Value Bet: Tat's a Great bet
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from Ripon and Newmarket on Saturday as he bids to continue his good run of form.
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There are a ridiculous amount of course specialists taking part in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon on Saturday and in a really tight handicap it’s of no surprise to see a cramped betting heat where they go 10/1 the field.
Pace and draw isn’t as important in sprints at Ripon, as basically you want to be handy, and previous winners have come stands’ side, far side and down the middle.
With half of the field having won at the track before the Ripon regulars are going to be popular, but the best bet is a horse that has run twice at the Garden Racecourse without success: TATLISU.
His defeats here were worse than average, but he was learning his trade at the time and is a much more polished performer these days. His third at Goodwood in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race last time was a career-best and it came on the back of a win at Newcastle and a narrow second at Hamilton.
Clearly he’s thriving and the handicapper has actually done him a favour by nudging him up 4lb for defeat last time, as it allows him to take his chance off bottom weight with a big pot on the line.
Richard Fahey won the race last year with Baccarat and this fellow has a similar profile, being slightly unfortunate in previous large-field handicaps before sneaking into this contest by the finest of margins.
His ability to race prominently off a strong pace and finish well is of paramount importance to his chances on Saturday, and he’ll get a lovely tow into the contest from the speedy and brave Spinatrix.
Michael Dods’ six-year-old mare should run another admirable race and I wouldn’t leave her out of combination forecast predictions if that’s your game, but she proved vulnerable to a classy, Richard Fahey-trained lightweight last season and that could well be the case again.
Tatlisu beat subsequent Sky Bet Dash winner and Stewards’ Cup hotpot Muthmir at Newcastle earlier in the season with Kimberella two and a half lengths away in third. Dandy Nicholls’ charge has solid claims here too but he shouldn’t be a shorter price to reverse the form.
Tatlisu would be a worthy outright favourite in my view and at 11/1 he rates a very good bet.
I do want two strings to my bow in what is a very tricky puzzle and BONDESIRE makes plenty of appeal at 16/1.
David O’Meara won this race twice in 2011 and 2012 with the excellent mare Pepper Lane and he has another tough filly with the required tools to land this prize running this weekend.
Bondesire does have a fine record at Ripon having won twice, finished second twice and then third on the other occasion from just five starts at the track. She races prominently and keeps going and judging by her effort at the Shergar Cup she can go close off her current mark back at her favourite course.
The daughter of Misu Bond was outpaced over five furlongs last weekend but stayed on really well for a never-nearer two-length fourth with some good quality sprint handicappers in behind.
Sam James takes off what could be a crucial 3lb and Bondesire will also race handily with Spinatrix from a middle draw. Perhaps she will be pounced on late by Tatlisu, but at 16/1 it’s worthwhile having a saver on her.
A bit of rain is forecast at Ripon, but neither selection should be inconvenienced by softer ground.
Neither too will Tatlisu’s stablemate POLSKI MAX in the consolation race, the William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap earlier on the card at 2.50.
Fahey’s sprinter ran in the Great St Wilfrid itself last year off a 20lb higher mark, finishing a not disgraceful seven lengths behind winning stablemate Baccarat in ninth.
He’s gone right off the boil since then as his plummeting handicap mark suggests, but his last two performances have suggested a revival is imminent.
Two starts ago, at Redcar, he ran seventh of 17 over six furlongs, beaten just three lengths and that came off a 5lb higher mark.
In fact, Duke Cosimo beat him by just over a length and, despite a 5lb pull at the weights, Polski Max is twice the price of that David Barron-trained rival here.
Since then Polski Max was dropped to the minimum trip in first-time cheekpieces at Ayr and showed up well for a long way before fading in the closing stages.
He’ll appreciate the step back up to six and if racing with the same verve he showed early on in Scotland under 3lb claimer George Chaloner, he could get into a nice rhythm – which is so important at Ripon.
Finally, Michael Bell’s PIAZON is worth a bet in the Thames Materials Stakes over at Newmarket with double-figure odds available.
Michael Bell’s yard remains in really good form and this horse has been running well without winning during the summer.
His last victory came at Windsor in May on soft and he clearly thrives when there is plenty of cut in the ground as he’s never been out of the two when such conditions have prevailed.
It’s going to be testing at HQ on Saturday and he takes his chance against a bunch of rivals that could probably have done with the ground staying dry.
The exception is the William Haggas filly Penny Drops, but she’s used to doing battle over seven furlongs and I’m hoping Piazon might have a bit too much speed for her.
With the useful Louis Steward taking off 5lb Piazon has a comparative featherweight, always useful when the ground is riding soft, and this is a good chance for him to land a decent prize.
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: +319.59pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).