Don't miss Ben Linfoot's Value Bet column as he bids to find the Chester Cup winner for the fourth year in succession.
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There’s a fascinating shape to the 188Bet Chester Cup betting on Wednesday as the two at the head of the market, Sea Of Heaven and Golden Spear, have tough enough draws to overcome.
Breaking from stalls 14 and 12 respectively, they’re short enough at around the 7/1 mark given they’ll need plenty of luck from their fairly wide starting positions – although there does look to be plenty of early pace drawn close to the rail.
Blakeney Point, Yorkidding and Watersmeet are all drawn low and all three like to make the running, so there is a possibility that any combination of the trio could either get the run of the race or suffer for pace pressure on the front end.
The first two named have Chester form to their name while Watersmeet looks sure to be suited to the track and will be a really tough nut to crack if he can translate his excellent all-weather form to turf. It is a couple of years since he won on turf, however, so that is not a given.
Blakeney Point has the plum draw in stall one and he just sneaks in at the bottom of the weights after winning at Kempton last time. He’s interesting, but he did get a soft lead on his latest start and he’s not been missed by the market since the draw was made.
The one I like most at the prices is Jim Goldie’s SIR CHAUVELIN and he’s worth an each-way bet at 20/1 (General 1/4 1,2,3,4).
Goldie’s horses just look to be coming to hand after a slow start to the year as is evidenced by the Ayr meeting just gone where he had four winners and three seconds.
Sir Chauvelin has already had a couple of runs this campaign and he improved on his Musselburgh reappearance when running a good second to My Reward at Ripon in the Download The Free Attheraces App Handicap on April 29.
That race has been an excellent pointer to the Chester Cup in recent seasons, as 2012 third Gulf Of Naples won the Ripon contest, 2014 runner-up Angel Gabrial also won the Ripon race and 2015 winner Trip To Paris had won the same race at the North Yorkshire track too.
The run of Sir Chauvelin at Ripon can be marked up as they didn’t go much of a gallop, which made it extremely difficult to come from off the pace at a track that tends to suit front-runners anyway.
He stayed on nicely to fill the runner-up spot, firmly hinting that an extra couple of furlongs would be well within his stamina range.
Handicapping-wise, he looks quite nicely treated. Running off 92 on Wednesday, he’s a couple of pounds well-in after the Ripon run and that’s 7lb below his career-high mark. Last year, at Chester, he ran a cracking race off just 2lb lower, staying on well for third after being held up off a moderate gallop.
With the good to firm conditions absolutely fine and a decent gallop looking assured, everything is in place for Sir Chauvelin to run a big race. His draw in stall 11 isn’t perfect, but Trip To Paris won from that berth and Sam James should be able to slot in on the inside as those drawn lower than him go forward.
With that scenario in mind I also want to save on Alan King’s WHO DARES WINS at 8/1 (Betfred, 7/1 General), as he has an obvious chance from an even better draw.
Housed in stall seven, Tom Marquand is likely to attain a prominent position just off the leaders and there’s a good chance they could set things up perfectly for him.
A winner at Chester by five lengths off a 7lb lower mark on his only previous appearance at the track, Who Dares Wins improved 9lb over hurdles this winter and could be well-treated back on the level considering that progression.
This trip is half a mile further than he’s gone before on the Flat, so that’s another potential source of major improvement, while he was in great form over hurdles when last seen, his third in the Coral Cup advertised by the two that finished in front of him, Supasandae and Taquin De Seuil, who were subsequently second and fourth in a Grade One at Aintree.
Hurdlers have a great record in this race and, considering his draw, course form and jumps form, I’d rate him the most likely winner.
Earlier on the card Enable looks the one to beat in the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks (2.25), but she’ll have to settle better early doors than she did at Newbury last time and there are some potential improvers up against her.
Anything Aidan O’Brien runs has to be respected and Alluringly is the obvious one, but at four times the price of the top two in the betting Roger Varian’s TANSHOLPAN looks the value at 9/1 (General).
She won a nice maiden that worked out quite well at Nottingham on debut last October and she improved on that run when third to Really Special in the Listed Montrose Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket a couple of weeks after that.
The daughter of Dansili didn’t get the clearest of runs that day and she looks to have major improvement in her now she’s stepped up in trip, as she’s related to middle-distance winners, including her dam who was a Group Three winner at Cork over a mile and a half.
Varian looks to have a nice crop of three-year-olds - he’s had 13 wins from 36 runs (36 per cent win strike-rate) with that age group this season - and he won this race a couple of years ago with Anipa.
Finally, John Patrick Shanahan’s TAEXALI looks the one to be on at 14/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook) in the Boodles Diamond Handicap at 3.00.
This horse has only won once from 20 starts in his career, but he has a very strange profile in that he’s only contested six handicaps in that time having run in plenty of conditions races.
However, he ran well for Satish Seemar in handicaps at Meydan over the winter and has looked in good form in a couple of runs in blinkers now back with Shanahan.
Last time, in a Listed contest at Naas, he finished among some good horses rated in the 100s when he was sixth, just four lengths behind Washington DC, and on that form he has a good chance here off a mark of 93.
On top of that he has a great draw in two, with early pace drawn around him in the shape of El Astronaute and Reflektor.
Those two should make bold bids, but they don’t look to have anything in hand of the handicapper and they could well set things up for something from off the pace.
Sir Maximilian loves Chester and is a massive player in this after another good stint at Meydan, but he looks about the right price at 6/1 considering he has to give weight away to everything.
Spring Loaded, another that is better on the all-weather, is also worth considering down in trip, while Majestic Hero is a player if he gets the breaks.
However, Taexali appeals most at the prices, and he’s taken to improve the in-form Shanahan’s already excellent Chester record (three from 14 at 21 per cent for the last five years).
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).
Posted at 1700 BST on 09/05/17.