Ben Linfoot seeks out the value at Ascot and Haydock on Saturday with bets in the rearranged Betfair Hurdle and the Grand National Trial.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, February 16
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A fortnight with no UK racing on a Saturday seems a hell of a long time but we’re back with a bang this weekend.
The rearranged Denman Chase and Betfair Hurdle slot nicely into the Betfair Ascot Chase card and it means Paul Nicholls can run a trio of his stable stars with Clan Des Obeaux, Politologue and Cyrname all in action.
The latter pair may have to play second fiddle to Waiting Patiently in the Grade One, but Clan Des Obeaux has a lovely opportunity to supplement his King George win in the Denman Chase and he might not be the sole winner from Ditcheat on the afternoon.
Getaway Trump is the stable’s big hope in the Betfair Hurdle and he’s one of a handful of young novices that historically have done so well in this race.
Al Dancer and Didtheyleaveuoutto are two of the others, but that trio dominate the market and I can’t see any juice in their current odds.
The one I like against them is another of Nicholls’, though, MONT DES AVALOIRS, and at 12/1 (bet365, 10/1 General) he’s worth a bet.
He’s in his second season over hurdles following an aborted chasing campaign, but he was a good novice last year, finishing third in the Tolworth in between a couple of wins, and he finished his season with a sound fourth off a big weight in the Novices’ Championship Final at Sandown.
A run over fences in October kicked off his season this time around, but the form to judge him on for this race is his third in the Gerry Feilden at Newbury on December 1.
He finished ahead of subsequent dual winner Ballymoy in that race and a short head behind Lisp - a rival he gets a 5lb pull at the weights with on Saturday.
The winner of the Gerry Feilden, Global Citizen, has won again since, too, so it looks good form, and Lisp bolstered it himself when he was second in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot in December.
Mont Des Avaloirs was sent off the 5/1 favourite for that race, but it might’ve come too quickly for him as he raced keenly in a prominent position and his goose was cooked at the top of the home straight.
He’s miles better than that, and if Lorcan Williams can get him settled, enabling him to execute more patient tactics, then Mont Des Avaloirs can deliver on the glimpses of promise he’s shown throughout his career.
Nicholls, Williams and owner Johnny de Le Hey combine earlier on with ART MAURESQUE in the Keltbray Swinley Chase, as well, and at 9/1 (Coral, 8/1 General) he’s also worth getting on side.
The improving Reikers Island deserves to head the betting as he’s at the right end of the weights for an improving horse, but the presence of him, Black Corton and Coneygree make Art Mauresque an attractive price.
He ran okay in the Sky Bet Chase last time, but it’s his form at Ascot earlier in the season that marks him out as a standout bet at 9/1 in this.
A half-length second to Traffic Fluide at Ascot off just a 2lb lower mark in the Sodexo Gold Cup in November, that form has worked out well with the third, Go Conquer, winning the Sky Bet Chase, while the fourth, stablemate Adrien Du Pont, won at Kempton over Christmas.
That is some rock solid course and distance form and a replication of that effort would make him hard to beat. Williams’ 5lb claim helps, as does the drying ground, so plenty is in place for him as he bids to win his first race for over two years.
Over at Haydock the William Hill Grand National Trial takes centre stage and I like the look of David Pipe’s VIEUX LION ROUGE in this at 12/1 (General).
Pipe and the owners had the option of running Tommy Whittle winner Daklondike in this, but they’ve plumped for Vieux Lion Rouge which gives hope that he’s in good nick following his Welsh Marathon run on December 27 in which he was pulled up.
He went off way too quick that day in a pair of blinkers, so it was no surprise that he was legless in the closing stages, but the promise of his reappearance run in the Becher Chase should not be forgotten and he has some superb form at Haydock.
A winner of this very race two years ago off an identical mark of 146, his only other run over fences at this track also resulted in victory when he beat Sun Cloud by four lengths in the November of 2015.
So he likes the course, is well-handicapped on his best form and he has a good recent run under his belt, too, while Pipe has discarded the blinkers and replaced them with the cheekpieces that he has run so well in many times before.
His price is a big one because of a) that PU run last time out and b) the presence of stablemate Ramses De Teilee at the top of the market.
He’s a nice horse with some good form to his name, but he has gone up 5lb for his second in the Welsh National and all of his best races have been run at Chepstow.
You could say the same thing about Vieux Lion Rouge and Haydock. And at twice the price of his stablemate, I’d rather back the Tom Scudamore-ridden 10-year-old to deliver again in a race that very much plays to his strengths.
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: +343.49pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 GMT on 15/02/19.
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