Our racing expert Ben Linfoot had a 7/1 winner on Thursday and he has three bets for Chester Cup day as the popular May Meeting comes to a close.
Recommended Bets: Chester May Meeting, Day Three
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
It’s amazing to think Mark Johnston has never won the Sportpesa Chester Cup given his record with staying handicappers – and ones that like to front run as well – but he could well break his duck in the race this year.
A four-strong team from Middleham is headed by Austrian School and he has superb claims following a decisive six-length victory at Musselburgh last time.
That sees him 5lb ahead of the handicapper on Friday despite saddling a 3lb penalty and he’s drawn well in five, too, so he should be able to gain a good track position.
With the Musselburgh form already beginning to work out well – stablemates Making Miracles and Lucky Deal were over seven lengths behind him in Scotland but they finished first and second last time at Ripon – it’s very difficult to pick holes in his chance.
He’s won at Chester before, so we can’t beat him with that stick, but this will be softer ground than he’s used to, and, added to the longest trip he’s ever faced there are a couple of unknown factors with him.
Granted, they could well be a positive and he could hose up like Magic Circle in this race last year, but at 9/2 he’s short enough and I’d rather have a go at him with an each-way selection.
Shabeeb is interesting on his first start for Ian Williams, but I’m worried about the ground for him, while Cleonte looks high enough in the weights and Low Sun has a very tough task drawn out wide in 17.
The one I keep coming back to is Hughie Morrison’s FUN MAC who definitely looks an each-way bet at 14/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power, Unibet 1/4 1,2,3,4) given his record fresh in this race over the last few years.
Two years ago he was a length third to Montaly off 102 from stall 13 and then last year he was six lengths second to Magic Circle off 101 from stall five, both appearances his first of those particular seasons.
He makes his first start of the campaign here again this time around and again he’s drawn nicely in stall four, so there’s every chance Charlie Bennett can quickly attain a prominent position just off the leaders.
The best thing is this year he’s handicapped to run a massive race off a mark of 93 having dropped 9lb in the weights in his last four runs last season.
They obviously weren’t encouraging performances, but they came at the end of the season and Morrison was experimenting with various headgear, or lack of, combinations.
Given Morrison has sweetened him up for Chester the past couple of years it’s worth chancing he can do once again, especially now he gets to tackle a test we know he thrives at off a reduced mark.
Now certainly looks the time to catch him, as not only as he run well in this race first time out the last few years he has won on his seasonal reappearance a couple of times as well.
Earlier on, the best bet on the card could well be FRANKUUS in the Boodles Diamond Handicap (3.00) at 13/2 (bet365, Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power).
This grey son of – you guessed it – Frankel was rated 112 when with Mark Johnston and he was at his very best when dominating at left-handed Haydock when there was juice in the ground.
Hardly seen last year, he returned in November in the care of David O’Meara and dropped 9lb in two runs as the stable were getting to know their new recruit after a period of time off.
We needed to see something encouraging before backing him again and we certainly saw it at Ripon last time, where the returning blinkers perked him up considerably as he ran a fine race in second from the front end.
The third horse from that contest, Claire Underwood, has subsequently franked the form with a win at Musselburgh and connections of Frankuus can count themselves fortunate that he was left on a mark of 100 following the run.
Drawn beautifully in stall two, Danny Tudhope can attack from his starting position knowing full well his horse stays further and a bold bid is expected.
The danger is Epaulement, as he’s in good form, is also well drawn and he’s likely to be prominent as well. He is shorter in the betting, though, and I’m not sure he’s as well handicapped as the selection.
Finally, there’s plenty to like about BARAWEEZ at 12/1 (Ladbrokes) in the opening Liverpool Gin Earl Grosvenor Handicap at 1.50.
Brian Ellison’s charge simply loves a tight, turning track as his good form at both Galway and Chester show, and his victories at this course have come off the back of six and nine day breaks.
It’s significant, then, that he arrives here five days after his seasonal reappearance in the Thirsk Hunt Cup, a run that should’ve put him spot on for his first main target of the season.
His Chester victories have come off marks of 89 and 93, including in this race last year, so he’s well treated off 91 on those pieces of form, and he’s well drawn in stall three as well.
Both of his Chester wins have come having being held up off the pace from low draws, a tactic fraught with danger around here, and one that looks dependent on there being a strong gallop.
The good thing here is there looks to be loads of pace on with Sha La La La Lee, Ptarmigan Ridge, Calder Prince, Dragons Tail, Arcanada and Love Dreams in the field, even if the latter horse will struggle to get across from stall 16.
Things could be set up nicely for Baraweez, though, and at 12/1 it’s worth chancing he gets another dream run through the field.
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: +335.69pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 09/05/19.