Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes undercard at Doncaster while he also has a bet over the jumps as Saturday racing returns to Cheltenham.
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It’s the final Group One of the domestic season at Doncaster on Saturday when 11 juveniles line up for the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes and Aidan O’Brien saddles the short-price favourite, Magna Grecia.
He was a narrow runner-up to Persian King on just his second start in the Autumn Stakes last time out and such was the potential he showed in that run that connections didn’t hesitate in paying the supplementary fee for this race.
I’m in no rush to take him on, and there might be some value in the 20/1 available about him for the 2000 Guineas. Camelot and Saxon Warrior won both races for O’Brien, so if he does have a Group One to his name on Saturday evening you can be certain the Newmarket Classic quotes about him will be much shorter.
He could well develop into a middle-distance colt judging by his pedigree, but he's by Invincible Spirit and, given O’Brien’s record with Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes winners in the Guineas, he could well be quite a drastic shortener in the ante-post market, even with Too Darn Hot currently dominating the betting.
As far as bets go on Saturday, the rest of the Doncaster card is a good one and the sunracing.co.uk Handicap over five furlongs at 3.25 is wide open with young, progressive sprinters thin on the ground.
Camacho Chief probably fits that particular bill the most and he is the likely favourite, but he has gone up another 4lb for finishing second at York last time and is always a bit of a hostage to fortune given his running style.
I’m happy to leave him out of calculations and, with this race having such an open look to it, I am going to get the baseball bat out and take a swing at the 50/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power) available about Ron Harris’ JUST GLAMOROUS.
This horse has a remarkable profile with a three-length defeat of Marsha in a Group Three in France to his name as well seven last-place finishes where he went out like a light.
It is difficult to know which Just Glamorous will turn up and the bookies have decided it will probably be the one that trails home out the back, which is fair enough on the balance of his form this season, but I’m hoping the autumnal conditions spark him back to his best.
The last two seasons this has certainly been his time of year. That incredible French Group Three win came in the September of 2016, while this time last year he won a Listed race at Ascot, was second at Leicester and finished a good seventh in this very race off a mark of 107.
This year he again started poorly, but his handicap mark has dropped to 90 now and his last two starts have been encouraging enough. He ran well at Ascot when finishing on the heels of 100-plus rated horses in the same Listed race he won last year, while he missed the break at York last time and was always on the back foot after that, so his midfield finish was okay in the circumstances.
If he gets out sharply here, like he usually does, I think it’s reasonable to expect a much improved performance and the jockey booking of PJ McDonald suggests as much, too, seeing as he is two from two for Harris this season (including a three-length 16/1 win on Under The Covers at Glorious Goodwood).
Harris always tries to target this race and he won it with Judge ‘N Jury back in 2008, a horse that was a regular in the contest thereafter, and with the well-handicapped Just Glamorous he might just have a horse capable of winning the race again and causing an almighty shock in the process.
You might think I’m mad for not backing him each-way, but given his all or nothing profile I’m loathe to double my stake on him and I’d rather split stakes with another well-handicapped horse, DUKE OF FIRENZE, at 18/1 (bet365, Coral).
Like Just Glamorous, he’s plummeted in the weights this year, but we know how dangerous he is in a big-field handicap off a strong pace and he’s too big to resist at 18s off a mark of 86.
He shaped like he’d found his new level last time at Catterick when staying on well to be beaten less than two lengths in fifth off a similar mark.
He’ll have to reverse form with the winner, Foolaad, but a 5lb pull at the weights can help him do just that and Josephine Gordon is a positive jockey booking.
Earlier on at Doncaster GARRUS looks a really good bet in the Listed Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster Stakes at 10/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power).
San Donato and Breath Of Air dominate the market here, but Garrus’ form looks just as good and I thought he travelled through the Mill Reef last time like a smart horse only to become bogged down in the testing conditions.
The drying ground at Doncaster should be right up his street and Noseda has a tremendous record on Town Moor with his juveniles, winning 16 races from 60 runners at a strike-rate of 27 per cent throughout his career.
Frankie Dettori takes over in the saddle for the first time and he has a 28 per cent record himself when teaming up with Noseda two-year-olds (27 wins from 97 rides).
Perfect punt at Cheltenham
Finally, I’m going to dip my toe into National Hunt waters at Cheltenham’s first Saturday meeting with Olly Murphy’s PERFECT MAN appealing at 16/1 (General) in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (3.45).
The key to him could be the reapplication of cheekpieces, as he won in them for previous trainer Pat Hurley in Ireland and the same headgear certainly helped his half-sister, Perfect Woman, who rattled off a four-timer in the sheepskin a few years ago.
Last time, at Newton Abbot, he ran as if he needed them, as he hit a flat spot half a mile from home before staying on well for third behind Timeforben, a David Pipe-trained mare that reopposes off 8lb worse terms on Saturday.
That can help Perfect Man reverse the form and he certainly looks as though he has more to give on just his third start for his new stable, while the good ground looks no issue judging by his win at Market Rasen on his yard debut in August.
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: +348.49pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 26/10/18.