Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival and he's taking on Crystal Ocean in the big one.
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Crystal Ocean is the star attraction on day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York as the Prince Of Wales’s winner and King George runner-up bids for more glory in the Juddmonte International.
Sir Michael Stoute’s 127-rated son of Sea The Stars sets the standard and has a class advantage according to official figures that say he has 7lb in hand of his nearest rival on handicap ratings.
That explains why he’s an 11/10 shot, but I’d be wary of backing him at those odds.
He might’ve achieved that figure after winning over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot, but that is a stiff 10 furlongs and the race was run on soft ground as well, bringing Crystal Ocean’s stamina fully into play.
I don’t think there’s much doubt he’s better over a mile-and-a-half, his second to Enable in the King George last time certainly suggests as much, and there’s every chance he’ll be caught napping for tactical speed in a good ground Juddmonte.
That was the case last year for the same-stable’s Poet’s Word and the similarities are striking.
Poet’s Word was beaten by an improving three-year-old from John Gosden’s that was blessed with speed – Roaring Lion – and, despite Enable skipping this contest, we could see the Clarehaven handler and Frankie Dettori strike at the top level once again with KING OF COMEDY (9/2 bet365, William Hill, BetVictor, Unibet).
The 7lb weight-for-age allowance he gets from Crystal Ocean could be a decisive factor, as well as his mile pace that was in evidence when he was an unlucky second in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
That form looks really good, too. A Classic winner, Phoenix Of Spain, was back in sixth, while the third horse home, Too Darn Hot, has won two Group Ones subsequently.
King Of Comedy beat subsequent Royal Ascot winner Sangarius prior to that at Sandown, so there are a few pieces of evidence that show him to be a very smart horse indeed and he’s expected to improve going up in trip.
He certainly shaped like further would suit at Ascot, while he’s a half-brother to Star Of Bengal and Star Of Seville who Gosden trained to win over a mile-and-a-quarter.
Prices of 9/2 look big and are worth snapping up.
In the opening Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap Dakota Gold is favourite as he goes for a quickfire hat-trick following wins in the Sky Bet Dash on the Knavesmire and the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon.
This would be some treble in the space of 24 days but those two victories came over half-a-furlong further and on soft ground, so he’s vulnerable despite being 3lb well-in under a penalty.
Looking at the potential pace the real speedsters seem to be drawn middle to stands’ side with Watchable, Harome, Final Venture, Caspian Prince and Jabbarockie all drawn 15 and upwards.
That’s good news for one of Paul Midgley’s trio, ORVAR, and at 18/1 he’s worth an each-way bet (1/5 1,2,3,4,5 BetVictor, 16/1 General).
This horse loves travelling into things off a strong gallop, so a nice draw in 13 just off that aforementioned pace looks ideal and this is his time of year.
He's a horse that seems to thrive later in the season having taken a while to warm into the campaign, his first victories in the last three British turf seasons coming on either his sixth or seventh starts.
Two of those have come in August, both in the same Doncaster race he won on Saturday. He won it nicely, too, travelling into things well and showing a neat turn of foot to win the race pretty cosily.
I thought he looked in fine fettle and, while that race was on soft ground, he’s just as effective on quicker conditions and he remains fairly well treated under the 5lb penalty that ensured he got in the race.
The same trainer and owner struck with Desert Law in this race two years ago and he had won the same Doncaster contest that Orvar landed four days previously to his York success as well.
Oisin Murphy is on the same trainer and owner’s Final Venture this time, but Jason Watson is a fine substitute and at 16s he looks the bet.
Finally, Richard Hannon's HARD NUT (14/1 General) looks a bet in the closing Sky Bet Nursery Handicap (4.50).
Hannon won this race last year and Hard Nut looks to have better claims of him following up than his odds imply.
A good winner at Chelmsford and Newbury in novice company, he caught the eye on nursery debut at Glorious Goodwood last time.
Held up in last after racing a tad keenly in the early stages, he finished strongly under hands and heels riding to claim fifth and that experience can bring him on plenty.
Dropped 1lb to 85 after that, he gets an 11lb pull at the weights with the winner Homespin for just under a four-length defeat and he could easily reverse that form off these terms.
With Ryan Moore booked Hannon means business and the generally available 16/1 looks fair.
Posted at 1700 BST on 20/08/19.
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: +368.19pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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