Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections for Northumberland Plate day at Newcastle with three tips advised at 10/1, 12/1 and 33/1.
Recommended Bets: Value Bet, Newcastle, June 30
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
It’s been a tough year for Saeed bin Suroor, but his horses have finally started to fire in June and he can end the month with a bang by landing the Stobart Rail & Civils Northumberland Plate Handicap at Newcastle (2.05) with NATURAL SCENERY (12/1 Coral, Ladbrokes) on Saturday.
With just over 60 runners for the first five months of the year combined, Godolphin’s original trainer has been put in the shade by the continued success of Charlie Appleby - who has won the Derby with Masar and the King’s Stand with Blue Point in June alone.
But Bin Suroor has been fighting back the last few weeks, in numbers terms at least, with his 60 runners in June pretty much matching what has run from his yard the previous five months and his 11 winners at an 18 per cent strike-rate is a healthy enough return.
They’re certainly encouraging with Natural Scenery’s comeback in mind, as she has a tremendous record on Newcastle’s Tapeta, looks fairly treated on her best form and has an excellent record when fresh as well.
Two from three at the track, Natural Scenery was second in this race last year on her only defeat at Gosforth Park, finishing between the winner Higher Power and fourth home Lord George.
This time around she’s 3lb better off with Higher Power for a half-length defeat and 11lb better off with Lord George who was a length behind her a year ago, so that alone is a good indication of how well-handicapped she is.
Third in the Ebor off 105 after that, she’s dropped 4lb to 101 on the back of four defeats in Meydan, but they were in good company, came inside an eight-week period and she’s a mare that has always run best when given time between her races.
Indeed, she won first-time out after 342 days off in 2016, won after a 92-day break in October of that year and her second in last year’s Plate came on the back of a 78-day absence.
The three months she’s had off since Dubai look ideal, then, and with a wide draw looking no inconvenience on the limited evidence we have from the two mile races on the Newcastle Tapeta, she can go well at a nice price.
Two of the main reasons that she’s available at those odds are Withhold and Amazing Red, a couple of stayers on the up.
Both have excellent chances as their market positions indicate, but I’m happy to take them on.
Withhold had a run before he landed that monster gamble in the Cesarewitch last year, so he might well need this and this is his Tapeta debut as well, while Amazing Red can be keen in his races and he’ll have to settle better if he’s to see out the two miles at this track.
In the consolation race, the Betfred Northumberland Vase Handicap (1.30), the 10/1 (Bet Victor, Coral) about Iain Jardine’s BEDROCK looks worth snapping up.
The ex-Dan Skelton hurdler, rated 145 in that sphere after his Grade One third at Aintree in April, absolutely bolted up on his third start on the level for his new handler at Musselburgh on June 9.
He tanked through that race, winning by over two lengths from a well-handicapped course specialist without being shown the whip, and is officially 3lb well-in for this under a 5lb penalty.
Jardine knows exactly what it takes to win this type of race thanks to his exploits with the likes of Nakeeta and Shrewd and he’s booked Fran Berry, a jockey who won this race last year on London Prize, to do the steering.
Bedrock is yet to run on a Tapeta surface, but Jardine runs enough at the track to know what is required and there's encouragement that he’s by Fastnet Rock, a sire with a good record at the course with his progeny (13 wins from 54 runners at 24 per cent).
Talking of sire stats, Intense Focus is nine from 33 at 27 per cent on the Newcastle Tapeta and I think his HYPERFOCUS is overpriced at 33/1 (General ¼ 1,2,3) in the opening Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Handicap at 12.20.
Hugo Palmer’s horse won on his only start at Newcastle when he won a novice race as a two-year-old and he improved for being gelded at three, winning handicaps off 85 and 90 at Haydock in September last year.
Rated 98 at the start of this season, he’s dropped to 92 after barely beating a rival in three runs but he has had valid excuses for those efforts for my money.
First-time back after wind surgery at Bath in March the ground was unsuitably heavy, while he showed a lot of speed on the wrong part of the track at Newmarket next time before being heavily eased when his chance had gone.
Then, last time, he was drawn out in stall 10 at Chester and was unsurprisingly trapped wide all the way, Josephine Gordon giving up the fight on him in the straight when all chance was already gone.
He might well be out of sorts, but at 33/1 it’s worth forgiving him those runs with the chance that his reduced handicap mark and return to this surface will see him in a much better light.
Posted at 1700 BST on 29/06/18.
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: +366.34pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).