Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has four big-priced selections in this week's Value Bet column at both Haydock Park and Ascot.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, September 7
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Richard Kingscote is terrific around Haydock and he looks to have several good chances on Saturday including CRYSTAL KING (16/1 Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power) in the Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup Handicap at 3.35.
This horse is related to Hillstar, Crystal Capella and Crystal Ocean, and while he doesn’t quite look to have inherited their ability he has shown enough to suggest he’s capable of winning a good handicap off a mark of 93.
His run at Ayr over 1m5f off 91 two starts ago is the most recent and convincing evidence, as he encountered a bit of trouble in-running that day and he wasn’t beaten far in third.
Sent off at 5/2 at Ascot over two miles after that, he was still in the firing line two furlongs out but was completely eased down when his chance had gone and I’m happy to put a line through the run.
Dropping back in trip to 1m6f looks a good idea and, while he’s unproven on ground this soft, his win at Leicester on good to soft last season suggests he might just relish conditions this weekend.
He’s a big price partly because of his Ascot run and partly because he’s Sir Michael Stoute’s second string in the race, but it’s interesting he’s turned to Kingscote who has a great record for this yard at Haydock.
Kingscote is three from seven for Stoute at this track and has yet to finish out of the first three for him at Haydock, while the first-time visor employed here is also a positive from a statistical basis.
Stoute has had 39 first-time visor winners at 16 per cent throughout his career, but this season alone he’s four from eight with his winners returning at 2/1, 5/1, 8/1 and 10/1.
It’s with hope, then, that the visor can perk Crystal King up sufficiently and if it does he looks a big player at a decent price in the day’s feature handicap.
In the day’s feature race, the Group One Betfair Sprint Cup (4.10), the market remains a bit of a mess on Friday afternoon with Advertise ruled out and Ten Sovereigns a likely absentee despite no official word to Weatherbys (at the time of publication - 5pm Friday).
Some bookmakers have him in the betting, some don’t, so watch your Rule 4s, but you can get 20/1 (bet365, Boylesports, 888Sport 1/5 1,2,3) about FOREVER IN DREAMS with those layers that have taken Ten Sovereigns out and she looks underestimated at those odds each-way.
Three-year-olds had the upper hand in the July Cup where the first five home all came from that age group, the Commonwealth Cup form showing up particularly well thanks to the exploits of Advertise and Ten Sovereigns.
While those two are missing the runner-up from the Commonwealth Cup, Forever In Dreams, shouldn’t be forgotten and she had form on soft ground in France when trained by Matthieu Palussiere.
Now with Aidan Fogarty, there’s a fair bit of small stable syndrome factored into her price, but it should be remembered she was bumped leaving the stalls at Royal Ascot and she beat Saturday’s rivals Hello Youmzain and Khaadem that day.
Royal Intervention was fifth and he beat German raider Waldpfad last time, so Forever In Dreams has a line on quite a few of these yet is priced up as the second least likely winner in the field.
There’s a good card down at Ascot as well and Hugo Palmer’s ARBALET (14/1 General) could be worth chancing in the Cunard Handicap at 2.45.
He needs fast ground to be at his best and the only time he’s encountered good to firm this year he ran well, in a Listed race at Windsor, over a mile which is a bit further than ideal.
That was only three starts ago and he finished amongst a posse of 100-plus rated horses, so it’s a bit surprising he’s dropped 7lb in two subsequent runs following below-par efforts in handicaps on ground softer than ideal.
Off a mark of 95 he looks very well treated, especially at this track considering he was second off 104 in last year’s 27-runner Gigaset International Stakes.
Palmer has reached for the blinkers in a bid to sharpen him up, but it’s the return to Ascot on good to firm ground off a tantalising handicap mark that makes him a bet at 14s.
Finally, back RHYTHMIC INTENT at 14/1 (General) in the Lavazza Stakes at 3.55.
This Lope De Vega colt looks a nice horse and could really rise through the ranks now he’s been stepped up in trip to 1m4f.
Beaten a length off 81 in a Newbury handicap over 10 furlongs two starts ago, he relished the step up in trip on soft ground last time where he beat Arabist, a horse that franked the form at Haydock on Thursday, by four lengths.
A 3lb rise to 84 looks lenient and he can be a force back in handicap company over this distance, especially at a stiff track like Ascot that looks sure to play to his strengths.
The question mark is whether he can continue his improvement on very different ground conditions, but he looks worth chancing on that score considering he handled good to firm perfectly well two starts ago.
It’s the trip that looks the key factor, and at 14s off a low weight he looks one to get onside.
Posted at 1700 BST on 06/09/19.
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: +369.19pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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