Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets on day two of Chester and he's excited about the price of an old favourite in the opening handicap sprint.
Value Bet: Chester May Meeting, Day Two
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It’s not too often I’d get excited about a price for a nine-year-old sprinter drawn in stall eight at Chester but at 16/1 (Sky Bet, Bet Victor, 20s 888Sport) SIR MAXIMILIAN has loads in his favour in the Gateley PLC Handicap (1.50) on Thursday and should be backed accordingly.
The potential problem with that wide-ish draw is two-fold as he’ll need luck in-running and there’s El Astronaute drawn next to him as well in nine and he’ll want to get across and join the pace party.
However, the hope is Jim Crowley avoids the early rush on Sir Max as the likes of El Astronaute, A Momentofmadness, Doctor Sardonicus, Reflektor, Tavener and Bossipop force a really strong gallop that should play into the hands of his mount.
There’s nothing Sir Maximilian loves more than chasing a strong gallop over five furlongs around Chester, as he’s shown the last two times he has run there.
Four years ago he won this very race, easily, in a similar scenario off a mark of 88, while two years ago he won the conditions sprint at this meeting by four lengths, beating five horses rated between 100 and 107.
They were on similar ground conditions and the latter victory came in first-time cheekpieces, so it’s interesting Ian Williams reaches for the first-time visor (a headgear he has a 19 per cent strike-rate with when using it for the first time).
Handicapping-wise, a rating of 97 is the lowest he’s run off since winning the Rockingham Handicap at the Curragh four years ago after dropping 6lb from 103 in Dubai this year.
He didn’t fare too badly, though, at Meydan, especially as he was mainly running over six furlongs and sometimes with the races hardly run to suit.
The last time he came from Meydan and tackled the turf season over here was when he won that conditions race at this meeting first time back from Dubai and, despite his age and despite his draw, he rates the best bet on day two of the Chester May Meeting. An each-way bet (1/4 1,2,3) is advised as I don’t mind doubling my stake on him.
In the Homeserve Dee Stakes (2.25) Mark Johnston’s KING’S PROCTOR has a lot to find on the figures but he might just well improve significantly on the better ground and at 20/1 (General) he’s worth a roll of the dice.
Rated 86 against five rivals with marks in excess of 100, he’s clearly got plenty to find, but he’s acquitted himself well in heavy ground twice this season and the better surface will in all likelihood see him in a much better light.
He's a son of Cape Cross for one, whose progeny are much better on faster conditions, while he was most impressive on ‘Good’ ground when winning his maiden at Nottingham at two.
At Windsor he didn’t look to be liking the very testing ground at all and he bumped into a good horse in Sevenna Star, a big, strong, John Gosden colt that subsequently won the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown, while he improved on that run when second again on heavy at Leicester last time.
There is a bit of rain forecast Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, but it doesn’t look too significant and underfoot conditions are likely to be a world away from what he’s encountered so far this campaign.
The combination of the drop to 10 furlongs and stall one means one thing – Franny Norton, a master jockey around Chester, is likely going to try and bounce out and make all.
He’ll be fitter than most with two runs under his belt already this year and at 20s it’s worth a bet that they don’t catch him.
Posted at 1700 BST on 09/05/18.
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: +362.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).