Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections for day one of Cheltenham's December meeting on Friday and he has three tips.
Recommended Bets: Friday, December 13
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Colin Tizzard is in good form and he has a great record at the Cheltenham December meeting, so it could be worth chancing his KILBRICKEN STORM at 10/1 (Ladbrokes, Coral, 9/1 General) on his handicap debut on Friday.
The eight-year-old runs in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle at 3.40 and the assessor has given him a real chance dropping him 7lb in two runs to a mark of 145.
A Grade One winner over Friday’s course and distance by virtue of his 2018 Albert Bartlett victory, Kilbricken Storm is seriously well handicapped on that form, a race that also shows he won’t mind the ground softening further.
He hasn’t been seen since a few below-par runs in the spring, but he’s had wind surgery since then and the long break will have done him good as we know he goes well fresh.
He’s won three times after a break of two months or more and if he is in peak condition for this assignment he could well outclass this field of handicappers.
Tizzard has had 11 winners at this meeting at a 21.15% strike-rate during his career and it would be no surprise if this horse managed to improve that record further.
Others on the radar were the well-handicapped Goodbye Dancer on his first start for Fergal O’Brien and Suzy Smith’s Debestyman who looks to have more to offer in staying handicaps.
Earlier on the card it’s worth risking ROCK THE KASBAH on the ground as he has plenty else in his favour at 8/1 (Hills, Boylesports) in the BetVictor Handicap Chase at 2.30.
He was a non-runner at the October meeting on account of the soft ground, but it was extremely wet that day and it would've been his first run of the season so hopefully Philip Hobbs rolls the dice this time.
If he does Rock The Kasbah is a huge player, as he ran a really promising race in the Badger Beers at Wincanton, only giving way late on after jumping well up front for the most part.
He came on significantly for his first run last season, winning nicely at the Cheltenham November meeting on his second start off a mark of 147.
On Friday he races from just a 1lb higher rating and any improvement from his seasonal bow at Wincanton will see him in the mix.
When he last won at Cheltenham he got the perfect tow into things from a couple of horses, including Cogry, and a similar scenario could well play out this time around with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse likely to be prominent again, along with Impulsive Star and Treackle Tart.
With the Hobbs team in good form it’s worth backing Rock The Kasbah, with his assured stamina, to get back in the winners’ enclosure.
Finally, most eyes will be on Yanworth in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase but he looks very short at 4/1 and it could be worth backing the horse that finished second to him last time at more than double the price.
That horse is Jessica Harrington’s NEVERUSHACON and he looks to have been underestimated at the general 10/1 given he only finished a length and a half off Yanworth last time out after taking to the Punchestown banks course really well.
Crucially he gets a massive weight pull of 13lb here (16lb if you include Paddy Kennedy’s claim) and such a swing could easily see him reverse last-time-out form with Enda Bolger’s charge.
He has his stamina to prove, but this versatile horse looks the ideal type for this sort of contest and at 10s he’s worth the risk over a trip much further than he’s ever been before.
Posted at 1700 GMT on 12/12/19
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 and Ireland. Running total: +377.39pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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