Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the value at York and Sandown on Saturday and he has four big-priced fancies for the action.
Recommended Bets: Saturday June 15
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It’s one of the quieter weekends of the Flat season as we gear up for Royal Ascot next week, but there are ample opportunities to boost the betting bank ahead of the Berkshire extravaganza with a whole host of big-field handicaps to get stuck into.
At York such contests are in plentiful supply with five to have a go at and the feature race is the Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap at 3.25 which is usually overflowing with talented three-year-old sprinters.
That looks to be the case again with Dazzling Dan deservedly heading the market after his Newmarket win last time, while Moraawed will be hoping to reverse the form now he’s equipped with first-time blinkers.
It’s ultra-competitive, as you would expect, so I’m going to take two against the field at the prices in a bid to find the winner and at 20/1 (General) there’s plenty to like about William Haggas’ LUXOR.
He finished last in the aforementioned Newmarket race won by Dazzling Dan, but he was far too keen that day and he ruined his chance in the first couple of furlongs.
That’s obviously a concern, but it’s with hope that the run has taken the freshness out of him as he has a fine chance on his two-year-old form, specifically his Newbury nursery win where he hosed up off a mark of 85 in a good field.
That was on good to soft ground and conditions with a bit of dig in them could well be ideal. His dam, Eminently, was a heavy ground winner from a family of soft ground specialists, including Reverence, who won nine times on good to soft or worse including a Nunthorpe.
Drawn in six on the far side, he should have pace to chase with the likes of Dazzling Dan and Blown By Wind making the running, and, as long as he settles under Kerrin McEvoy, getting his eye in for Royal Ascot, he can prove he remains well treated off a mark of 91.
At 28/1 (BetVictor, Coral), in the same race, I also want Archie Watson’s QUIET ENDEAVOUR on side.
Watson’s string are in great form, thanks in part to his superb placing of horses, and I believe we could well see an improvement in this horse’s form now he tackles York for the first time.
The Lambourn trainer has an unbelievable record with his horses by the stallion Society Rock, winning 25 races from 84 goes at 30 per cent thanks to the exploits of this horse, Corinthia Knight, Concello, Fognini and others.
And Society Rock progeny have started to do well at York, winning five races from 25 goes at 20 per cent.
Quiet Endeavour is yet to race here, but he’s unexposed on turf after just four attempts and he’s won at Chester, while his latest run at that course hinted he’s about to hit top gear again.
He just missed the break a little from stall seven on the Roodee and he was always on the back foot after that, but he was travelling okay when short of room in the straight and he wasn’t beaten far at all despite the adversity.
It was this time last year when he found his form, rattling off a four-timer, and when he was in the groove then he was making all in the style of a highly-progressive horse.
Rated 101 last September, he’s back down to 91 now and he looks well handicapped on his best efforts. If he can gain a prominent pitch, either towards the stands’ rail or if drifting towards the centre, he could outrun his odds in a big way.
Earlier on at York ABOVE THE REST looks a little overpriced at 25/1 (General) in his bid for back-to-back wins in the JCB Handicap at 2.25.
David Barron’s horse is Listed class and he’s dangerous in handicap company, as he showed when winning the Bunbury Cup off 101 and this race last year off 104.
He gets in 2lb lower than last year off 102 on Saturday and he was tremendously unlucky at Thirsk last time when getting no sort of run inside the final furlong.
Indeed, he might well have won with a clear passage, but he comes in here with a three-and-a-half length seventh to his name instead.
That performance was better than his prep for this race last year at Chester, so he’s well worth risking at the prices even if he could do with a bit better ground in an ideal world.
He beat Get Knotted a length-and-a-quarter in this race last year and races off just 1lb worse terms. Michael Dods' horse has a big chance on ground he'll love, too, but he's disputing favouritism and Above The Rest is 25/1.
Finally, HISTORY WRITER is worth backing at 10/1 (General) in the Randox Heath Handicap (3.15) over at Sandown.
David Menuisier’s horse has a good record at Sandown, having won at the track off a mark of 85 last season before he acquitted himself quite well over 10 furlongs back at the course a month later.
He went close off 91 over a mile at Sandown this May, too, just losing out in a tight finish before he ran at Epsom on Oaks day where he didn’t look to handle the track.
Easily forgiven that run, he’s of major interest back at Sandown with the softer ground unlikely to hinder his chance judging by his good fourth-placed effort on similar conditions at Newmarket last November.
He still looks well treated off 91, and with Masham Star and other potential pace forcers in there this hold-up merchant could well get the race run to suit.
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: +334.09pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 14/06/19.