Ben Linfoot seeks out the value in the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket while he has two bets in handicaps up at Haydock on a great day's action.
Recommended Bets: Value Bet, Sept 29
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
There are few finer sights for fans of a big-field handicap on the Flat than the 35 Cambridgeshire runners roaring down the Rowley Mile at Newmarket on the final weekend in September.
And for punters there are few better races for an each-way bet with Sky Bet and the race sponsors, bet365, paying out on eight places in the race while others go seven, six and five.
It’s a dastardly puzzle, of course, so any help from enhanced place terms is a no brainer, and my shortlist wasn’t so short with at least six on the radar for the first leg of the autumn double.
However, there were none that stood out more in the market than Simon Crisford’s MORDIN, 20/1 at bet365 (eight places), William Hill (seven places) and that price generally with various place terms on offer.
It’s a big weekend for Crisford, with his unbeaten Jash putting that record on the line in the Middle Park, but his stable are in great nick thanks to eight winners from 24 runners at 33 per cent in the last fortnight.
So hopes are high that Mordin will be primed and ready for this test, on the back of his first run in two months last time out at Sandown where he was just outpointed by the in-form Majboor in the closing stages.
He’s 5lb well-in on the back of that run, so he’s clearly got a fine chance from a handicapping point of view, while the nature of this race, a proper end-to-end gallop, looks sure to suit.
That Sandown effort was further evidence that headgear could help this horse massively, as well, so it’s no surprise to see Crisford reach for the cheekpieces.
Four times now he has finished second when sent off favourite and he’s not been beaten far in any of those runs. Watching back all of those races you have to feel that a pair of cheekpieces will help him with his application in the closing stages.
Crisford has a good record when using all types of headgear for the first time and he is three from 10 when first utilising cheekpieces, the most recent winning evidence coming when Sporting Chance won in that headgear in France two weeks ago.
There’s every reason to believe they will eke out at least some improvement in him, and he’s open to significant progression anyway given he’s so lightly-raced after just eight career starts.
Crisford has already proven this season he can ready one for a big handicap pot when Ostilio ran away with the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot and, in Mordin, he also looks to have a good chance of adding Cambridgeshire glory to his C.V.
There are also a couple of handicaps over at Haydock on ITV4 and I like the look of the 11/1 (General) about ALEMARATALYOUM in the Smarkets Betting Exchange Handicap at 2.05.
He loves going around a bend left-handed with his best form coming at Chepstow, Ayr and at Haydock, his course and distance victory in August a big positive for his chances on Saturday.
He cruised through that race, found trouble in-running, yet still got into a winning position under hands and heels riding before finding enough under pressure to assert in the closing stages.
The form of that race is good as the second, War Glory, came out and won at Kempton, while the third, Mountain Angel, has finished a close second twice in good races at Sandown and Newbury.
An experiment over 10 furlongs at York didn’t work for Alemaratalyoum after that, but he bounced back at Ayr last week with a really good run when second to Hajjam back over a mile.
He traded at 1.1 in-running on Betfair that day, as he travelled really strongly and looked set for an easy win only to be collared by Hajjam who built up plenty of momentum after being under the pump from some way out.
A 3lb rise for that performance is fair, as I think he would’ve won if something had given him a tow into the race for longer, and he should get a lead into this with Gurkha Friend and M C Muldoon in opposition.
The drying ground is no concern as he’s versatile when it comes to underfoot conditions, and with David Egan taking over in the saddle he’s must-bet material at double-figure prices.
Finally, AELOUS, a horse with good Haydock form in his locker, looks underestimated in the Smarkets Handicap (3.15) at 25/1 (General).
Campaigned at group level for much of his career, he’s only fairly recently ventured into handicaps but looks potentially dangerous off 99 on Saturday judging by last year’s Stewards’ Cup second (off 103) and his seasonal reappearance win at Newmarket (off 100).
First-time blinkers lit him up a bit at Doncaster last time, but he ran much better than his six-length sixth suggests as he traded at just over 2/1 in-running when hitting the front only for him to get swamped in the closing stages over the extended six furlongs.
On that evidence he’s well worth a crack at five furlongs for the first time in over two years and it’s not his only recent run where he’s shaped as though a crack at the minimum distance would do him good.
He does have to bounce back from some below-par efforts, which explains his price, but that Doncaster run was a definite step in the right direction and he’s interesting enough at 25s with the drop in trip in mind.
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: +332.09pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 28/09/18.