Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets on day two of the Doncaster St Leger meeting with two selections put up for Thursday afternoon's action.
Some of the field sizes at Doncaster this week are disappointing, perhaps because of the softer ground, but the dangling carrot of a big pot usually sorts a problem like that out and 22 are set to line up for the Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes (3.35).
Three of the first four home from the big sales race at York; Tangled, Great Prospector and Alba Power, are set to lock horns again in this, while nursery form from the Ebor Festival is also tested with Queen’s Sargent, Areen Faisal and Zap taking each other on again.
The latter is quite interesting at 40/1 as his trainer, Richard Fahey, has a great record in this race and Zap comes out best at the weights this time following that York run.
He’s never run on ground this soft, but the son of Mayson might enjoy it and I’m a little surprised he’s the rag of the field. Fahey has six in this, though, with some of that number stronger contenders, and whether Zap could give 8lb and a beating to NEOLA (9/1 BetVictor, Betfair Sportsbook) seems unlikely.
Mick Channon’s filly has something to find on form with the likes of Tangled and Great Prospector, but not a great deal after winning a Goodwood fillies’ nursery well off a mark of 89 on September 5.
She did everything pretty easily that day when winning by nearly a length on soft ground and, raised 6lb to 95 since, she has an obvious chance on Thursday’s terms getting weight from everything in the race.
That alone probably isn’t enough to wade in at single-figure prices, but, despite having run eight times, there is the potential for more improvement with her as well.
Channon trained her dam, Effie B, and she improved massively on softer ground at the back end of her juvenile career after having a really busy time of things as a two-year-old.
Neola seems to be improving with racing, too, so I like that she’s experienced and that she looked better than ever at Goodwood, while her form in big fields is good. She was second in a 13-runner Listed race at York in May, while she was a good fifth in the 23-runner Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.
She’ll travel away nicely in a big field like this and, on that Goodwood evidence, getting plenty of cover on softer ground will play to her strengths. A high draw and a low weight have been two major positives in this race over the years, as well, and at 9/1 the Foxwedge filly rates one of the day’s better bets.
Dubka, Melodic Motion and Natural Scenery are all well fancied for the DFS Park Hill Stakes (3.00) and they were separated by less than a length off almost-identical terms in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Melodic Motion hasn’t been seen since then, but Natural Scenery and Dubka ran in the Ebor, finishing third and 11th respectively. Thursday’s conditions level things out, though, and trying to pick between the trio isn’t easy.
Given they look likely to finish close together on their Goodwood form, I’m happy to chance something improving past the lot of them and the one that appeals at the prices is Joseph O’Brien’s DETAILED at 14/1 (Sky Bet, Bet Victor).
This Motivator filly has improved enormously since stepping up in trip in handicap company and she’s well worth a crack at this level now following two easy wins on her last two starts.
On August 20 she hosed up in a fillies’ handicap over 1m4f in soft ground at the Curragh, laughing off a handicap mark of 81, while last time she coped with a drop in trip well in heavy ground at Roscommon, winning by almost two lengths off 92.
Up 4lb to 96 after that, she has to improve again to trouble the market principals, but she’s very much going the right way.
Conditions will hold no fears, she shapes as though this sort of trip will be well within her compass and O’Brien has booked king of Doncaster*, Andrea Atzeni, as well, which could be significant.
*The king of Doncaster moniker probably under sells Atzeni’s record on Town Moor. He has ridden 51 career winners at the track from 243 rides at 21 per cent. He has finished in the top four 54 per cent of the time. He’s won over £2million in prize money thanks in part to two St Legers and four Racing Post Trophies. He’s +£82.84 to £1 level-stakes for his career at the track. (All before he won on Mount Logan on Friday).
Recommended Bets: Value Bet Doncaster, St Leger meeting day two
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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: +368.39pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 13/09/17.