Ben Linfoot had a 12/1 winner on Saturday and he has three selections for Epsom on Wednesday for their first meeting of the season.
Recommended Bets: Wednesday April 24
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It’s exactly 80 years since Blue Peter won what is now the Investec Blue Riband Trial before going on to win the Derby itself, he the last horse to land a unique Epsom double.
John Gosden has done his best to boost the profile of this trial in recent years, though, winning it five times in the last decade and two years ago he did so with Cracksman, a horse that was third in the Derby before going on to win two Qipco British Champion Stakes.
We should probably start with Gosden’s trial runner when looking at Wednesday’s Epsom card, then, and this year it’s Turgenev, a horse that was two from four as a juvenile and he ended his campaign with a seventh-placed effort in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.
Gosden won at the Craven Meeting with Kick On, a horse that finished one place in front of Turgenev on Town Moor, but by the time the Qatar Racing horse was winning at Newmarket Turgenev had already blotted his three-year-old copybook at Newbury.
Beaten over 15 lengths in seventh behind King Ottokar in a conditions race, connections will be hoping the soft going that day was to blame and that he can kick-start his season now he faces better ground at Epsom.
He could do, especially considering his trainer’s record in the contest, but this looks a competitive race with Arthur Kitt, Cape Of Good Hope and a host of potential improvers in against him.
Arthur Kitt will have to reverse Royal Lodge form with Cape Of Good Hope if he’s to win, but, while those two set the standard, it’s not unreasonable to expect the unexposed horses to step up and the one I like is Roger Varian’s MACKAAR at 8/1 (General).
He’s one of only two horses in the line-up with a Derby entry (the other being Cape Of Good Hope) and it’s less than a week since Varian unleashed UAE Jewel in the Wood Ditton, saying afterwards ‘you can see by his entries we think he’s quite a good horse’.
This son of Cape Cross is clearly highly thought of, too – he has a Dante entry as well - while he had the option of a Sandown handicap on Friday off a mark of 92.
Getting a look at Epsom looks key in the decision to run him at this meeting and he handled the ups and downs of Lingfield well enough when saddling a penalty and beating Gosden’s Damon Runyon easily a couple of weeks ago.
The time of that race was nothing special, but he did it well and shaped like there was loads more to come. With the Varian stable in great nick and his record at Epsom standing up to close inspection (15 wins from 60 at 25 per cent), it could be worth rolling the dice with Mackaar.
On a really good card there are a few handicaps to get stuck into, too, and I really like the look of William Knight's SOTO SIZZLER at 5/1 (General) in the Investec Corporate & Investment Banking Great Metropolitan Handicap at 3.20.
After he won a Glorious Goodwood handicap off a light weight last August, Knight said he's a horse that "will only get better with time" and the four-year-old made a very promising seasonal reappearance at Kempton on March 30.
Drawn wide for his all-weather debut, he wasn’t beaten far in fifth in a good race that was well advertised by the first and second, Forbidden Planet and Pipes Of Peace, at the weekend.
That looked an excellent launchpad for his campaign and he gets in here only 4lb higher than that win at Goodwood last summer.
Knight also has a good record at Epsom (seven wins from 45 at 16 per cent) and the booking of Oisin Murphy is obviously another positive.
He stays the trip really well, as he showed at Goodwood and he’s run over further, something that is vital around here, especially with a solid gallop looking likely (plenty, including Mount Tahan and Medella De Oro, should see to that).
Finally, it’s worth taking a chance on David O’Meara's MYTHICAL MADNESS (16/1 General) in the Investec City And Surburban Handicap at 3.55.
He broke out of the stalls at Bath on Good Friday and was subsequently withdrawn, but that could be a blessing in disguise for his owner who loves an Epsom runner.
Indeed, Mythical Madness has run here twice before and ran very well on both occasions, finishing second off 95 on Oaks day in 2017 before filling the same position in the same race off 92 a year later.
Both those races were over a mile, but Mythical Madness has won over 10 furlongs a couple of times and only went down by a neck over the trip at Lingfield last time.
Well handicapped off 92 for his return to Epsom, he’s hard to win with, but that is reflected in his price and the return of the visor and Silvestre de Sousa (for only the second time since he rode him at Epsom in 2017) are other factors in his favour.
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: +340.69pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 23/04/19.