Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on Lockinge day at Newbury with Mark Johnston fancied to strike in the London Gold Cup.
Recommended bets: Lockinge day
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
(Librisa Breeze declared a non runner at 10.29 - off colour)
It’s a superb renewal of the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday with a 16-strong field including nine rivals rated between 115 and 119.
Rhododendron bids to give Aidan O’Brien his first Lockinge since Hawk Wing in 2003, while Addeybb looks the new kid on the block in the mile division thanks to his rapid progress this season.
His Lincoln cruise off a mark of 99 was impressive but he improved on that when sprinting away from a solid bunch of Group Two horses in the bet365 Mile at Sandown last time.
Faster ground is the worry for the Pivotal gelding, while Rhododendron has to prove she has the pace for a mile these days after running over 10 furlongs and further for much of her three-year-old campaign.
Limato is sandwiched between the pair in the betting, but he’s been beaten in this race before and looks better over shorter distances. Looking at the top of the market, those dominating the betting look vulnerable.
With so many horses of similar ability lining up in a big field, this could come down to which horse handles the pace, tempo and situation best and, with that in mind, my eye is drawn to the 16/1 (General) about LIBRISA BREEZE.
Dean Ivory’s six-year-old is an immensely talented horse, blessed with versatility given his ability to perform at a high level over varying trips and ground conditions.
The best performance of his career was his last one in this country, as he won the British Champion Sprint over six furlongs on soft ground at Ascot, but that’s no reason to dismiss his chance on Saturday.
He stays well, having won over 10 furlongs earlier in his career, while he stayed on really strongly to be second in a soft ground Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in 2016.
That was his last go over a mile as he’s excelled over six and seven since then, but his stamina shouldn’t be questioned just because he has a lethal turn of foot.
That’s mostly been on display at his beloved Ascot, but he performed well at Newbury last season and what is evident is that he loves a big field over a straight course and he has no issue with Good to Firm ground, either.
Saturday’s Lockinge will suit Librisa Breeze as Robert Winston should be able to get plenty of cover before unleashing him with a withering late run. We know he travels well in big fields and that he likes coming through horses and those traits, in this line-up, could be crucial.
Rated 119, he’s officially the joint-best horse in the field and 16/1 seriously underestimates his chance. The trip will be factored into that a little, but so is the fact he’s trained by Ivory. However, he’s a fine trainer, and his handling of this horse has been excellent.
Earlier on the card the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup (3.00) looks set to be as informative as ever and Roger Varian, who won last year’s renewal with Defoe, has another likely type in smooth Doncaster winner Masaarr.
The way he reeled in Magnificent that day was impressive and it bodes well for this step up in distance, with his pedigree indicating he could well find further improvement over 10 furlongs.
However, if there is one to beat him I feel it will be Mark Johnston’s COMMUNIQUE and at 10/1 (General) he’s worth a bet getting 12lb from the likely favourite.
This son of Casamento bumped into a seriously progressive Dubhe at Sandown last time but he beat the rest comfortably and was lucky to be left alone on 84 by the handicapper.
He didn’t look at home on the softer ground in Esher and I expect serious improvement now he tackles a Good to Firm surface, especially at this trip as he’s related to a host of middle distance performers.
Silvestre de Sousa should get a nice position from stall three, conserving energy on the long run to the first bend before the screws are turned in the home straight.
As a two-year-old he beat Mekong by five lengths off levels and he gets 1lb from him on Saturday, but is almost twice the price in places.
That just looks plain wrong and at anything approaching double-figure odds Communique is worth a bet.
Posted at 1700 BST on 18/05/18.
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. Running total: +343.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).