Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from Kelso and Newbury on Saturday afternoon as a rare visitor to the Scottish track could have a day to remember.
Recommended Bets: Saturday March 23
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LUCKOFTHEDRAW looks sure to be suited by the step up in trip to 3m2f at Newbury on Saturday in the Insure With Be Wiser Handicap Chase and at 16/1 (General) he looks the value play in the race.
There are more solid options in this, namely Classic Ben, who is up just 4lb for a narrow win at Sandown last time. However, I’m not convinced by that form, certainly not at 4/1, and at shorter odds Strong Pursuit looks an even riskier proposition on his second start after a long break.
It looks a good race to have a bet in then, and Luckofthedraw appeals the most of those at bigger odds despite a below-par performance at Haydock last time.
Pulled-up in that race after looking up against it in the early stages after an iffy jump at the very first fence, he was just never going on his first start after a few months off and I’m happy to draw a line through it on account of rustiness and/or simply being outpaced at the trip.
Before that he had a nice enough profile, admittedly with his best form coming on soft ground, his career-best effort coming at Carlisle over 2m5f in such conditions when second to Didero Vallis in December.
Luckofthedraw gave 5lb to the Venetia Williams horse that day for less than a length defeat and that rival won on his very next start before finishing a good fifth off 135 in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at the Cheltenham Festival last week.
That line of form gives hope that Luckofthedraw is fairly treated off 133 and from that rating I fancy him to run a big race now he’s stepped up in trip significantly to 3m2f having never raced beyond 2m5f.
He shapes like a real stayer, it’s no coincidence his best run came over the furthest he’s ever been at a stiff track like Carlisle and it’s the distance that can help negate any ground worries this weekend.
He’s a half-brother to Dolatulo, a strong stayer that won a handicap (the Rowland Meyrick) off 139 the first time he was stepped up to a trip beyond three miles and he was a good third in a Becher off 146 after that.
Still only six, Luckofthedraw looks the type to ply his trade in staying handicap chases from now on in and the time to catch him could well be his first go at a proper stamina test.
Just over half an hour later Paul Nicholls’ Friend Or Foe dominates the betting for the Be Wiser Insurance Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on his debut in the sphere off an opening mark of 128.
He’s obviously respected given he was fancied by his trainer for the Fred Winter only for him not to make the cut, but the cat is out of the bag now and at 9/4 I’m more than happy to take him on with something each-way.
Step forward BRANDY JAMES, who looks underestimated at 33/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4 Bet Victor, Boylesports).
This horse ran three nice races in novice and maiden company in September and October, finishing close-up behind Chief Justice, Ghost Serge and Idilico in races at Worcester, Perth and Uttoxeter.
He’s weighted to turn around the form with the latter pair on Saturday and he ran a promising race on his return from 134 days off at this track last time in the race won by Christopher Wood.
They went no gallop in that and he was outpaced at a crucial stage, but I liked the way he knuckled down to run on into fourth. Certainly, with that run in mind, the step up in trip to 2m3f looks a good idea.
His trainer, Harry Whittington, has a good record at Newbury, winning seven races from 30 at 23 per cent, and off a low weight it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he outran his huge odds in a big way.
Reveley can steer Saint to victory
Up in Scotland Kelso gets a rare outing in front of the ITV cameras and just as lesser spotted is the presence of James Reveley on a British racetrack.
The top jockey has carved a stellar career for himself in France, where he was champion jump jockey in 2016, but his forays back home are few and far between and he had his first ride of the season in Britain at Musselburgh on Friday.
His second is aboard SAINT LEO in the Bernhard Lighting Rig Handicap Hurdle at 2.25 and odds of 8/1 (General) remain fair about him despite nibbles from bigger prices on Friday afternoon.
Sent off at 3/1 for a handicap chase at Ayr two weeks ago, Saint Leo tanked through that contest and was travelling extremely well when he just didn’t get high enough four out.
The good thing is he got up straight away from that fall and he must be in good health for Sandy Thomson to turn him out again relatively quickly.
Rated 145 over fences when he first came over from France, he’s quickly dropped to 135 and, judging by how he moved through the race at Ayr last time, it’s a mark that could well underestimate him significantly.
He runs off an identical mark of 135 over hurdles, a sphere he was three from five in when racing in France, and Reveley was on board for his first two runs including one of his victories.
It looks significant that he’s been booked for the job and he does have a good record for Thomson, winning four and finishing second six times on his horses from 20 rides.
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: +343.29pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 GMT on 22/03/19.
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