year's King George card when he absolutely bolted up over the straight mile in the Deloitte Handicap (albeit off a 12lb lower mark), a race in which he suggested he had the pace for seven furlongs.
Interestingly this is his first go at the trip, as he's been solely campaigned over a mile on all seven starts, and at 25/1 it's worth paying to find out if it's ideal for him.
Finally, up at York it's the Sky Bet Dash and we should have a good, even, contest as there is early pace all over the place.
Bogart and See The Sun will lead them on the far side, Kimberella has plenty of early dash up the middle and the stands' side has Bondesire, Tellovoi, Whozthecat and Rene Mathis that all like to be up there.
The one to be on is GOLDREAM, trained by sprint king Robert Cowell, who has taken his horse's form to a new level this season.
He won a decent handicap at the Guineas meeting on his seasonal reappearance, before finishing fourth back at Newmarket next time and then a close third when dropped in trip to five at Sandown.
Crucially he has the speed for five - he has been second over that trip twice at York before - and he can lay up with the early pace set by that aforementioned quartet drawn around him.
He was a really fast finisher on both occasions he was second over five on the Knavesmire and I would say this race has been the plan for some time. Six furlongs at York looks perfect and 14/1 is a fantastic price.
I was going to put all my eggs in Goldream's basket but can't resist a saver on FOXTROT ROMEO at 20/1.
Marco Botti is quickly finding the key to this horse and the cheekpieces and tongue-tie combination has brought about improved efforts on his last two starts.
This horse has really struggled against the handicapper since he was second in the Irish 2000 Guineas, but he's back to a level he can compete in now and the one missing piece from the jigsaw could be the trip.
He hasn't run over six furlongs since he was two, but judging by the way he's travelled into his races over seven the last two times, he's well worth a crack a sprinting, especially when you watch his second here at York last month.
Kimberella can give him a nice lead into the contest up the middle and at 20/1 he's worth backing for owner Andrew Tinkler, who got to within a head of landing this very prize five years ago when his Barney McGrew was touched off by Knot In Wood.
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: +274.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).