Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on day three of the Craven Meeting at Newmarket with a Ballydoyle inmate fancied in the Abernant.
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John Gosden unleashes the 6/1 third-favourite for the 2000 Guineas, Roaring Lion, in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday, with the son of Kitten’s Joy 4/7 to get the job done under Oisin Murphy.
Rated 118 after a juvenile campaign that included three wins from four runs and a second in the Group One Racing Post Trophy, he’s the clear form pick and has experience of the course after landing the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at the end of September.
That form received a boost here on Tuesday when the third home, Mildenberger, won the Feilden Stakes, and, despite wandering to his left under pressure in the Royal Lodge, taking Roaring Lion on isn’t a very appealing prospect.
Aidan O’Brien doesn’t usually target the Craven with his better horses – he’s never won it – and he doesn’t even have a runner this year, but he does have a representative in the preceding Group Three Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes at 3.00 and SPIRIT OF VALOR looks worth a bet at 7/1 (General).
Plenty of the O’Brien horses have been needing a run, but Capri, Gustav Klimt and Nelson won first-time out and it’s worth chancing that Spirit Of Valor is ready to roll as he looks the one that might take advantage of any rustiness in the hot favourite, Le Brivido.
Andre Fabre’s string haven’t been frequent visitors to the winners’ enclosure themselves in the early part of the season, with just two winners coming from his last 30 runners, and Le Brivido has a 10-month absence to overcome as well as a drop in trip.
The last time we saw him was when he won the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot by a neck from Spirit Of Valor himself and, while that was a cosy neck, at Thursday’s prices I’m happy to chance the Ballydoyle horse with the drop back to six in mind.
The son of War Front, a big outsider at 66/1 that day, led the Jersey field a furlong from home and he backed up that form afterwards with a win over seven in the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh and a good fourth under a penalty over the same trip in the Group Two Park Stakes at Doncaster.
He showed plenty of speed to lead and dominate when winning in Ireland and he also led a furlong out at Doncaster, so the drop in trip really should suit and the stats of his sire’s progeny over six furlongs back that up (40 wins from 151 runs in the UK and Ireland at 27 per cent).
Brando is an obvious danger for the Kevin Ryan team, as he’s a top-class sprinter on his day, loves this track, has won first-time out twice here and the drying ground is very much in his favour.
He’s had a wind operation since he was last seen but he’s 7/2, odds that look about right on the balance of his form, and I’d rather back the potential of Spirit Of Valor at this trip at twice the price.
Earlier on the card Sylvester Kirk’s Music Society could be tough to beat in the opening bet365.com Handicap as he’s lightly-raced, holds the best form in the race on his Wolverhampton second and Ryan Moore has been booked for his handicap debut.
It’s easy to see why he’s the 5/2 jolly, then, but I was surprised to see CONSEQUENCES wasn’t a clear second-favourite and at around 13/2 (LAdbrokes) it’s worth taking the chance that he can see off the market leader.
His best form isn’t far off the level of Music Society’s anyway, but crucially it came on this track and over the six furlongs which was his first crack at the distance in a conditions race here in November.
The way he travelled off a good gallop for a small-field race was impressive and he ran away with it very easily in the end.
There doesn’t look to be an awful lot of depth to Thursday’s contest but he should get a good gallop to aim at again with the likes of Rebel Assault, Dragons Tail and Green Power up against him and the drying ground will please connections as well.
Posted at 1700 BST on 18/04/18.
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: +382.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).