Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on Investec Oaks day at Epsom and he has one bet in the Classic as well as a couple in the handicaps.
Recommended Bets: Friday, May 31
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The Investec Oaks has a wide open look to it with any amount of potential improvers lurking in the field and it’s surprising we have a 9/4 favourite in the shape of Pink Dogwood.
She represents the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien team, who have won four of the last seven renewals, but where she hails from looks to be heavily factored into her price.
Her Navan form has been franked and she looks certain to come on for it, but her claims look no stronger than the four fillies that are behind her in the market, so she immediately looks very short to me.
Mehdaayih looked very good at Chester, but I’m happy to take a punt on her being flattered that day as she enjoyed a trouble-free run on rain-softened ground. There’s no juice left in her odds now.
Anapurna won her trial on soft ground and might need plenty of cut judging by that evidence, while William Haggas’ Maqsad has the speed and the class but has it to prove stamina-wise.
I do think it’s worth having a go at one at bigger odds with all this in mind and, while I was tempted by Peach Tree and Tauteke for each-way purposes, the one I felt was fairly priced to win was Haggas’ other runner, FRANKELLINA, at 16/1 (bet365, Coral, Unibet, 14s General).
Haggas chooses his Oaks fillies carefully and he has only had three runners in the race before including 2011 winner Dancing Rain.
That he has two running for him this year tells you he thinks both are ready for this test and that’s significant when it comes to Frankellina who has had just the two career starts.
Haggas reports her to have come forward from her dead-heat for second in the Musidora, which she was expected to do having suffered a minor setback which saw her miss some work in the early part of the season.
She has more improvement in her than any filly in this field with that in mind and it will help if she begins on terms with the rest on Friday as that wasn’t the case at York.
I thought she did tremendously well to force herself into a photo considering the amount of ground she lost when dwelling in the stalls – around four lengths – and she just seemed to get a little tired late on which was understandable.
To be beaten a neck for second was highly commendable in the circumstances and she should relish the extra distance on Friday being by Frankel out of a 1m4f winner.
Stall 14 isn’t an issue as far as I’m concerned, as she’ll likely be held up anyway and she can get a nice position early on if things go smoothly from over there.
If Haggas thinks she might be ready it’s time to take note and at 16s I can’t leave her unbacked considering her enormous potential.
There are a couple of good handicaps to get stuck into as well on the Oaks undercard and the best bet looks to be BORODIN (12/1 bet365, 10/1 General) in the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap at 3.45.
He looks to have improved from three to four judging by his two runs at Newbury and Thirsk this season in good mile handicaps in which he was third and fourth respectively.
In his last run at Thirsk he seemed to jink or lose his footing late in proceedings which didn’t help his cause, while he has run about a bit before in the closing stages of his races.
Still, he has a solid back catalogue of form over a mile, including a defeat of Blue Mist last September, but he’s bred for further being by Derby winner High Chaparral out of 1m4f winner Songbird.
The step up in trip looks likely to bring about more improvement in him, while the application of cheekpieces can help cure his tendency to wander about when the going gets tough.
Richard Fahey has a good record with first-time cheekpieces, winning 34 from 231 at 14.72 per cent, while 11 of those 34 winners were stepping up in trip from their previous start.
Finally, it’s worth chancing HORS DE COMBAT in the Investec Mile Handicap at 14/1 (General).
There is plenty of likely early pace in this with Masham Star, Arigato, Rufus King and Wahash in the field and things might just be run to suit the selection who could do with a change of luck.
A perennial running-on loser with a strike-rate of just three wins from 39 career runs, he has a habit of not getting the job done, but that is usually in better races than this off tougher marks.
His sixth place efforts in the Hunt Cup and Golden Mile at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood last season are textbook Hors De Combat performances, but both of those runs were off a handicap mark of 103.
It took him an age to come down because of his consistency, but three poor runs in Meydan did the trick and he’s down to 97 now.
That was the mark he ran off at Newbury last time and he did very well to get within two-and-a-quarter lengths of the winner in fifth place after coming from miles back in a race where it paid to be prominent.
Oisin Murphy will likely hold him up and get him rolling down the outside late on, and at 14s I’m happy to chance this son of Mount Nelson getting there on this occasion.
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: +336.09pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 30/05/19.