Ben Linfoot has two Value Bet selections in the Boodles Diamond Handicap on day two of the Chester May Meeting.
Recommended bets: Value Bet
Aidan O’Brien didn’t quite have the horse to win another Cheshire Oaks at Chester on Wednesday, but he has an army of four in a bid to win his fifth consecutive Chester Vase, and his eighth in total, at the track on Thursday.
The number one hopeful appears to be Venice Beach, according to the jockey booking of Ryan Moore and the market, at least, although all four, three of them by Galileo and the other by another Derby winner in Pour Moi, have potential improvement in them now they tackle a mile-and-a-half.
It’s a fascinating contest, but not one that appeals as a betting medium with so many unknown variables to weigh up. It might be best to just watch and see if we learn anything at all with the Investec Derby in mind.
The opening handicap is usually a good race to have a go at, but I’m struggling to see past the two market leaders, Khairaat and Brorocco, who have strong form claims in what looks a pretty weak contest.
That leaves the Boodles Diamond Handicap (3.00) over seven and a half furlongs with Via Egnatia bound to be popular under Frankie Dettori from stall one.
The first-time hood didn’t work at Newmarket on his reappearance, as he was keen in the early stages, and the headgear has been left off this time. Presumably the tactics will be to let him bowl along in front and if Dettori gets the fractions right he could be tough to reel in.
I’m not absolutely convinced he’s that well-handicapped off 99, however, and at 7/2 he could be a good one to take on.
The way Pat Shanahan’s horses are running Sharp Defence must have a chance, while unlucky Chelmsford loser Mutawatheb is another to consider, but at 14/1 (General) it could be worth chancing Charlie Hills’ REBEL DE LOPE.
This horse wasn’t fancied on his seasonal reappearance at Sandown, as his 22/1 starting price suggests, but he traded as low as 9.4 in-running on Betfair as he still led the field with a furlong to go only to tire up the hill.
Whether it was the stiff finish, the mile trip or a lack of fitness that did for him is not known, perhaps it was a combination of the three, but either way it was a promising enough performance despite a finishing position of 11th.
The good thing is he’s come down a couple of pounds for that and he should be much straighter for this assignment, while the fast ground and sharp, turning track look sure to suit as he’s a pacey sort and travels well.
A lower draw would be preferable, but he should be able to get across into a fairly prominent position from stall eight and on his Sandown form from last September, where he beat John Gosden’s Eaton Square comfortably, you’d say he looks very fairly treated off a mark of 88.
The slight drop in trip looks ideal on the evidence of his last run, and the more I look at him the more I think this meeting, which the trainer’s father used to target on a regular basis, will have been the plan for some time.
I am going to go into the contest double-handed as both horses that are running out of the weights are worth considering, with ARC ROYAL a big price to prevail at Chester again at 14/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook).
Tom Dascombe’s Above N Beyond was just pipped in this race last year by a horse from out of the handicap (Ian Fleming), but he can turn the tables this time around with Arc Royal 3lb out of the weights.
Sammy Jo Bell’s 3lb claim accounts for that and her mount has been in pretty good form in two starts this season since being gelded, running fifth at Pontefract and third at Beverley.
He showed early speed on both occasions and that can help him attain a nice position on Thursday despite his draw in eight, while this track can ensure he sees out his race better.
He’s gone well here on all three starts and he put in the performance of his career at the track by four lengths off a mark of 79 in a nursery last year.
There was some serious trouble in behind that day and he had a plum draw, but there’s little doubt he appears to act better at Chester than anywhere else and at 14s he’s worth backing to prove the point again.
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: +348.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 10/05/17.