Ben Linfoot followed up 14/1 and 18/1 winners on Wednesday with a 10/1 winner on Thursday - don't miss his Value Bet selections for Royal Ascot Friday.
Recommended Bets: Royal Ascot, Day Four
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Royal Ascot has turned into the Frankie Dettori show but it’s been a good week as usual for Aidan O’Brien as well, with four winners on the first three days and he could be in for a very good Friday with three short-priced favourites dominating the betting markets.
Hermosa goes for glory in the Coronation Stakes with two Guineas victories under her belt, while Ten Sovereigns has the Commonwealth Cup in his sights and Japan is the clear form pick in the King Edward VII Stakes.
Jubiloso poses a new threat to Hermosa in the Coronation Stakes, but O’Brien’s filly sets a lofty standard and I don’t want to take her on.
The same cannot be said for Japan in the King Edward VII Stakes at 3.05. He too sets the standard, but he hasn’t won in two starts this season and he had a tough race in the Derby 20 days ago.
We’ve seen horses make the necessary improvement in this race before – think Eagle Top in 2014 who was rated 92 when he got the better of the 111-rated Adelaide – and it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if something progressed past the favourite.
There are plenty of options at bigger odds, but I can’t help but think O’Brien’s second string JACK YEATS has been seriously overlooked at 40/1 (General 1/5 1,2,3).
He’s impeccably bred, as you would expect, being by Galileo out of a mare who is a half-sister to Hermosa and Hydrangea, the latter’s crowning glory coming at this track when she won the Group One Fillies & Mares on soft ground on Champions Day in 2017.
Jack Yeats started life in Madhmoon’s maiden at Leopardstown last August, but he wasn’t seen again until going down by a nose to Joseph O’Brien’s Buckhurst at the same track in April.
That was over a mile on soft ground and Jack Yeats looked to have the race in the bag before he was reeled in right on the line.
Buckhurst has franked the form subsequently, running fifth in the Derrinstown before finishing a half-length second to Constantinople in the Group Three Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh last time.
He’s rated 104 after that and looks a fair enough barometer for Jack Yeats’ current level of ability, while the selection himself improved on his Leopardstown run when winning over 10 furlongs at Naas last time.
When Hazran challenged him that day he found plenty to win easily, shaping as though a further step up to 1m4f would be well within his compass.
I’m not sure he has as much to find as the official ratings suggest and at 40s he’s worth backing.
The Commonwealth Cup field is a tad disappointing and Ten Sovereigns looks to have an excellent chance considering how he shaped in the 2000 Guineas.
Ahead of his group with two furlongs to go, his stamina didn’t seem to last and he sets the standard without a doubt.
I’m not too sure about the strength in depth in behind him, though, with Jash not having to run to his two-year-old form to win at Newmarket, while Hello Youmzain took advantage of a below-par Calyx at Haydock.
With nine going to post there’s room for an each-way bet at a big price and I’m going to have a small wager on Clive Cox’s KONCHEK at 66/1 (bet365, William Hill 1/5 1,2,3).
There isn’t a better trainer of sprinters than Cox for my money and two of this horse’s best pieces of form came at this track; when he was a staying on fifth in last year’s Norfolk and when he was third behind Calyx in the Pavilion Stakes on his seasonal reappearance.
He was also second in last year’s July Stakes to Advertise, beaten two lengths, and he’s from a family that improve with age, the type of sprinter Cox excels with time and time again.
Last time out he ran a shocker at Newbury, but that clearly wasn’t his running and the one horse that finished behind him that day, Kurious, came out and won the Scurry Stakes at Sandown on her next start.
Perhaps it came too soon after Ascot, but this race will have been his early-season target and he’s had plenty of time to get over those two prep runs in May.
Cox reaches for the first-time cheekpieces, too, which could be the catalyst for major improvement. All four of his siblings won in cheekpieces and half-brothers Levitate and Soar Above won when they were applied for the first time.
His sire Lethal Force finished fourth in the Jersey in first-time cheekpieces and won in first-time blinkers, too, so Cox will have been waiting for the right time to unleash the sheepskin.
He’s got plenty to find, granted, but I’m not sure this race is as deep as it first appears and it wouldn’t surprise me if Konchek were to find enough improvement to get involved in the battle for places.
In the Sandringham there are a whole host of unexposed fillies to choose from but I particularly like the look of Roger Varian’s INVITATIONAL at 12/1 (General).
The daughter of Poet’s Voice has been saved for this since earning a handicap mark when winning at Wolverhampton in April and subsequent events show that form to be extremely strong.
Invitational won easily, by almost three lengths, despite hanging left in the straight and the second horse, Astrologer, has won twice since and is now rated 87, while the third horse, Vivionn, has also won twice since and is now rated 91.
Off 92 Invitational looks very well handicapped, then, and there’s no reason why she won’t be just as effective on turf. She’s drawn around the pace in 19 and with so much untapped potential to unlock I can’t resist her at 12s.
Finally, lightning could well strike twice for Charlie Appleby in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes and his SECRET ADVISOR is worth backing at 16/1 (Ladbrokes, Coral).
Two years ago Appleby won this race with Rare Rhythm, a horse that was running for the first time off a long lay-off (371 days) and for the first time since being gelded.
This time around he runs Secret Advisor, a horse that is running for the first time off a long lay-off (664 days) and for the first time since being gelded.
Extremely lightly raced after just six starts at three-years-old, he was just over two lengths off Stradivarius in the 2017 Queen’s Vase before he won the Melrose at York off a mark of 96.
It’s notable this son of Dubawi has been kept in training after clearly having problems, and, given the Rare Rhythm blueprint, it’s notable he reappears in this race.
Stall one could be an issue, but I anticipate he’ll be held up anyway so hopefully James Doyle will be able to time his run to perfection.
This is usually a race for up-and-coming four and five-year-olds and it might be again, but I do think the eight-year-old BYRON FLYER has been underestimated at 28/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power 1/5 1,2,3,4,5) and he’s worth backing each-way.
The top weight might be a relative veteran in this field but he looks as good as ever this season after coming on for his reappearance in a hot race at York when running a good second at Epsom last time.
He was beaten by an ultra-progressive horse in Soto Sizzler that day and he could well be again here, but I’m sure he’ll run a cracker from his wide draw (horses drawn out wide have dominated this race the last 10 years).
Dash Of Spice won the same Epsom race he was second in last year before coming into this contest and winning again, while trainer Ian Williams is in great nick and he’s already enjoyed a Royal Ascot winner this week thanks to The Grand Visir.
Byron Flyer was beaten a head in second the first time he ran in headgear (cheekpieces) and after a few runs without any headgear at all this season Williams utilises the first-time visor here.
That’s significant, as Williams has a superb record when applying the first-time visor, winning 16 from 79 races at 20.25 per cent with his Flat horses.
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: +383.19pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 20/06/19.