Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on the Coral-Eclipse card at Sandown on Saturday as well as the Old Newton Cup.
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Her return to the track was expected to be earlier in the season but here she is, Enable, starting the journey for a potentially third and historic Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over 10 furlongs at Sandown in the Coral-Eclipse on Saturday.
Odds-on quotes are justified considering her superiority over this weekend’s opponents on all known form, but she’s still there to be taken on dropping in trip to a mile and a quarter on her first run for 245 days.
She looks a pure 1m4f horse and it's not far fetched to envisage a scenario where she is outpaced over 10 furlongs on her return given her whole five-year-old campaign is centred around one autumnal day in Paris.
Her main market rival, Magical, has an old score to settle after their Breeders' Cup bust-up last November, but she too looks vulnerable at this trip given she appeared to lack a gear over the distance in the Prince of Wales's Stakes last time.
It looks a race to have a go at, then, and the sole three-year-old, Telecaster, is unlikely to be the answer, not just on his poor run in the Derby but when considering the collective talents of his generation as well.
Considering all of the above, it could well be left to the joint-leading trainer in this race, Sir Michael Stoute, once again, the Freemason Lodge handler going for a record seventh Eclipse victory that would see him earn the aforementioned title on his own.
He has two contenders and while the younger of the pair, Regal Reality, is interesting enough, he can misbehave in the preliminaries and stablemate MUSTASHRY (16/1 General) gave him half a stone and a five-length beating the last time they met in the Joel Stakes last September.
Mustashry has to prove himself at the trip at this level, but he has won on his sole start over 10 furlongs and that did come in a Group Three here at Sandown last July, where he defied a 280-day break to win quite snugly.
Since then his career has taken off, with the four best performances of his life coming subsequently, including in that Joel Stakes and the Group One Lockinge in May where he registered his first top-level success.
Five of the horses that were behind him at Newbury reversed the form in the Queen Anne next time, so, there was clearly nothing wrong with the form of the Lockinge, even if Mustashry was a little below-par at the Royal meeting.
He was only beaten three-and-a-half lengths, though, he didn’t look to be ideally positioned and he received a bump when scrimmaging for daylight at the business end. He ran on well at the finish, too, suggesting a step up in trip might well be the answer.
I like him over 10 furlongs on Saturday, not only because of the way he shaped at Ascot last time but because his mile speed could be a handy weapon against Enable and Magical, two horses who look better over further.
At 16/1 he looks underestimated, so he's worth a small wager just in case Enable isn't at her best first time out over this distance.
Earlier on at Sandown the Coral Challenge (2.25) is a tricky race to try and work out with 14 going to post in a tight handicap, but a predicted strong pace could play right into the hands of ESCOBAR (16/1 General).
Zhui Feng, Mojito, Via Serendipity, Qaroun and Salute The Soldier all like to be prominent, so a strong gallop looks likely and that scenario on Good to Firm ground is ideal for Escobar who is beginning to look well treated now.
He's on an 11-race losing streak, but the last time he got his head in front was off a good gallop on conditions like these off a mark of 95 – and he won easily by two lengths at Haydock before running under a penalty in last year's Hunt Cup.
This is the first time he has run off a mark in the 90s since then and off 98 he’s dangerous if everything falls his way.
Crucially, he likes Sandown, too. A neck second here in the 2017 Heron Stakes when with Hugo Palmer, he would’ve gone one better than that in this race last year off a mark of 102 if he hadn’t bumped into the well-punted and well-treated Tigre Du Terre.
Off a 4lb lower mark he’s of interest this time around at big odds, as he shaped better than the bare result at York last time out and Andrea Atzeni takes over in the saddle as well.
Finally, over at Haydock it’s the Old Newton Cup (3.15) and in a really competitive renewal I like the look of EPAULEMENT at 20/1 (General 1/5 1,2,3,4,5) each-way.
First Eleven is the class act in this and Al Muffrih is unexposed and progressive, but the selection had excuses when beaten by the latter at Redcar last time and is worth chancing to reverse the form.
A 6lb pull at the weights will help, but more importantly he’s better drawn to attack from the front end in stall four, something that wasn’t the case last time out when he was drawn widest of all in 14.
He had to use up plenty of petrol to get across and he didn’t manage to get the lead as Sands Chorus took them along from stall one. Still, he travelled well and looked to be caught a bit flat-footed before Richard Kingscote allowed him to come home in his own time once all chance had gone.
I think he’s well worth forgiving that run and on his earlier form this season, at Ripon and Chester, he’s interesting, as he looked a much improved animal at four and stepping back up to 1m4f could be the catalyst for further improvement, too.
He’s run well over similar trips twice before and he’s got winning form at Haydock, as well, so, from a prominent pitch, he looks a good each-way wager for the Dascombe-Kingscote team that continue to do so well at this track (78 wins from 390 runs together at Haydock at 20 per cent).
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: +378.19pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 05/07/19.