Ben Linfoot has had 20/1 and 7/1 winners the last two Saturdays in his Value Bet column - don't miss this week's offerings for the Imperial Cup card at Sandown.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, March 9
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
*Solomon Grey is a non runner
Call Me Lord has plenty in his favour in the Matchbook Imperial Cup at Sandown on Saturday with ground conditions ideal at a track he loves, while his presence keeps four rivals out of the handicap.
The dilemma is - are odds of 8/1 big enough to strike a bet considering he will have to give at least a stone and more to every rival in this field?
I think he’ll make a good fist of it, but I do think he’s vulnerable to one or two up-and-coming opponents and the one that makes most appeal is Dan Skelton’s SOLOMON GREY at 12/1 (General).
This horse’s form improved dramatically last time for the application of a tongue-tie, which suggests a breathing issue, and not the trip, was to blame for his below-par reappearance at Doncaster.
Certainly, the way he moved through the Lanzarote last time suggests he has the pace to cope with the drop in distance back to two miles and judging by how testing the ground looked at Sandown on Friday his proven stamina could be a useful tool.
He’s certainly adept in softer conditions having chased home If The Cap Fits in such ground as a novice, while his last win, at Market Rasen, also came on soft ground.
The one thing that might put you off is his 6lb rise in the weights for his defeat to Big Time Dancer last time out, but, to be honest, I felt he fully deserved the hike and, still lightly raced, he’s one with the potential to rank even higher.
That Lanzarote form looks good, as the third, Lord Napier, beaten two lengths by Solomon Grey, came out next time and won by nine lengths here at Sandown in the Heroes Handicap Hurdle – and he was 4lb higher than when finishing third at Kempton.
Harry Skelton takes over in the saddle for the first time since he won on the horse at Market Rasen and he could well deliver another big handicap hurdle pot for brother Dan.
Earlier on at Sandown it’s the EBF Matchbook VIP National Hunt Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final and this race traditionally throws up a shock.
In the last eight years no horse has won at odds shorter than 8/1 and there have been 12/1, 14/1 and 20/1 winners in that timeframe, too, so it can be a tough puzzle to work out.
One For Rosie and Russian Hawk look short enough considering they’re not that far ahead of these on the formbook, but I’m not surprised there was money for Third Wind on Friday afternoon.
He makes his handicap debut for Hughie Morrison and he’s proven in testing ground, but now he’s been backed into 8s I do feel I’ve missed the boat somewhat.
One that does have a bit of juice in his price is Tim Vaughan’s TRIXSTER and at 20/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4 General - plenty of bookies are going five places) he’s worth backing in a race that could very much play to his strengths.
A second-season novice, he’s put his experience to good use this campaign, not finishing out of the first two in five starts including last time when he was second to Worthy Farm at Ascot.
That looked a competitive race and, for my money, is one of the strongest pieces of form in this line-up, while his proximity to the winner at the line (just half-a-length) was remarkable considering the enthusiasm he raced with throughout.
He was too keen really, but it was a sign of his improvement this season that he finished well despite that, a key aspect of his performance his very good jumping that allowed him to maintain a prominent position throughout.
Dropping slightly in trip looks ideal here, as it could help him settle better. He should love conditions, as well, as he’s won in Chepstow heavy and, though he might be a future three-mile chaser, his stamina could also be a potent weapon in this contest.
Up 4lb for that Ascot second last time, he’s on an upward curve and he gets on well with 7lb claimer Charlie Price.
Finally, it’s the Matchbook ‘Best Value Exchange’ Handicap Chase at 3.35 and Ami Desbois has a good chance here after running so well at the track last time in a similar contest.
He is up 4lb, though, and he’s half the price he was last time as well, so the value could lie with last year’s runner-up HORATIO HORNBLOWER (12/1 General) for Nick Williams and Sam Twiston-Davies.
Second to Sandown specialist Pete The Feat in this race last season off a mark of 121, he’s 4lb lower on Saturday after sliding down the handicap scale that much in three runs this season.
The middle of those outings wasn’t bad, though, as he finished third to Mister Malarky and Carlos Du Fruitier, two horses who have franked that Newbury form with subsequent victories.
Last time he unseated his rider when a beaten fourth two out, but that was on good ground, just like his two other runs this season, and the softer conditions this weekend are right up his street.
The last time he dropped to 117 he won a three-mile handicap chase in soft ground under Twiston-Davies, so here’s hoping lightning strikes twice for the 11-year-old.
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: +362.49pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 GMT on 08/03/19.
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