Value Bet: Kite to fly home
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on day two of Royal Ascot and he's focusing on the Royal Hunt Cup.
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We have to wait until the 11th race of Royal Ascot for the first big-field handicap with 30 charging down the straight course but the Royal Hunt Cup is worth waiting for if such a puzzle is your thing.
I sided with Stirring Ballad ante-post as she looks like she could be a Group horse in the making and could be very well handicapped. She's been laid out for this and a big run is expected, though I am concerned about her draw in eight.
There looks to be zero pace around her with all the prominent racers drawn middle to high and though you can end up looking foolish when trying to guess which side to be on, I'll prepare for egg on my face as the stands' side could well be the place to be on Wednesday.
Abseil (drawn in 22) is the obvious one following his win at Epsom and he just sneaks in the handicap due to his penalty. However, 5/1 is very skinny in a race of this nature and he hardly looked to have bags in hand when scoring at the Derby meeting.
In fact, there looks to be very few horses in here that are progressing at a rate of knots with the field full of solid handicappers that are hiding very little from the assessor.
Therefore, I'm not afraid to add a couple of horses to the portfolio that at first glance might be filed in the drawer marked 'too high in the weights?'
First up is CHIL THE KITE who races off a career-high mark of 109 after ending an 11-race losing streak in a handicap at Newbury (off 104) last time.
Hughie Morrison's charge won a handicap over the straight course at Ascot as a three-year-old and was only beaten five lengths by Declaration Of War in last year's Queen Anne, so he has the course form to have a big say.
Crucially George Baker, who has options from his middle draw, takes the ride. Baker rode Chil The Kite on three occasions abroad and seemed to have found the key to the horse by the time the duo teamed up at Newbury when stylishly pushing him out for a two-length success last time.
Baker rides the straight course at Ascot extremely well and, returned to a mile, Chil The Kite could well outclass the opposition. At 20/1 he appeals.
The race doesn't look as strong to my eye as last year's Hunt Cup and with that in mind the 2013 hero and Ascot specialist BELGIAN BILL is another well worth backing at 22/1.
Trained by another George Baker, Belgian Bill proved his well-being and liking for Ascot when running third in the Victoria Cup won by Gabriel's Lad at the track last month.
He was always in the van on the stands' side that day and he'll benefit for the return to a mile on Wednesday. He hasn't run over a mile on ground 'Good' or better since his win in last year's race and from just a 5lb higher mark he seems to have been underestimated again.
In a race lacking horses that are seriously on the upgrade it could pay, as it so often does, to refer to straight-course form at Ascot and both Chil The Kite and Belgian Bill have that box firmly ticked.
Earlier on, Treve takes centre stage in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes and there looks little point in taking on the Arc winner, while the Duke Of Cambridge also looks between the market leaders Sky Lantern, Integral and Esoterique.
Instead, I'd prefer to wait until the closing Sandringham Handicap for another bet as William Haggas' OXSANA looks a good bit of value at 25/1.
She has some good form behind the speedy Wedding Ring but couldn't land a blow on two starts in Meydan.
The daughter of Dubawi just never travelled as sweetly in Dubai as she did on her previous starts at Newbury and Newmarket when registering good placed efforts.
A nice break and the addition of cheekpieces should help her in that regard while she has thrived in the biggest fields she has encountered.
I get the feeling she's really a nine-furlong horse that could thrive over a stiff, strongly-run mile and the time to catch her could be now.
Those two pieces of form in the Tattersalls Millions sales races at Newmarket last backend suggest she might be nicely handicapped and at 25/1 with Sky Bet paying five places, she's certainly worth a small each-way investment.
1pt win Chil The Kite in 5.00 Ascot at 20/1
1pt win Belgian Bill in 5.00 Ascot at 22/1
1pt e.w Oxsana in 5.35 Ascot at 25/1
1pt win Stirring Ballad in the Royal Hunt Cup at 20/1 (ALREADY ADVISED)
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: +244.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).