Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections for Haydock, Musselburgh and Newmarket on Saturday including Richard Hughes' Golden Wolf.
Recommended Bets: Value Bet, June 9
Paul Midgley won the Dash at Epsom last weekend and with his big team of sprinters in good form it would be no surprise if he landed the £100,000 feature at Musselburgh on Saturday as well – the Edinburgh Gin’s Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap (2.30).
Both his Move In Time and LINE OF REASON have excellent chances, but the former has gone up 7lb for a recent win so it’s the latter, last year’s winner, that appeals most at 9/1 (General).
This race is perfect for him as he likes fast ground and a hell-for-leather gallop to aim at, something he got this time last year as he won off a 7lb higher mark of 97.
He hasn’t been in as good form recently, but his most recent run at York was much better and we have now reached his favourite time of year.
From 11 career runs in the month of June, Line Of Reason has won an incredible seven times, so now really does look like the time to catch him, especially with the Good to Firm ground conditions and potential pace burn-up set to play into his hands once again.
There is early pace all over the track and though they’re likely to congregate towards the near-side rail, his lower draw could well reduce the chance of being stopped in his run.
It’s a really competitive sprint as you would expect, but everything has come right for Line Of Reason and, from towards the bottom of the weights, I want him on side.
Down at Newmarket it’s the first meeting of the year on the July Course and there’s a couple of good handicaps to get stuck into, starting with the Animal Health Trust Handicap at 3.05.
There is also plenty of pace in this race with Yafta, Georgian Manor, Rufus King and Maksab all likely to go forward and I just wonder whether something travelling strongly in their slipstream might pick up the pieces at the finish.
With that in mind I’m going to give another chance to GRAND KOONTA at 16/1 (General) after his no-show at Goodwood on his seasonal reappearance.
He was keen that day and seemed to take a false step before being squeezed for room approaching the final furlong. Allowed to coast home after that, it’s encouraging that Clive Cox has turned him out just two weeks later.
All must be well and he’s dropped a couple of pounds in the weights, while the pre-Goodwood argument still stands.
His Mill Reef fifth suggests he could be well-handicapped in the mid-90s, the group-race entries he’s had throughout his career suggests Cox thinks plenty of him and he really should excel over a strongly-run seven furlongs given he’s related to a host of winning milers.
That Goodwood run has to be forgiven, of course, but I’m prepared to do that and hope that it’s actually run the freshness out of him and brought him on.
With Adam Kirby up at Haydock David Probert takes the ride, but he’s got encouraging figures for Cox (five wins from 30 at 17 per cent) and he should get a nice tow into the race on the selection from Yafta and Georgian Manor, both drawn close by.
Later on at Newmarket it’s the John Sunley Memorial Handicap (3.40) and I was really taken with how GOLDEN WOLF (10/1 Ladbrokes) beat the rest of the field easily at Epsom last week in the race you’ll remember as Dash Of Spice’s gamble-landed-romp.
David Elsworth's horse was, indeed, chucked in, but he could be group class and being beaten six lengths off level weights was a good effort from Golden Wolf, especially as he put almost two lengths between himself and the 15 other runners.
A 2lb rise looks pretty lenient and though he does keep sneaking up the weights without winning there’s plenty of hope that his first crack at 1m6f will bring about further improvement.
There’s plenty of stamina on his dam’s side and his half-brother, Azamesse, won on his first go at 1m6f, while the way he kept on for a clear second last weekend suggests another quarter mile will be well within his compass.
Richard Hughes’ horses are running really well and he’s due a change of luck on the July Course having had seven seconds (and a winner) from just 18 runners.
Finally, there’s good racing up at Haydock and the one bet I can’t resist is the 25/1 (General) about Sir Mark Prescott’s MELINOE in the Betway Pinnacle Stakes (2.50).
This Sea The Stars filly has a lot to find on the figures but that’s firmly factored into her price and there are reasons to believe she can bridge the gap.
The top-rated fillies like God Given and Fosun probably need softer ground for starters, while Melinoe keeps on steadily progressing whenever she’s been raised slightly in class.
Her best run was her last one, in a Class 2 handicap at Goodwood, where she would’ve appreciated a stronger gallop and I just wonder if that’s one reason why she has dropped in trip here to 1m4f.
She hasn’t been beaten more than two lengths in any of her last six runs and just looks like the type of filly that will raise her game when she has to.
It’s certainly interesting Prescott plunges her in at the deep end in this rather than persevering with handicaps and he reaches for the cheekpieces, too, headgear he has a good record with (17 wins from 87 at 19.54 per cent) first-time out.
There looks like there is plenty more to come from this filly and at 25s it’s worth chancing she can take a giant leap forward now given the chance.
Posted at 1700 BST on 08/06/18.
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: +342.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).