Our racing expert Ben Linfoot tries to unearth some big-price winners at Ascot on King George day and York's Sky Bet Dash card in this week's Value Bet column.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, July 27
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*Island of Life is a non-runner (09.58 - ground)
Ascot’s midsummer highlight the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes looks set to deliver in style this year thanks to an Enable-spearheaded renewal.
The Queen of British Flat racing is 8/13 favourite to win her 11th consecutive race and second King George on the back of a highly-encouraging seasonal debut victory in the Coral-Eclipse.
She was vulnerable that day over a trip short of her best on her first start of the campaign, but she won very nicely with the promise of more to come back up in distance with a run under her belt.
Crystal Ocean and Anthony Van Dyck offer different challenges, but Enable looks equipped to deal with them over a mile-and-a-half as she’s versatile tactically and in Frankie Dettori she has a master pilot who will adapt to any given situation.
The tactics are intriguing with the Ballydoyle quartet likely to make this a test, but Enable stays this trip really well and a strong gallop will only play into her hands, while the forecast rain won’t be a bother either.
I’m not in any rush to take her on and instead will focus on the Moet & Chandon International Stakes for a bet, the 29-runner handicap a typically devilish straight-course puzzle.
Ripp Orf and Raising Sand both thrive in this sort of test and they head the betting, but at a big price I like the look of ISLAND OF LIFE at 33/1 (General 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6) and she is worth an each-way bet with those bookies offering six places (Sky Bet, William Hill, Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power, Betfred).
William Haggas’ Dubawi mare drops into handicap company for the first time in seven starts and she’s been running well in Group Three and Listed company, finishing ahead of 100-plus rated rivals on several occasions.
The pick of her form is undoubtedly on the all-weather, but I like form from tracks with artificial surfaces at sand-based Ascot and she has run well here on her sole start, even if that was over five furlongs off a much lower mark.
I think she’ll like this surface and I don’t think any rain would be a bother to her, while a strongly-run seven could unlock significant improvement in her as she’s a strong-travelling hold-up horse with a swift turn of foot.
She’s forgiven her York run last time as that’s a speedy six furlongs and she stayed on quite nicely in the closing stages to be a never-nearer 10th, again shaping like a big-field handicap over seven would bring out the best in her.
The last time she ran in a handicap she won nicely off a mark of 89 and she runs from 95 here, a 4lb lower mark than her all-weather rating, with Cieren Fallon taking off a further 5lb.
That’s a golden claim, the in-form jockey looking more accomplished each day and he’s had 10 winners in the last two weeks at 29 per cent (before Friday’s evening meeting at Newmarket where he could well bolster those figures).
She looks to be drawn nicely in stall 10 close by to the pace-setting Vale Of Kent and if Fallon can be patient and show his hand late on she could well run into a place or even land the jackpot.
Over at York it’s Sky Bet Dash day and significant rain is forecast for the Knavesmire as well, so think about factoring that into your bets.
A bit of cut in the ground could be ideal for Michael Dods’ JAWWAAL in the feature handicap and at 20/1 (General) he looks a big price considering his form at Doncaster earlier in the season and his luckless effort at York last time out.
He was squeezed out at the start that day and then found trouble in-running inside the final two furlongs before running on to be beaten just over five lengths once he found daylight.
The way he travelled suggests he has the pace for a speedy six furlongs if everything falls right for him but any easing of the conditions, consequently making things more of a test, would certainly be in his favour.
He won over seven furlongs a couple of times when trained by John Gosden, so we know he stays six furlongs very well and if he gets the gaps at the right times Ben Curtis might well have a horse underneath him that’s capable of landing this big pot off his current handicap mark.
His runs at Doncaster earlier in the season certainly suggest he can win a handicap off a mark in the high 80s and in Dods he’s with a handler that often finds the key to these sprint handicappers.
Dods has three chances in the race and both Dakota Gold and Camacho Chief will like the rain as well, but, while they’re better fancied by the market than the selection, they have somewhat shown their hands while Jawwaal still has that untapped potential.
Finally, Richard Fahey could strike with STARLIGHT ROMANCE at 12/1 (General) in the Sky Bet “Get Knotted” Handicap at 2.05.
Get Knotted is going for his fourth consecutive win in a race that is named after him this year, but Starlight Romance loves York as well and she could spoil the party.
She was beaten half-a-length by Get Knotted in this very race last year, but is 1lb better off on Saturday and is three times the price of the favourite.
That’s because she’s been below form on her last two runs at Doncaster and Newmarket, but she was beaten a nose before that here at York in a similar race to Saturday’s contest.
It is with hope the return to the Knavesmire lights the fire in her belly again and if it does she’s got better claims than her price suggests on her form at this track.
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: +373.19pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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Posted at 1700 BST on 26/07/19.