Wham bam thank you Flam
Ben Linfoot picks out his bet of the day, best longshot, a horse in focus and a 10/1 enhanced treble for today's action.
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David Pipe won the 3m handicap hurdle at Chepstow on Saturday with Amigo when Mauricetheathlete was back in fifth and he could repeat the trick here with Laflammedeglorie. I'm not saying Mauricetheathlete will be fifth again, that would be madness, but he is one of the main dangers to the selection and it is only three days since he last slogged his way through the Chepstow mud. Laflammedglorie landed a weak Chepstow 2m4f hurdle that hasn't worked out well on his last start 11 months ago, but the positives are an initial handicap mark of 112 might be on the lenient side. He looks sure to improve for the step up in trip and he did split Jonjo O'Neill's Shutthefrontdoor and Rebecca Curtis' Vegas Cash (unbeaten in four starts last year) in his bumper at Ffos Las.
I like a longshot as much as anyone but punters are riding the crest of a wave after yesterday's favourites bonanza at Taunton and all I can see is tempting shorties everywhere I look. Leicester, especially, has the look of a card where the favourites will go well (see enhanced treble below) but the Hose Thorns Handicap Chase at 1.00 could be the one contest where an upset is on the cards. Certainly, when you've a favourite in Caulfields Venture who has failed to win a race from eight starts you begin to look further down the list and it seems to me that Be My Deputy might have been underestimated at prices in the region of 14/1. He too is winless in his career, a career spanning 13 starts, but there have been glimmers of ability as he's been second or third four times. He can race lazily so first-time blinkers look a no-brainer and dropped in trip slightly off a career-low mark it wouldn't be so much of a surprise if he popped up at a big price in a winnable contest.
David O'Meara's incredible run of form continues. He's now nine wins from his last 12 runners, a sequence kicked off by Rosie's Lady at Wolverhampton on New Year's Day. The Elusive City filly went in again at the same track yesterday and she's around even money to win her second race at Dunstall Park in as many days. She drops almost half a mile in trip from yesterday's assignment but it was no hindrance to her on January 1 and more of a concern is the double penalty she has to carry against some regulars who know Wolverhampton well. Still, you wouldn't bet against her in her current vein of form as she bids to rattle off a quick hat-trick at the start of 2013.
Back to the National Hunt game and Leicester where three well-fancied horses in particular look worth grouping together. Sky Bet go 10/1 about Pine Creek, Cool Touch and Whispering Gallery doing the business and a double-figure price about this treble is tempting. 10-year-old Cool Touch is potentially the most dodgy one, but he's been in fair form over fences and this could be his time to strike dropped to selling hurdle company. Pine Creek showed plenty of promise at Folkestone and with that race working out well he looks to have been found a suitable opportunity. And finally stablemate Whispering Gallery is head and shoulders above his rivals in the 2.40 on Flat form, and though it doesn't always translate he's won on soft ground and always shaped like a stayer on the level. Let's hope he can jump.
* Ben's Bet Of The Day (Bennys Mist), Horse In Focus (Sound Investment) and enhanced accumulator (at 12/1) all won yesterday.