Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on Coral-Eclipse day at Sandown and on the Old Newton Cup card at Haydock, with four tipped up at big prices.
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It’s an excellent renewal of the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday and a real dilemma for punters with Saxon Warrior lining up quickly following his third in the Irish Derby last weekend.
Is he worth persevering with now he drops to 10 furlongs for the first time? Or can Masar follow up his Derby win as the likes of Sea The Stars and Golden Horn have done before him? Or is it Roaring Lion’s turn?
With three top three-year-old colts lining up it'll be tough for the older horses to concede 10lb to the Classic brigade but picking between the trio at the top of the market isn’t easy.
If pushed Roaring Lion would get my vote, as he looked more straightforward at Epsom and I reckon he can improve again now he drops back to 10 furlongs. Whichever horse wins, though, it promises to be a real spectacle.
The Coral-Eclipse ends ITV’s coverage at 2.10 before the country’s attention switches to events in Samara, but prior to that there is some good support action at Sandown and Haydock including three handicaps.
At 1.45 it’s the bet365 Old Newton Cup at Haydock and one of the key factors in this race is the potential for a real strong gallop thanks to a posse of pace enforcers in the line-up.
Teodoro, Sofia’s Rock, Crowned Eagle, Titi Makfi, Rainbow Rebel, Aclimatise and Atty Persse could all go forward early and most of them are drawn low, too, so I’d expect the hold-up horses to get into this in the long straight.
The one that it could really suit is Iain Jardine’s ATKINSON GRIMSHAW and at 12/1 (General) he’s worth getting onside following a promising second on stable debut at Ayr last time.
Formerly with Andrew Balding, this lightly-raced four-year-old has only had eight starts but he looks well-handicapped because of it as he bumped into some talented and progressive sorts last August in Thundering Blue and Pivoine.
Those two were only just ahead of Atkinson Grimshaw off similar ratings last summer but both are rated around 100 now and there’s every chance the selection will rate much higher than 87 come the end of the campaign.
Gelded in the winter, he looked more straightforward on his first start for Jardine at Ayr last month, his first start for 296 days, running a little keen in the early stages but reacting well to new hold-up tactics which could unlock plenty of improvement in him.
He liked to get on with things last season when an exuberant three-year-old, but the way he picked up off a muddling pace to get second at Ayr last time was highly encouraging.
We know he stays a mile and a half well, he was only put up 2lb for his effort in Scotland and if he settles well off what looks likely to be a decent gallop here he can finish with a flourish under the now 3lb-claimer Jamie Gormley.
He’ll also be absolutely fine on the ground and while TAWDEEA could probably do with more testing conditions that’s factored into his odds and he’s worth chancing at 33/1 (Coral, 25/1 General).
An impressive winner of this race off 95 in 2016, he was a four-length fifth in last year’s renewal off a mark of 100 and those aren’t the only times he’s run well at Haydock as he likes the long straight and galloping nature of the track.
He’s of interest off a mark of 85 at a big price, then, especially as things just haven’t gone his way in three starts since wind surgery this campaign.
They went no gallop at either Doncaster or York on his first two runs this season, so that was dead against him, while he was hampered at Chester last time before running on well once the race was over.
That run suggests he’s running into form off his new lowly mark and he’ll love a really strong gallop at a course he loves.
Earlier on at Haydock there’s an interesting race for three-year-old stayers in the bet365 Handicap (12.35) and Alan King’s ELYSEES looks the bet at 20/1 (BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes).
By Champs Elysees out of a Sadler’s Wells mare, Elysees is bred for a trip and he’s a half-brother to a hurdler so it would be no surprise to see him turn up over timber this winter considering his handler.
However, he looks progressive on the level and can win more prizes on the Flat before then, especially when you consider he’s only raced the once on turf.
That was a near five-length romp at Sandown off a mark of 70 on June 15, the first time he’d attempted a 1m6f trip, and he was far from disgraced under a 6lb penalty six days later at Chelmsford.
Beaten a length and a half by Volevo Lui and Rude Awakening at the line, Fran Berry went easy on him once his chance had gone and I didn’t think he looked totally at home on the Polytrack having done most of his racing on Wolverhampton’s Tapeta.
Rude Awakening has bolted up by six lengths at Doncaster since then and he’s disputing favouritism at around 3/1 with Ghostwatch, but Elysees gets an 8lb pull with him on their Chelmsford running and is available at over six times the price.
Finally, SOUTH SEAS’ (18/1 General) class could count for plenty in the Coral Challenge Handicap at Sandown (12.55).
An impressive winner of the Solario Stakes from Salouen at the course in 2016, he ran in Group One company in three of his next four races but was gelded after not cutting the mustard at the top level.
However, he’s hinted that he retains his ability in two Chester handicaps this season, especially last time when he missed the break, found trouble in-running and flew home for a never-nearer two-and-a-half length fourth off his current mark of 105.
You wouldn’t really think Chester would suit him, but we know Sandown does and a return to this galloping and testing track could well see him bounce back to top form.
I don’t think fast ground will be any inconvenience to him and that Chester form has been franked by two of the horses that finished just behind him, Penwortham and Above The Rest.
Posted at 1700 BST on 06/07/18.
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: +362.34pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).