Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has two Value Bet selections for day three of the Dante Festival at York as the Yorkshire Cup takes centre stage.
Recommended Bets: Friday, May 17
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It’s been a good couple of days for John Gosden at York and it could get better for him on Friday when Stradivarius begins his five-year-old season in the Group Two Matchbook Yorkshire Cup Stakes.
The son of Sea The Stars was five from five last season, picking up the £1,000,000 Weatherbys Million Stayers’ bonus along the way, something that could be on his agenda again this campaign if he gets the job done on Friday.
The trip of 1m6f on Good to Firm ground around York posed zero problems for him last year as he cruised to an easy success with the handbrake on, although this year’s opposition looks a little tougher with Southern France and Ispolini new challengers to overcome.
He does saddle a 3lb penalty as well, so some punters might be willing to have a go against him, but the vision of him careering away with this race last year lives long in the memory and the odds-on quotes look on the money.
The feature handicap of the day at York is the Matchbook “Best Value” Exchange Handicap at 3.35 and, yet again, Roger Varian has a lightly-raced improver at the top of the market.
It’s a familiar scenario here at York and one we witnessed just the other day when Fujaira Prince was sent off 7/2 favourite for the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap.
He almost won it, too, going down by just a neck to the progressive First Eleven despite a 7lb rise following a good win at Doncaster.
UAE Prince is the Varian-trained favourite on Friday, but the Doncaster race stablemate Fujaira Prince won could be the key form line as the runner-up, MISTIROC, made a highly promising reappearance and he should be backed at 12/1 (Ladbrokes, Paddy Power 1/4 1,2,3).
He was a standing dish in this type of race a few years ago and finished a close-up third off 99 in the John Smith’s Cup at this track, a performance typical of his form at the time.
Off the track for 408 days, he returned in late August last year and was easily beaten three times on the level before an uninspiring hurdling stint in November and December.
Dropped to 92 on the Flat on the basis of his form late last season, he’s well handicapped now and proved as much when second to Fujaira Prince on his reappearance on Town Moor at odds of 40/1.
The most pleasing aspect of the performance was how much speed he showed; he was the last horse off the bridle and did everything nicely, even responding to pressure to ensure second behind a really well-handicapped winner.
There is a question mark over whether he can back that up, but it’s encouraging John Quinn has booked Silvestre De Sousa, a jockey that has a near 50 per cent strike-rate for the Malton handler when it comes to getting his horses in the first three.
There isn’t a great deal of obvious pace in this, so it would be no surprise to see De Sousa race prominently on a horse that used to appreciate such tactics, and he looks a good each-way bet with the more unexposed horses having plenty to prove themselves.
Finally, in the Listed Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes, Archie Watson’s Lady Kermit sets a good standard, but both of her wins have been on the all-weather so she is being asked a new question here.
She might well have the answers but is worth taking on, nonetheless, given we don’t know if she’ll be as good on turf and there are a whole host of speedy types to choose from against her.
The one I think the market has got slightly wrong is David Evans’ GOOD VIBES for Paul & Clare Rooney at 16/1 (General).
Evans is well known for his prowess with early two-year-olds and he won this race in 2014 with Patience Alexander, while his horses, of all ages, are in great nick at the moment.
He actually has a line on Lady Kermit, through Chasanda, who also runs in this race at a big price, but it’s Good Vibes that is very much the stable first string on the back of a couple of really promising efforts so far this season.
On debut at Newmarket she missed the break but ended up being second best behind Godolphin’s Chasing Dreams, finishing almost three lengths clear of Richard Hannon’s Kemble – a filly that won by five lengths at Windsor next time.
Good Vibes herself came out and won next time, too, at Salisbury, this time breaking nicely before racing a bit keenly in a prominent position just off eventual second Exclusively, also trained by Watson, a filly that had won impressively at Redcar from Iva Go (also runs in this).
Exclusively had a penalty at Salisbury, but Good Vibes did very well to reel her in considering her early keenness and the fact that she lugged to her left under pressure in the closing stages.
That just looked like more greenness, so hopefully she’ll run straight and true on Friday with two runs under her belt, but if she doesn’t she shouldn’t have far to go from stall eight towards the far side.
Given the impression she’s made and how her form is working out, she looks a tad overpriced for an in-form handler who knows exactly what is required to win this race.
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: +321.69pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 16/05/19.