Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets at Ascot and Haydock on Saturday with four horses fancied to go well at big odds.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, November 23
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We’re in for a treat on Saturday with Altior taking on Cyrname at Ascot while Bristol De Mai goes for a third consecutive Betfair Chase at Haydock, but neither of the big two races really appeal from a betting perspective.
With Cyrname odds-against in the market versus Altior I marginally favour him, as he’s proven himself to be a bit of a monster over 2m5f at Ascot and I think Nicky Henderson’s horse might well have to produce a career-best if Paul Nicholls’ star is on his A-game.
The fact both of them come here first time out, though, makes it a tricky conundrum, as Cyrname has disappointed on his seasonal return before while this is very much a stepping stone for Altior to see if he has the stamina for the King George.
With so much at stake I feel Nicholls will have Cyrname much straighter than he’s been on his seasonal return before, but while that train of thought makes me lean towards Team Ditcheat in the big head-to-head, it’s a race I’m happy to sit out and watch.
The same goes for the Betfair Chase, where Lostintranslation looks the main threat to Bristol De Mai’s crown.
At Haydock, Bristol is king, and he could be again, but there’s no doubt that Colin Tizzard’s horse has the potential to dethrone him and it looks another contest to watch and enjoy.
As for bets the best opportunities look to be at Haydock where the ground isn’t as testing as it can be at this time of year, with good to soft given as the official description on Friday afternoon and only light drizzle forecast.
The Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (formerly the Fixed Brush) has often been a stepping stone for good chasers and it still might be even over conventional hurdles, with Umbrigado and Lisnagar Oscar heading the market this year.
Both are highly respected off their current marks but I can see why they’re a little uneasy in the betting as Umbrigado looked a bit flat when last seen at Aintree while Lisnagar Oscar comes into this on the back of a poor effort over fences last time.
I think they’re worth taking on and the one that appeals most at the prices is Harry Whittington’s SIROBBIE at 20/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power).
He simply looks underestimated for a rapidly improving horse that has won four of his last five starts and I was particularly impressed with his last win following a break at Uttoxeter.
All four of his wins have come at that track, which is not too dissimilar to Haydock in configuration, and he finished really strongly to pull almost three lengths clear of Pobbles Bay after being held up out wide throughout.
He was one of 11 horses contesting that race and seven were last-time out winners, so it looks good form and it’s already been boosted by the seventh, Graceful Legend, who won next time out when back over fences at Bangor.
This is another step up and he’s 9lb higher in the weights as well, but he fully deserves a go at a higher level and off a low weight with question marks hanging over the principals he’s worth backing at a big price.
Earlier on at Haydock BOLD PLAN is another that looks worth a wager in the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle (1.50) at 10/1 (Sky Bet, 8/1 General).
Evan Williams’ horse had some really good form as a novice last season and he hinted that he might be well treated off Saturday’s mark of 130 when he beat everything bar Poker Play off that rating in handicap company at Uttoxeter in March.
He could’ve gone novice chasing this campaign on the back of that but he turned out over hurdles at Chepstow last month and it’s interesting that Williams perseveres with him over timber despite being well beaten in 10th.
It looks likely that he needed that run badly and he’s come down a few pounds, too, so it could be worth taking a chance that he comes on significantly for the outing as he looked such a good prospect last season.
He’s a very good jumper and Haydock should be ideal, while Robbie Power is an interesting jockey booking and his quiet riding style could suit this horse very well indeed.
The Haydock card concludes with the Better Value On The Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Chase and Ian Williams’ ZERACHIEL is the one to be on at 10/1 (General).
He won by 15 lengths the last time he tackled this course and distance of 3m4f and, although he’s higher in the weights now, he proved he can be competitive off his current mark when second at Market Rasen last Boxing Day.
He went off the boil after that, but a long break should’ve freshened him up sufficiently and it’s telling that Williams reaches for the first-time visor.
Overall he has an excellent record when utilising this particular headgear first time – he’s won 24 times with it at over 17 per cent – and that win column includes handicap chasers such as Fredo, Red Infantry and King Of Realms.
Over at Ascot I couldn’t find an angle into the Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase, as the interesting horses have all been well found in the market.
The Last Day, Knocknanuss, Capeland and Diego Du Charmil occupy the first four places in the betting and I don’t want to take that quartet on, as I wouldn’t bet on the winner coming from outside those four.
I do think LIL ROCKERFELLER is slightly overpriced at 14/1 (General) in the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle at 2.40, however.
A winner of this race two years ago, he absolutely loves Ascot and has finished in the first three at the track six times from seven goes and has won twice.
He’s only run over hurdles three times in his last 12 runs but he’s clearly better over timber than he is over fences, so it’s encouraging he ran so well in a handicap chase at Chepstow last time when second to subsequent Charlie Hall winner Ballyoptic.
I reckon he’ll improve on that now he tackles hurdles again and he has the beating of If The Cap Fits on these terms on their running at Fontwell in February.
In fact, the only one he should be really scared of is Call Me Lord, who beat him easily at Sandown the last time they met, but Nicky Henderson’s horse is clearly difficult to train having run just twice in the last 20 months.
One of those was a below-par run at Ascot on his only visit to the track so, while he’s a very worthy favourite on his best form, I’m not afraid to have a go at him.
This is the first time Jamie Moore has ridden Lil Rockerfeller, but he could get an easy lead on him and he has a good record for Neil King, winning five times for the trainer.
Posted at 1700 GMT on 22/11/19
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: +383.39pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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