Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has had 10/1, 12/1, 16/1 and 18/1 Value Bet winners in recent weeks - don't miss his advice for Cheltenham on Saturday.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, November 16
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The good news is it looks like the last two days of the November meeting at Cheltenham have been saved, but with the ground heavy the feature BetVictor Gold Cup is going to have a field strung out like the washing and plenty simply won’t be able to handle conditions.
With Saint Calvados not running we have a 152-rated top weight in Us And Them, an interesting runner with a touch a class thanks to four runner-up finishes in Grade Ones as a novice last season, but he does have his stamina to prove.
Slate House and Siruh Du Lac should have no trouble with the ground, but they do look vulnerable to a better-handicapped rival and the same can be said of Spiritofthegames, who hardly looks thrown in off 150.
Count Meribel is dead interesting, as he won a good novice chase at this meeting last year despite a huge blunder two out, and his good run behind Lostintranslation at Carlisle suggests he’s trained on nicely.
The only issue I have with him is that he’s been well found in the market already at 10/1 and I’m drawn to a cluster of horses trading at bigger prices that will handle conditions and are interesting on bits and pieces of form.
Springtown Lake, Belami Des Pictons, Happy Diva and Splash Of Ginge are all in that category, but the one I want to back above all others is EAMON AN CNOIC at 16/1 (General).
Trainer David Pipe has a good record in handicaps at this meeting and this horse’s owners, The Angove Family, fly over from America for this weekend (they also have Poker Play in the 1.15, who is interesting himself), so you can be sure Eamon An Cnoic will be in fine fettle for this assignment.
He usually is primed for Cheltenham, as he was fifth in this race last year on good ground at 50/1 and he ran a belter at the Festival after that, finishing a three-and-a-half length fourth to Siruh Du Lac in the Brown Advisory on good to soft.
An 8lb pull at the weights can help him reverse the form with Siruh Du Lac, but the key factor for him could well be the heavy ground as he loves it when the mud is flying.
The son of Westerner is two from four when the ground has been riding heavy, and these demanding conditions could really help him in the closing stages as he usually travels well at Cheltenham before being tapped for toe.
Off 138 he looks fairly handicapped on the pick of his form – his two good Cheltenham runs last season came off 135 and 137 – while his two poor runs at the end of last season are easily forgiven as they were both over two miles.
We know he goes well fresh as he’s won four times off 50-plus day breaks before, so now could be the time to catch him for several reasons. The 16/1 available looks more than fair.
Earlier on the card ACHILLE looks worth backing at 10/1 (bet365, Sky Bet) in the BetVictor Smartcards Handicap Chase (1.50).
Venetia Williams is in good form and her first-time out handicappers in November go well, as she’s won 72 from 408 at 17.65 per cent (+116.48 to level stakes at SP) with handicappers reappearing in this month off a 150-day break or more.
Achille has been off 223 days, so it’s worth taking his fitness on trust, as he loves testing ground having won twice on soft last season at Sandown and Ffos Las.
His Ffos Las win has worked out really well, as runner-up Ami Desbois filled the same position at Uttoxeter on his next start, while the fifth and seventh home, Horatio Hornblower and Lord Bryan, both won next time out.
Achille's a front-runner and he could get the run of things in this small field, and he still looks fairly handicapped off 133 with his last win coming off a 4lb lower mark.
It could be a good day for Venetia and I want to be with her EMINENT POET in the Spinal Injuries Association Big Buck’s Handicap Hurdle at 11/1 (Ladbrokes) as well.
This horse looks the biggest mud lover of those on show on Saturday given he’s won seven times on heavy ground and we know he goes well fresh as he was a six-length winner on his seasonal debut at Sandown last year.
He’s dropped 3lb for his last couple of runs on quicker conditions and also looks fairly treated off 140, especially as that good Sandown win came off just a 5lb lower mark.
He usually sits prominently just off the leaders and that strategy could work well in Saturday’s conditions, so the general 12/1 looks worth getting on side.
I also can’t resist backing AS DE MEE in the same race at 20/1 (General).
Paul Nicholls said earlier in the week in his Racing Post stable tour that he’d definitely need the run this weekend after a long absence, but those comments look to be fully factored into his huge odds.
We have to acknowledge that fitness could well be a factor here, but I’m prepared to take a risk on that at the prices as he’s thrown in on his chasing form.
Rated at a high of 149 over fences, he races off 139 here and it’s his first start over hurdles since running in a Grade One at Aintree four years ago.
He’s three times a winner on soft or heavy ground and his class could see him go well for an awful long way in a race half of his owners, the Stewart Family, are sponsoring.
Posted at 1700 BST on 15/11/19
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: +388.39pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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