Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on day three of the William Hill St Leger Festival and he's backing John Gosden and Frankie Dettori to prevail in the Mallard.
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Big BEN VRACKIE looks an excellent bet at 7/1 (General) in the William Hill Mallard Handicap (3.00) at Doncaster on day three of the St Leger Festival on Friday.
John Gosden’s son of Frankel could well have run in the St Leger itself had he won the March Stakes at Goodwood last time but his defeat there to Classic hopeful Maid Up has seen him end up in handicap company for the first time.
That he's rated 104 after four runs since his career debut on July 12 shows you how rapid his progression has been and his 11-length rout of novice opposition at Lingfield at the end of that month was a clear signal of this horse’s raw ability.
Last time he was beaten in Group Three company at Goodwood by a highly-progressive filly that had form at the track and she’s got an each-way chance in Saturday’s Leger, so he lost little in defeat there.
Instead of tackling a Classic he’s been handed a superb opportunity to add to that sole Lingfield success as this looks a fine piece of placing by Gosden with three-year-olds getting 10lb from their elders on the weight-for-age scale.
Three-year-olds have won three of the last six renewals of the Mallard and Gosden has a top-notch record when running a member of the Classic generation against older horses in handicaps at Doncaster (10 wins from 43 runners at 23.26 per cent).
That’s a healthy record considering his strike-rate at all courses with the same criteria is 16.59 per cent and it’s not the only bet-inducing stat concerning this horse, either, as Frankel progeny are six from 13 at 46.15 per cent on Town Moor.
With only two three-year-olds in the contest Ben Vrackie is getting some serious weight from some exposed older horses and the extended 1m6f on a galloping track like Doncaster looks perfect for this imposing, improving, stayer.
Gosden won this race with Camborne for Ben Vrackie’s owner HRH Princess Haya Of Jordan back in 2013 and it would be no surprise if the same connections landed this prize once again.
Frankie Dettori takes over from Rab Havlin in the saddle and so strong are this horse’s claims I’m surprised he’s not a clear favourite. At the general 7/1 I’m more than happy to double the usual stake on him.
Earlier on in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes I think ELLTHEA is a cracking bet at 11/1 (Ladbrokes, 10/1 General) for Karl Burke.
This daughter of Kodiac won the fillies’ nursery at this meeting last year by almost four lengths and she followed that up with a Group Three win at Naas where she easily beat Sizzling in the Weld Park Stakes.
A good fifth in the Fillies’ Mile followed and the ground has presumably been too fast for her in England for most of this season as she’s been sighted just twice – both times in France.
She kicked off her campaign with a good two-length seventh in the French 1000 Guineas and then, last time, she finished fifth in the Group Two Prix de Sandingham (see below).
Watching that video you can see that Ellthea suffered a wide trip throughout, but she didn’t run badly at all and does look like she’ll benefit for dropping to seven furlongs for the first time since that Naas victory.
That Prix de Sandringham form has worked out well as the second, Crown Walk, has won the Group Three Prix Chloe since, the third, Efaadah, has won the Group Three Prix de la Porte Maillot and the sixth, Altyn Orda, was second to Alpha Centauri in the Falmouth.
Rated 109 after her Naas win, that number would make her joint top-rated in this and she looks to have a fantastic chance at the weights in a race three-year-olds have dominated over the years.
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: +338.09pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 13/09/18.
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