Ben Linfoot seeks out the value in the William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup Handicap on Friday with an unexposed sprinter from Newmarket taken to land the spoils.
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Just 5lb separates the top and bottom weights in the William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup on Friday and in such a tight handicap it could be worth siding with the horse that has the most potential for progression.
That is subjective, of course, but for my money ROYAL RESIDENCE ticks that box the most firmly and at 12/1 (General) he makes plenty of appeal for the third division of this famous handicap.
He’s not the most lightly-raced horse in the field, that’s Roger Varian’s Equitation, but I do think he is the horse most likely to achieve a new career best now he’s faced with a big field, likely strong gallop and, crucially, the softest ground he’s ever faced.
Often a slow starter, he got away with another lethargic exit from the stalls at Carlisle last time thanks to a brisk pace, good to soft conditions and the stiff finish that all contributed to his victory as he came from last to first to gain a maiden success.
That it was his first win in eight goes tells you that he’s been difficult to win with, but we know what he needs now and this race could set up perfectly for him.
There’s plenty of early dash around him with the likes of Adam’s Ale, Kenny The Captain and Dark Defender drawn close by and the soft ground looks highly likely to play to this horse’s strengths.
He clearly appreciated the bit of cut at Carlisle last time but his high knee action suggests he’ll love it even softer and his trainer, James Tate, said after his latest win that “there might be a bit more improvement in him when it gets softer, when it’s close to being abandoned that will be perfect for him.”
It looks like he’s got his conditions, then, and he’s 1lb well in at the weights as well, which isn’t a lot, but every pound counts in a handicap as tight as this one.
I like that he’s an unexposed improver against a field of largely exposed sprinters, and I’m hoping that what he lacks for in experience will be made up by the leap in improvement he could well make now he runs on testing ground in a big 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. Running total: +337.09pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 20/09/18.