With all racing off in the UK this Saturday ITV4 will be showing racing from Naas - and our Ben Linfoot has a couple of Value Bet selections in the handicaps.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, February 9
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With no racing in the UK for the foreseeable future due to the outbreak of Equine Influenza, Ireland keeps the show on the road and that’s where the ITV cameras head on Saturday where they will broadcast five live contests from Naas.
The Betfair Hurdle this ain’t, but there are a couple of competitive handicaps to get stuck into as well as other points of interest at a track that has had a significant facelift recently thanks to a €3.2million cash injection from Horse Racing Ireland.
A new cylindrical-designed feature building with 180-degree views of the track is a snazzy focal point at a course that’s undulating with a half-mile, stiff, uphill finish that exposes any weaknesses in doubtful stayers.
The nature of the course could well help Debuchet finally get off the mark over timber in division one of the Cavan Developments Maiden Hurdle, a horse that was second in the Champion Bumper two years ago and ninth in the Sky Bet Supreme at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
He stays further and made his career debut at this track when second in a bumper, although whether he’s a betting proposition at around 2/1 given he’s zero from six over hurdles is another matter.
Willie Mullins’ Pravalaguna will likely be much shorter than that in the feature Mares Chase at 2.10, her win at Limerick on December 29 evidence that she’s in good heart, but for bets I’ll stick to the handicaps starting with the 23-runner Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle at 3.40.
There is loads of pace in this with the likes of Empire Burleque, Lake Malawi, Opportunity Knox, Tashman, Thereisnodoubt and Wade Harper all possibles to go forward, so, with the stiff nature of the track in mind, staying further than two looks an absolute pre-requisite.
Step forward CAPPUCINO MAN, who is worth backing at 12/1 (bet365, William Hill).
Oliver McKiernan’s horse has finished second in a 2m5f handicap hurdle on heavy ground at Tramore, so stamina is certainly not an issue, and he ran a nice race at Naas in bumper company, too, when third behind a good horse in Articulum.
His Tramore second came off Saturday’s handicap mark of 95, so he doesn’t look badly treated, especially as he was a close up third off the same rating at Gowran last time where he finished really well to close within a length-and-a-half of the winner at the line.
Outpaced a little that day, the hope is the likely strong gallop and stiff finish at Naas will very much play to his strengths and, looking through his rivals, there appear to be few opponents in the sort of form he showed on his latest start.
Earlier on the card I like the look of Paul Nolan’s PECULIAR GENIUS at 8/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power, Boylesports) in the O’Driscoll O’Neil Handicap Chase at 3.10.
His second over 2m4f at Wexford at the end of October was arguably the best effort of his career, a performance that proved he stays the distance well, and he backed it up on his next start when a never-nearer staying-on fourth in a two-mile handicap chase at Cork.
After that he reverted to hurdles at Tramore, again acquitting himself well in a close-up third, but a much better effort is expected now he’s back over fences with the cheekpieces on, and back up in trip to the 2m4f distance he ran so well over at Wexford.
The winner at Wexford, Neddyvaughan, ran a very good race in second at Punchestown on his next start off a 9lb higher mark, so there’s every chance Peculiar Genius can go well on Saturday up 4lb from that run.
He ran with plenty of promise off his new mark of 115 over two miles at Cork, and with Bryan Cooper taking over from a 7lb claimer in the saddle Peculiar Genius looks a good bet for a yard that have been amongst the winners recently.
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: +345.49pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 GMT on 08/02/19.
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