Our Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets in the William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup and takes two against the field on Friday.
Recommended Bets: Value Bet Ayr Bronze Cup
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The draw for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup saw all the trainers and their representatives go low, on the far side, for Saturday’s big sprint pot, but the first real clues of where the best place to be will come in the Bronze Cup on Friday afternoon.
With Thursday’s racing abandoned the ground is going to be fresh but heavy and there aren’t too many clues to be garnered from where the likely pace is, either. It’s pretty much spread across the track, although the two most obvious front runners, Suitcase ‘N’ Taxi and Pomme De Terre, are drawn centrally.
It wouldn’t be a big surprise if they all came up the middle as one big group again, then, so luck in-running could well enter the equation despite the wide, expansive, track..
Instead of getting tied in knots over the draw, however, it could pay to concentrate on finding a well-handicapped horse that goes in the testing conditions and top of the list, certainly from a handicapping point of view, is TOOFI at 16/1 (Coral).
This horse was rated as high as 103 earlier in his career, and he was 102 when finishing a one-length fourth in the Ayr Gold Cup. He’s changed handlers a few times since then and the fact remains he has won just once in 27 career starts.
However, there is no doubt he was a high-class horse at his best and he loved big-field handicaps as well. Not only did he run a blinder in the Ayr Gold Cup, but he was second to Magical Memory in the Stewards’ Cup earlier that same season, so a cavalry charge suits him well.
The Toofi running at Ayr on Friday is a different beast, one that is now trained by John Butler, but his new trainer is getting to grips with him and by applying some cheekpieces he’s getting more out of him than was the case before.
In two starts in the sheepskin his form has been good, both times at Haydock, both times in soft ground. He improved from his penultimate start to his last outing, too, as is evidenced by the reversal of form with Russian Realm, his falling handicap mark to a new career-low 84 undoubtedly helping in that regard.
Recent efforts suggest testing ground isn’t the concern with him that it once was, either, so we have an in-form and well-handicapped horse running for us with conditions unlikely to inconvenience him.
His draw in 25, right on the stands’ rail, could be anything from brilliant to awful, but, if they do congregate down the middle, he should have plenty of room to make a sweeping late challenge.
Whatever happens John Egan is an experienced pilot and his record for John Butler over the last few years has been excellent. This season alone he’s ridden nine winners for the Newmarket trainer at a win strike-rate of 35 per cent, his level stakes profit to £1 at SP being +£52.
He hasn’t ridden Toofi since York in May on his second run for the yard, but he’ll find a better animal underneath him in Scotland on Friday, one that’s in good form and has a much greater chance at the weights.
That second at Haydock last time saw him finish his race off strongly and the horse he overhauled near the line, Somewhere Secret, came out of that contest to win a really competitive five-furlong sprint handicap at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting.
That’s good form, and with plenty in his favour Toofi is taken to finally get another success on the board.
He’s the main selection, but I also can’t resist a wager on Richard Fahey’s ROYAL CONNOISSEUR at 25/1 (William Hill).
This horse has been held-up in his races recently but he’s usually a prominent racer and he’s drawn centrally on Friday so he could be one of those to plough a furrow up the middle.
He ran much better last time over seven furlongs at Musselburgh and this is his time of year. He won in the October of 2014 and around 12 months ago he won at Hamilton and then Catterick off marks of 73 and 77 in heavy ground.
The testing conditions very much hold no fear for him and, off a mark of 71, he could well take advantage of his low weight at a big price.
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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: +359.39pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 21/09/17.