Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections at Doncaster, Leopardstown and Chelmsford on St Leger day on Saturday.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, September 14
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So are you for or against Logician in the William Hill St Leger?
This is the big dilemma for punters up and down the land on Saturday as the final Classic of the season comes under the microscope at Doncaster.
The son of Frankel has been brought along slowly by John Gosden, but he’s quietly accumulated an unbeaten four from four record including that impressive Sky Bet Great Voltigeur win at York last time out.
He does have to prove he stays and he’ll have to settle to get home, but there is likely to be plenty of pace on in this which is in his favour.
All of his potential is factored into even-money quotes, though, and the one for money in the last few days is Sir Dragonet, thanks to plenty of positive vibes from Ballydoyle.
He’s been seemingly aimed at this since his Derby fifth and he’ll have needed his comeback run over an inadequate 10 furlongs last time out, so a bold show looks highly likely as Aidan O’Brien goes in search of a seventh Leger.
Logician and Sir Dragonet clearly set the standard and with just eight runners and the looming threat of a late absentee an each-way play has become less appealing.
Dashing Willoughby was on the radar, as he’s been pointed at this race since his Queen’s Vase victory at Royal Ascot in June – a contest that has become a strong trial for this race since the distance changed to 1m6f.
He’s run well against his elders in two tough assignments since, but he does have a bit to find with the two market leaders and I do think he’d prefer softer ground.
On balance, I’m happy to leave him and the Leger alone, but if you do fancy Dashing Willoughby to run a good race then you’ve got to like BARBADOS at 10/1 (General) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Petingo” Handicap over at Leopardstown off a mark of 103.
O’Brien’s horse has only had the seven runs and he progressed well in the early part of the season, the highlight of which was his half-length second to Dashing Willoughby in the aforementioned Queen’s Vase.
He ran about a bit in the closing stages that day, so the first-time cheekpieces could well help him to improve and he possibly paid for being the most prominent in the chasing group behind runaway leader Severance in the Bahrain Trophy last time out.
Even so, he didn’t run badly in fourth, especially with this handicap assignment in mind, and the form has worked out well with the first, Spanish Mission, the second, Nayef Road, and the fifth, Ranch Hand, all winning subsequently.
Getting 8lb on the weight-for-age scale on Saturday helps his cause and Ryan Moore being on stablemate Eminence, whose form claims aren’t as obvious, has ensured we’re getting a decent price with Seamie Heffernan in the saddle.
Back to Doncaster and the Leger card opens up with the William Hill Portland Handicap over five furlongs and 143 yards with 22 runners taking their chance in the best betting race at the meeting.
There is loads of pace in this spread right across the track with Watchable, Muscika, Konchek, Copper Knight, Dazzling Dan, A Momentofmadness, Teruntum Star, Green Power and Justanotherbottle all likely to be up with the speed.
This could well play into the hands of a hold-up performer and the one to be on each-way is last year’s third WENTWORTH FALLS at 14/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4, General, you might get 16/1 at bet365).
He loves coming through horses and he loves Doncaster, with his career form figures at the track now reading 1-4-4-3-2, all in competitive double-figure fields.
Four of those five runs came off higher handicap marks than the 90 he races off on Saturday, as well, so he’s looking really well treated for a race that plays to his strengths.
The good news is he’s been in just as good form this year as he was last year despite his lower rating, with his seconds at York and Doncaster earlier in the season right up there with his best efforts.
He’s dropped 4lb in his last two runs, but the first of those wasn’t a bad effort in third at Thirsk, while last time things didn’t go right for him from an early stage in what was a failed experiment in a first-time visor.
The cheekpieces are back on for the Portland and his last four runs in the sheepskin, including his third in this race last year, were four of his best efforts.
Drawn well in stall nine, Sam James can plot his way through the field from an early stage on the type of ground this horse thrives on.
He’s a bit of a hostage to fortune, so he has to be an each-way bet, but if gets a bit of luck and a clear passage through then Saturday could well be his day in the sun.
Finally, Owen Burrows’ HABUB (8/1 General) showed enough off his new mark last time to suggest he can strike again and he’s worth siding with in the luxdexo.com Elsenham Handicap (2.45 Chelmsford).
War Front progeny have a fine record at Chelmsford thanks to 13 wins and a 22 per cent strike-rate and Habub’s course and distance success in August is amongst that number.
Up 7lb following that impressive victory, he was a touch too keen back at the same track last time when beaten just under three lengths by Saturday’s favourite War Glory.
A 3lb pull at the weights with that rival can help him reverse the form, while War Glory is drawn out in 12 here with Habub better berthed in stall three.
Rossa Ryan is in great form and if he can get him settled, which he could well do if perennial front-runner Sonja Henie (drawn next door in stall four) tows him into things, then he could find his way back into the winners’ enclosure.
Posted at 1700 BST on 13/09/19.
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: +359.19pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
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