Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on Super Saturday at Ascot, Newmarket and York and he's tipping seven selections at big prices on a cracking day's action.
Recommended Bets: Value Bet, Super Saturday, July 14
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
It’s being branded a ‘Super Saturday’ this weekend with great racing everywhere you look, various Cups are being handed out at York and Newmarket and Ascot offer up a fair card as well.
With 10 races live on various ITV platforms, including five handicaps, we better get straight into the bets and the John Smith’s Cup at York, the 59th running there of, is a good place to start.
Dash Of Spice, 4lb well-in, heads the betting and he’s a worthy favourite such is his rapid rate of progression, but he’s worth taking on down in trip as he’s improved bundles over a mile and a half.
Behind him it’s wide open, but I thought the 14/1 (General) about WHAT’S THE STORY was fair because if he’s going to get 10 furlongs it’ll be on a flat track like York.
He wasn’t beaten far on his only previous try at the trip and he’s certainly bred for it, being a half-brother to Major Mac, while his runs over a mile suggest he could well improve for an extra couple of furlongs.
A setback curtailed his three-year-old career, but he looks to be making up for lost time now and he’s really improved with racing, his last two performances being the best of his career.
A win at Newcastle off a mark of 93 in early June was followed up by a cracking run in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, where he ran a close-up fourth off 98 despite being bumped by Afaak just over a furlong out.
Last year Ballet Concerto followed up in this race after finishing fourth in the Hunt Cup and being left alone by the handicapper and, like him, What’s The Story has escaped punishment by the assessor.
Drawn in stall one, Ebor-winning jockey Callum Rodriguez, who is two from three on the horse, can get a handy position early on with his speed for a mile likely to be crucial as they travel into the home straight.
I do want two strings to my bow in this race and the 20/1 (General) about Dermot Weld’s TANDEM is also worth getting on side.
He seems to have been underestimated in the market, perhaps on account of his age, but he’s no ordinary nine-year-old and is relatively lightly-raced with just 26 starts to his name under both codes in six years.
A total of 18 of those have been on the Flat on turf and he’s won seven of them, so he has a tremendous strike-rate in this discipline and the best of those runs came last time out at Cork.
He was third that day off a mark of 100 over a mile and a half, just being run out of things in the final quarter mile after travelling the best to the 10-furlong point.
The drop in trip looks a positive and this time last year Tandem won a valuable 10-furlong handicap at Leopardstown on fast ground off a mark of 99.
Having had just three runs on the Flat since then, none of which were over a mile and a quarter, he’s done well to get in here off just a 1lb higher mark and Oisin Orr claims another 3lb as well.
His career form figures over 1m2f are 13411 and his career form figures on Good to Firm are 113, so conditions look absolutely perfect for him and a big run is expected.
Earlier on at York COMMANDER COLE looks a good bet at 9/1 (General) in the John Smith’s Racing Handicap (3.10).
He’s not shown an awful lot in two starts after a long absence, but his Thirsk run was his first for 526 days and then last time he finished sixth at Newbury after racing on the wrong part of the track on Lockinge Day where nothing got into things up the stands’ side all afternoon.
The good thing is the handicapper has dropped him 8lb for two runs which means he’s just 3lb higher than when hosing up at Wolverhampton in the November of 2016.
His trainer Saeed bin Suroor has an excellent record at York, a 20 per cent win strike-rate for his career, and after a torrid start to the campaign, he’s now firing in the winners with a 35 per cent strike-rate for the last fortnight.
It looks significant that he’s chosen York for Commander Cole to run off his revised mark, then, and William Cox (five from 12 at 42 per cent for Bin Suroor) takes off 5lb for good measure.
Over at Newmarket the Darley July Cup takes centre stage and I’m not convinced by those at the top of the market.
Blue Point loves Ascot and won over a strongly-run five furlongs last time, while U S Navy Flag drops back from a mile and is without a win in his last five starts.
It looked a weaker renewal of the Commonwealth Cup this year with them all finishing in a bunch and while Dreamfield could well be the one, he looks pretty short considering the leap in class.
The one I want to back is REDKIRK WARRIOR at 11/1 (GENERAL) as he’s a proven top-class performer who has drifted to a very backable price on the back of one bad run.
Connections felt he was never happy at Royal Ascot, changing his legs a few times and running well below form, but he’s had time to acclimatise now and Merchant Navy, who won the Diamond Jubilee, franked his Australian form emphatically.
Redkirk Warrior gave Merchant Navy 12lb and a beating in the Group One Lexus at Flemington in March, which gives us a clear indication of his talent, and he warmed up for this task with a nice piece of work on the July Course the other day.
Regular Aussie jockey Regan Bayliss has been flown in to ride him this time and he’s quite simply a class animal that is available at bigger odds than a handful that haven’t achieved anywhere near as much as he has in his career.
There are some good handicaps to get stuck into at Newmarket as well, including the bet365 Bunbury Cup Handicap at 1.40.
It’s not the greatest renewal of this prestigious handicap but I like the look of Roger Varian’s SPANISH CITY at 12/1 (bet365, 11/1 General).
This son of Exceed And Excel is highly progressive over seven furlongs on fast ground and he didn’t run badly when fourth at York last time.
He just about hit the front two furlongs out before being swamped by Above The Rest and company down the middle of the track and those that challenged down the centre looked to have an advantage.
He’s well worth another chance off his new mark and I like that he sneaks into this off bottom weight with plenty of pace drawn around him.
Varian’s horses are running really well – he’s operating at a 29 per cent strike-rate for July – and Spanish City could well land him another nice pot here under favourable conditions.
Also at Newmarket it could be worth chancing Richard Fahey’s CLUBBABLE (14/1 Ladbrokes, 12/1 General) in the bet365 Mile Handicap at 3.20.
She’s got Curiosity to beat in this as he only went up 3lb for running a fine second in the Britannia, but he’s been well found in the market and Clubbable looks a tad underestimated considering the improvement she could find up in trip.
A winner in handicaps off marks of 81 and 85 already this year, she improved again when running second to stablemate Dance Diva at Carlisle where she might’ve won in another 50 yards.
It’s not the first time she’s hinted a mile will bring out the best in her and she’s a half-sister to 10-furlong winner Visitant, while her dam’s best effort came over that trip as well.
Her handicap form is good as Zap, who she beat at York in May, won a handicap at Newmarket on Friday, while Crossing The Line, who she beat at Chelmsford, came out and won at Chester at the end of June.
A career-best will be required off her new mark of 94, but the trip can help her produce just that and at 14/1 she’s worth backing.
Finally, at Ascot, the afternoon’s action kicks off with the 20-runner Bet With Ascot Heritage Handicap sprint over five furlongs and POLYBIUS looks the bet in this at 12/1 (General).
He’s been nibbled at in the market on Friday afternoon but there’s still some juice in his price yet as he looks primed and ready to record his first victory in three years.
Second in this very race last year off a 6lb lower mark when finding a little trouble in-running, that was further evidence that he loves Ascot and this is the first time he’s been back since.
An unsuccessful stint in Meydan saw his mark slide down to one in the 90s and he ran a perfectly fair race at Epsom on his first start for 138 days last time, as he was a bit keen and didn’t seem to handle the track too well.
He was only beaten just over two lengths despite that, though, and, back at Ascot, he’s handicapped to win with Oisin Murphy (form figures of 342 on the horse) a positive jockey booking.
Posted at 1700 BST on 13/07/18.
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: +353.34pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).