Petit has a big each-way chance

  • By: Ben Linfoot
  • Last Updated: February 9 2013, 10:41 GMT

Our in-form Value Bet tipster Ben Linfoot is backing Court Minstrel for the Betfair Hurdle among others on Saturday.

Nicky Henderson: Don't dismiss his outsider
Nicky Henderson: Don't dismiss his outsider

It's been labelled as Super Saturday and it's hard to argue with that with so many great races and vital Cheltenham trials both sides of the Irish Sea.

The big betting race, and one of my favourite contests of the whole season, is the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, complete with its usual mix of solid handicappers and potential top-notchers.

My Tent Or Yours certainly falls into the latter bracket, but at 9/2 in one of the most competitive races of the campaign you won't be surprised to hear that I'll be taking him on.

His potential is there for all to see but the handicapper was particularly harsh on him last time for winning a small race, and, off a rating of 149, he's going to have to put in a performance beyond his years to scoop the pot.

He's failed to settle in his races this season and while a better race and a proper pace will help in that regard, I do think he's been slightly over-hyped in the run up to Saturday's contest.

I can't forget his reverse behind Chatterbox at Newbury late last year and that's not the sort of form that will win a Betfair Hurdle.

He's passed over and those just in behind him in the betting - the likes of Cotton Mill, Cash And Go and Pearl Swan - are all likely types in that they were very good novices who haven't shown the handicapper their winning hand this season.

However, they are all single-figure prices and any value in backing any of the trio has surely gone.

The one with a similar profile that seems to have gone under the radar is COURT MINSTREL who is worth a bet at 14s.

Evan Williams' six-year-old sneaks in right at the bottom of the weights - in fact he is 2lb out of the handicap but Adam Wedge's 3lb claim cancels that out - and he is one of this season's novices that might have been shown a little leniency by the assessor.

He is a product of that hot Aintree Grade 2 bumper from last season that has been prolific in creating winners as he was fourth, beaten nine lengths by My Tent Or Yours off level weights.

I'm not sure he should be three times the price of that rival given he gets 19lb from him here - especially as his own hurdle form is holding up well.

He beat The Romford Pele, twice a subsequent winner, very easily at Cheltenham in October and was then hampered when a running-on third behind Dodging Bullets at the same track the following month.

That's high-class form and he's better than he showed when fourth in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last time behind Melodic Rendezvous, as he wouldn't be suited by heavy ground and he weakened after making a mistake at the last.

The ground is drying at Newbury and he too will benefit from a decent pace with Wedge sure to drop him out the back and pick them off up the straight.

He looks sure to go well and I also can't resist the claims of PETIT ROBIN who looks overpriced to make the frame at least at 33/1 (with Paddy Power who are paying five places).

Nicky Henderson's fourth string (if you believe the betting) has been in fine form all season and he seems to be benefiting for the return to hurdles and the assistance of Nico de Boinville.

The pair have finished first and second in good handicaps the last twice, the latter a particularly good effort off top weight in the Ladbroke at Ascot.

He's gone up just 4lb for that but he's still 6lb off his best chase rating and while he could make the odd mistake over fences, he's treating his hurdles with much more respect.

Such a fluent technique gives this naturally prominent racer a chance and I'd expect him to stay out of trouble and go well, with ground conditions no problem.

He's susceptible to an improver but this classy operator remains underestimated and has a fine chance of making the frame at least.

Finally, CAPTAIN SUNSHINE looks worth siding with in the Betfair Don't Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle earlier on the card at 1.50.

Emma Lavelle's seven-year-old doesn't come without risks as he refused to race at Exeter three starts ago and now has to be led in with kid gloves just to get him on the move.

I can't help but think he's really well handicapped, though, as he was finishing with an astonishing late thrust at Kempton on his latest start before falling at the last when challenging for second behind Oscara Dara in the Lanzarote.

He was just a bit too exuberant at the final flight that day, but, if he's none the worse for that fall, I expect him to go really well now upped in trip to three miles.

*Court Minstrel declared a non-runner Saturday morning

*Ben advised two winners from two bets last Saturday as Medinas and Cloudy Too both won (both advised at 10/1).

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: +146.31pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).

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