Odeliz the one to profit

  • By: Ben Linfoot
  • Last Updated: June 6 2014, 13:59 BST

Sky Bet are offering ‘Money Back If The Favourite Wins The First’ at Epsom on Friday and Ben Linfoot looks at the best way to take advantage.

Odeliz (right): Could be the one to land Epsom's opener on Friday
Odeliz (right): Could be the one to land Epsom's opener on Friday

If you don’t fancy backing the favourite, and the way I approach betting I very rarely do, then a money back if the favourite wins offer is a welcome safety net.

And the opening Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Investec) at Epsom on Friday is a great race for Sky Bet to trigger this concession considering the likely market leader.

Thistle Bird is that horse, last year’s winner and top of the BHA official ratings by 4lb. Any rain is a positive for her and with that course win to her name you really do want her onside in some way.

But, naturally, there are reasons to take her on. Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper is predicting ‘Good’ ground for Oaks day and while she’s fine on such a surface, she’s arguably better with a bit of cut.

More importantly she was beaten by six lengths on her seasonal reappearance at York.

Okay, she was a tad keen that day and the run should’ve taken the fizz out of her, but she was sent off favourite on the Knavesmire and overall her performance can be neatly filed in the drawer marked ‘disappointing’.

But what can beat her? Here’s a brief look at the contenders:

Mango Diva – Improved later in the year as a three-year-old, but this trip could prove too sharp for her under a penalty.

Amulet – Career-best last time when beating Ribbons in a handicap at Ascot but needs to take another step up to land this. Pace angle.

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Audacia – Beaten three lengths in a handicap off a mark of 84 last time and that isn’t likely to be anywhere near good enough in this.

Butterfly McQueen – Another one who can lead but was well beaten on seasonal reappearance and better ground would have to spark a big improvement.

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Just The Judge – Hasn’t won since landing the Irish Guineas but clearly a class act on her day and second in on official ratings. Form tailed off last season but wasn’t beaten far in good race at Newmarket on reappearance.

Masarah – Gave a stone to Amulet when beaten five lengths at Ascot but needs to pull out more to figure here.

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Melody Of Love – Lightly-raced but didn’t trouble the judge in weaker Group 3 on reappearance and stamina to prove over this trip too.

Odeliz – Travelled really well when just denied by subsequent Irish 1000 Guineas third Vote Often on reappearance, beaten only a head giving that rival over a stone. Middleton Stakes third (Mango Diva and Thistle Bird behind) gives her a huge form chance.

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*Thistle Bird – Likely favourite. If she isn’t, she’s definitely the one to back!

Zurigha – Relatively impressive win in Snowdrop Stakes at Kempton on reappearance when giving weight and a beating to Ribbons. Keen when beaten in the Dahlia Stakes latest (Odeliz three-and-a-half lengths in front) and probably worth ignoring that run.

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Verdict

Mango Diva is probably worth putting a line through given her penalty and the possible unsuitability of the trip. The ones to concentrate on are Just The Judge, Zurigha and ODELIZ with preference for the latter. She travelled like a very good filly when just touched off by Vote Often in Ireland, while she holds two of her most dangerous rivals here on that Middleton form despite being slightly hampered. The drop in trip looks a positive and if there is more rain, she won’t be inconvenienced.