Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections for the finest evening fixture of the season, Sandown's Brigadier Gerard Stakes night on Thursday.
Value Bet: Sandown, May 24
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Mark Johnston has hit a real purple patch in recent weeks and his good form looks set to extend to Sandown’s excellent evening meeting on Thursday.
Johnston, who has operated at a 24 per cent strike-rate over the last fortnight, couldn’t have his horses in better nick and he saddles six at the Esher track on Brigadier Gerard night.
You’d expect at least one of those to go in considering his current strike-rate and the one that makes most appeal at the prices is TIME TO STUDY in the Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes (7.35) at 9/1 (General).
Weekender is the market leader in this but he’s yet to race over two miles and it remains to be seen how strong the form of his recent Chelmsford win is.
I’m not sure it will amount to much at all and, while he’s a progressive type for top connections, I couldn’t have him on my mind for this race at odds around 5/2.
Mount Moriah looks like he needs a bit of cut in the ground to perform to his best and though there is a bit of rain forecast on Wednesday night it looks unlikely to affect the ground too much given the recent warm spell.
Sheikhzayedroad usually needs a run or two after he returns from Meydan and then you are into the Chester Cup form in which Magic Circle was an emphatic winner with Time To Study back in fifth.
On that running the selection has plenty to find with Ian Williams’ horse, eight-and-a-half lengths to be specific, but a 4lb pull at the weights helps as will this more galloping and testing track.
I also think Time To Study looked happier going right-handed at Musselburgh and Ascot earlier in the season, so the return to a clockwise circuit looks in his favour and it wouldn’t be a massive surprise were he to reverse that Roodee form with Magic Circle.
He’s only four and is unexposed at this trip having only run the once over two miles – the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in May - where he had some good yardsticks like Desert Skyline, Montaly and Raheen House in behind.
Torcedor beat him into second by five lengths, but he’s a top-class stayer on his day and Time To Study lost nothing in defeat especially as the winner got first run on him.
This could be a fascinating tactical battle as there’s not a lot of obvious pace, but if Frankie Dettori goes forward on Weekender you can be sure Ryan Moore won’t give him too much rope.
Poet’s Word and Without Parole look to have strong chances in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes and Heron Stakes respectively, but the Matchbook Commission Free On All Sports National Stakes (6.35) looks ultra-competitive with seven last-time out winners among the field of nine.
You can make a case for all of them, but at the odds I like the look of Richard Fahey’s SABRE at 8/1 (General).
Fahey has made a tremendous start with his juveniles, saddling nine winners at 20 per cent, so it’s significant that Sabre gets the nod for this assignment following a startling victory at Newcastle on debut.
Repeatedly stopped in his run behind a wall of horses on the Tapeta, Tony Hamilton had to switch around the field to the inside and he fairly took off to win by three lengths.
Nothing had previous racecourse experience in that race so the form was always going to be hard to gauge, but he couldn’t have been more impressive and the fourth, Murqaab, has come out and finished a close-up second at Doncaster subsequently.
On a line through Doncaster third Broken Spear there doesn’t look to be an awful lot between Kinks and Sabre, yet Fahey’s horse is a couple of points bigger largely due to his inexperience.
However, the way he coped with adversity at Newcastle bodes well and his sire, Mayson, is a good source for speedy juveniles, his Global Applause winning this very race for Ed Dunlop in 2016.
A low draw in stall three looks good, especially with a couple of the market principles drawn out wide, and though he’s been nibbled at in the market on Wednesday afternoon the general 8/1 remains fair.
Posted at 1700 BST on 23/05/18.
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: +353.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).