Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on the second day of Cheltenham's December meeting, featuring the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, December 14
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The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup market has a very different look to it now after favourite Riders Onthe Storm was ruled out (admin error) with several horses vying for the position of market leader.
Paul Nicholls’ Secret Investor is one of those and he is interesting enough on handicap debut, but I prefer the claims of his stablemate BRELAN D’AS at 8/1 (General).
With Cepage having an 8lb rise to overcome after finishing second to Riders Onthe Storm at Aintree it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Brelan D’As go off favourite and he probably should do after his run in the BetVictor Gold Cup last time.
That race looked a stronger contest than this one and another Nicholls charge, Magic Saint, has already boosted the form after being beaten 16 lengths by Brelan D’As at the November meeting.
Brelan D’As jumped superbly last time and he travelled into the race smoothly, but just found Happy Diva too strong in her ideal conditions.
The pair were miles clear of the third and the 5lb rise Brelan D’As received was very fair. The BetVictor has been a great pointer to this race over the years with seven winners coming out of the November contest in the last 15 renewals (including three runners-up).
Nicholls has won this race five times and he earmarked Brelan D’As to win a big pot at the start of the season. It could well be on Saturday and the general 8/1 is a fair price.
The biggest danger could be CLONDAW CASTLE and at 10/1 (General) he’s worth getting onside as well.
Fourth in the Arkle last season, he improved throughout his novice season over two miles but just lacked a bit of pace in the Grade One contests he finished his campaign in.
The main angle with him is how well-handicapped he could be now stepping up in trip, as he’s never run over 2m4f under rules, yet is a point-to-point winner that is related to plenty of horses that stayed well.
He was going to get well beaten in that bizarre Ascot race that Diego Du Charmil won after final-fence drama with Capeland, but that was still a good run for his reappearance and he improved plenty from first to second start last year.
Diego Du Charmil and Capeland franked that form in style by dominating the finish again in a similar Ascot event next time out and up in trip Clondaw Castle could well improve plenty from that Berkshire encounter.
Away from the feature race there are slim pickings to have a go at but the Park Mares’ Handicap Hurdle that closes the card at 3.40 offers an opportunity with SHAMBRA catching the eye at 25/1 (bet365 1/4 1,2,3,4).
Lucy Wadham’s mare is ultra-consistent having finished in the first three in eight of her 10 hurdle starts and only two of her runs over timber have been over trips around Saturday’s distance of 2m4f.
Those runs have produced a neck defeat off 119 and a short head win off the same mark at Plumpton on her season return in October, where she beat Nicholls’ Dan McGrue.
That horse won next time out at the same track beating Acey Milan, a horse that was subsequently a good second in a hot handicap at Haydock, so it looks really good form and Shambra is only 3lb higher now off 122.
She travelled into things smoothly last time at Ascot but didn’t quite get home over three miles, so the drop back in trip here looks ideal as she’s an ex-Flat horse with a bit of relative speed.
Maxime Tissier rides and he has a good record on this mare, winning on her twice from six goes and finishing second or third on three other occasions.
Midnightreferendum was also on the shortlist, but given Shambra’s consistency I’d rather back her each-way than split stakes on anything else.
Posted at 1700 GMT on 13/12/19
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: +374.39pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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