Value Bet: Ayaar the Cup king
Ben Linfoot, fresh from tipping 9/1 and 14/1 winners at Chester on Wednesday, previews the Victoria Cup at Ascot.
- Related Content
Big-field handicaps over the straight course at Ascot remain the toughest of puzzles to solve and an iffy weather forecast doesn't help matters ahead of the 7.5 Million Totescoop6 Victoria Cup Heritage Handicap.
The ground at the time of writing is Good-to-Soft (Good in places), but with rain predicted on Saturday the 'soft' in that description could be much more prominent by the time they set off for the feature.
Presuming there is a good bit of cut in the turf the next most important factor is where the pace is and I reckon those drawn near the stands' side have the edge here.
Glen Moss, Sound Advice, Dubawi Sound, Tellovoi and Boots And Spurs all like to lead or race prominently and that quintet are all drawn towards the stands' side - they could well drag the whole field across as one group.
Even if they don't and two or more groups are formed, the stands' side could well be the place to be and the hold-up horse that could benefit the most is Luca Cumani's AYAAR.
This Rock Of Gibraltar colt is only 4lb higher than when he won a Newmarket handicap for Mick Channon on his final start last season, and judging by his debut for Cumani he looks likely to progress further this year.
The four-year-old was an eye-catching third at Kempton last month where he tried to give weight to Georgian Bay and Glen Moss, but he was keen and had too much to do by the time he got going.
He gets a pull at the weights with those two here, Glen Moss has franked the form further at Haydock and with that run under his belt the fizz should've been taken out of him for this assignment.
Any further rain shouldn't inconvenience him, a big-field handicap over this trip looks sure to suit and at 16/1 he's a decent bet with Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
Ayaar's drawn in 23 and two stalls down in 25 is GABRIEL'S LAD, who also looks worth backing at 25/1.
I couldn't argue that this five-year-old is well-handicapped off 102, but he is only 3lb higher than when a close second to Redvers over the course and distance last September.
He's also won at the track over six on soft ground and was only six lengths off York Glory in the Wokingham, so he clearly goes well here and a strongly-contested seven could bring about further improvement.
I really like the jockey booking of George Baker for this hold-up merchant and given the pace there is around him he could get the perfect tow into the race.
Having set aside three or four points for this race I was toying with the idea of backing Ayaar and Gabriel's Lad each-way, what with some bookies including Sky Bet paying out on five places.
However, I can't leave LOUIS THE PIOUS unbacked at 20/1 given that the ground has come right for him.
The first-time hood worked well at Haydock last time, and, perhaps ridden to get the trip, he had plenty to do inside the final furlong.
Beaten just three-quarters-of-a-length in the end by Glen Moss, Tudhope can ride him with more confidence now he knows he stays and crucially the ease in the ground turns things in his favour.
Despite being raised 3lb for defeat last time he remains reasonably treated in this sort of contest and his jockey has options from his central draw.
1pt win Ayaar in 3.50 Ascot at 16/1
1pt win Louis The Pious in 3.50 Ascot at 20/1
1pt win Gabriel's Lad in 3.50 Ascot at 25/1
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: +235.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).