Valbchek value in Donny dash
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from Saturday's feature action at Doncaster and Aintree.
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October is looking like being Jeremy Noseda's best month of the year and VALBCHEK can make it even better when he lines up in the Bet Through The Racing Post Mobile App Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday.
Having saddled nine winners already this October, Noseda has equalled his best monthly return and with his horses flying this son of Acclamation can finally get his name back on the winners' board.
It's been 18 months and seven runs since Valbchek's last win, an impressive success over top-class sprinter Swiss Spirit in the Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Sprint at Newmarket.
Clearly a challenge to train since then, Valbchek has been lightly-raced this season and only returned to the track this campaign when an encouraging second in a conditions race at Doncaster.
A close fourth behind subsequent Group 3 winner Tropics on his next start, Valbchek then flopped in a conditions race at Beverley before his first ever run in a handicap at York last time.
And it's that York run in the Coral Sprint Trophy that makes him an interesting bet at 12/1 this weekend.
Running off a mark of 102, he was hampered when the race developed inside the final quarter mile yet was only beaten three lengths in an eye-catching sixth.
Dropped 1lb to 101, back at Doncaster, dropped in trip to five furlongs with first-time blinkers applied and Ryan Moore booked, everything looks in place for a big run.
He could get outpaced, but he could also finish better than anything else, and, considering the promise he showed early in his career, now is the time to chance him with plenty in his favour.
Last year's second Jamaican Bolt will relish the ground and is a danger to all, while in-form fillies Pearl Blue and Kyleakin Lass also have chances.
However, they all look about right at the prices and the other one I want to chance in a difficult race is Brian Meehan's BALLESTEROS at 16/1.
He hasn't been far off Maarek at Newbury and in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp on his last two starts and is relatively fresh after just four runs this year.
He'll relish the bit of cut in the ground and a strongly-run five furlongs is ideal for him too, so his class could well rise to the top back in handicap company with conditions set to suit.
Over at Aintree it's not a vintage renewal of the Old Roan Chase but it's no surprise to see Alan King's Walkon and Paul Nicholls' Edgardo Sol towards the top of the market given the form their stables are in.
However, stable form may have been factored into their price too much as neither look particularly well treated and they could both be vulnerable to something lurking towards the bottom of the weights.
Astracad ran okay at Cheltenham last weekend and is a possible but I prefer the 20/1 about Brian Ellison's VIVA COLONIA.
He's 1lb out of the handicap and ran a stinker at Market Rasen in the summer, but 20s is an overreaction to that latest run as previously he had looked a progressive handicapper with the promise of more to come over this trip.
Over an inadequate two miles he ran well at Aintree's Grand National meeting in a hot handicap chase won by Oiseau de Nuit. On Saturday he gets a 9lb-pull with that rival for a nine-length defeat, over a trip that should suit him better and yet he's almost twice the price.
Ellison almost hit the headlines on Champions Day last weekend with Top Notch Tonto, and hopefully he will be making them in the jumps game with this fellow come Saturday afternoon.
1pt win Valbchek in 3.15 Doncaster at 12/1
1pt win Ballesteros in 3.15 Doncaster at 16/1
1pt Viva Colonia in 3.05 Aintree at 20/1
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: +248.56pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current). The column is +116.25pts to recommended stakes in 2013.