Value Bet: Go to War

  • By: Ben Linfoot
  • Last Updated: May 2 2014, 16:46 BST

Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on QIPCO 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket.

War Command: Value at 9/1 to win the Guineas
War Command: Value at 9/1 to win the Guineas

It's a tremendous renewal of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday and Kingman is going to have to be some horse to justify skinny odds against an all-star cast.

He looked a top-notcher when scooting clear in the Greenham, he remains unbeaten and looks to have all the tools to win the Guineas, but all the above is factored into his price at around 6/4.

Two nagging doubts put me off him. Firstly, the ground might be a bit too fast for him as he seemed to get away with it in the Solario against much weaker opposition.

And secondly, the strength in depth of this Guineas makes me think he's too short, even considering how brilliant he looked in his trial.

The overseas challenge is fascinating, Toormore heads a Richard Hannon-trained trio that will be bidding to give the fledgling handler a Classic victory at the first attempt, and Kingston Hill is an unbeaten Group One winner that might just get away with a strongly-run mile at this stage in his career.

However, it's the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair that I'm most looking forward to seeing with Australia and WAR COMMAND set to be big players in the season's first Classic.

It's no secret that Australia apparently works all over his stablemate on the Ballydoyle gallops - the major market move for the former told us that much - but the ground has come in War Command's favour and the odds haven't adjusted accordingly.

Both Australia and Kingston Hill, bred to thrive over further, could be vulnerable to a top-class miler on Saturday and while that could be Kingman, on Good to Firm ground I don't mind wagering that it will be War Command, especially at 9/1.

The War Front colt has been underestimated, perhaps in part because of the support for Australia, but mainly because of his defeat at 2/5 in last season's Phoenix Stakes and his subsequent workmanlike win in what looked a below-par Dewhurst.

However, it could pay to forgive him one reversal as he's a Group One winner with plenty of class, plenty of toe and he looks a genuine top-notch miler in the making.

His Coventry Stakes win was sensational - even if the form didn't work out - and that came on rattling fast ground, while his Dewhurst victory shouldn't be underestimated.

It wasn't a vintage Dewhurst, but it still contained a Breeders' Cup winner in Outstrip and the ground wouldn't have been in War Command's favour at all.

Aidan O'Brien's previous two Coventry Stakes winners prior to War Command both won Classics over a mile the following season - Henrythenavigator here at Newmarket and Power at the Curragh and there are similarities with Hawk Wing and Rock Of Gibraltar in 2002 as well, with the less-fancied stablemate of course coming out on top on that occasion.

Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle for the first time which is obviously no bad thing and while the market is mature and nothing looks markedly out of line, the 9/1 about War Command makes plenty of appeal.

Before the Guineas there is a quality undercard to go through and the opening Qatar Racing Suffolk Stakes is an intriguing contest.

Rock Choir looks sure to run a big race with the hood back on, while Burano is interesting on his Spring Cup run but I prefer a pair towards the bottom of the handicap in CIRCUMVENT and HIGHLAND DUKE.

The former hasn't won for two-and-a-half years so he comes with a wealth warning, but he's well handicapped now and a strongly-run nine furlongs could be perfect.

He was a close sixth in a Cambridgeshire off an 11lb higher mark and his last two winning ratings in handicaps have been from 11lb and 19lb higher.

They were clearly some time ago, but he retains plenty of ability and showed as much last time at Kempton when running to within a length of Sea Shanty off a mark of 99.

That was with the blinkers back on and they are retained for his return to turf - a surface from which he'll race off a 15lb lower mark.

He's worth a bet at 14/1 and so is Highland Duke at the same price.

A consistent sort, the angle with him is the trip as nine furlongs is absolutely ideal.

He was a very impressive winner over nine on his final start at Goodwood last season, while his running-on ninth in the Spring Cup at Newbury again suggested another furlong looks ideal.

Consistent and relatively lightly-raced, he can progress further this season when he gets his optimum conditions - as he does on Saturday.


1pt win War Command in 3.50 Newmarket at 9/1

1pt win Circumvent in 2.05 Newmarket at 14/1

1pt win Highland Duke in 2.05 Newmarket at 14/1

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: +219.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).

  • Posted at 1640 GMT on 02/05/2014.