Value Bet: Backing the Big Time
Value Bet tipster Ben Linfoot has three big-priced selections at Goodwood and Newmarket on Saturday.
Rivellino (third from left) finishing sixth in the Stewards' Cup
Value Bet Selections
It could be a big day on Saturday for Cheveley Park Stud with their Zonderland likely to take centre stage in the feature race at Goodwood, the Group Two Doom Bar Celebration Mile.
Trainer Clive Cox won the race last year with Kodi Bear and in Zonderland he has a thriving three-year-old that could well keep the trophy at his Beechdown Farm Stables in Lambourn.
A good winner of the Group Three Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury last time, he arguably has stronger form than favourite Thikriyaat and the pair look to have the race between them receiving weight from a trio of older horses that have found it tough to win recently.
He might not be a bet for this column, but the general 5/2 seems fair.
Earlier on, Cheveley Park could initiate a double with Certificate in the Goodwood Revival Stakes at 3.20.
Roger Varian's Pivotal gelding has taken time to flourish on turf but the penny certainly dropped at Doncaster last time when he ran away with a good handicap in the style of a progressive horse.
He's up 6lb to a career-high 103 on the back of that, but he's the only horse on a sharp upward curve in this race and he's understandably favourite at around 5/1 with a good draw to boot.
However, he's never run at Goodwood before and given he looked right at home on the flat plains of Town Moor last time I'm inclined to take him on with Stewards' Cup sixth RIVELLINO making plenty of appeal at 16/1 (general price).
Karl Burke's horse couldn't quite land the each-way money at Glorious Goodwood but that two-length defeat to Dancing Star represents very solid recent form (Duke Of Firenze, who finished a nose in front of Rivellino, certainly boosted it at York) and he finished his race like a horse that would relish an extra furlong.
This test is a fair bit different, being around a bend, but if Rivellino is to get a win over seven furlongs I fancy it will be at a speedy track like Goodwood and his record in big-field handicaps in general is excellent.
The fast ground is perfect for him, he has a good draw in three and the icing on the cake is 7lb claimer Clifford Lee easing his burden. He should be able to get a good position off the pace here and granted a bit of luck in running he could go close.
Position is likely to have a big bearing on this race, typically for a big field Goodwood handicap around the bend, and there do seem to be a large proportion of hold-up horses in the race.
Pace angles include Mister Universe, Majestic Moon and Flash Fire, but they are drawn in the three widest stalls while Sinfonietta, another prominent racer drawn in 14, might not even run if the ground is deemed to be too fast.
This makes me think that a proactive positive ride from a low draw could well pay dividends and That Is The Spirit could be the one to lead them along if he's ridden as aggressively as he was at York last week.
The fascinating one for me, though, is BIG TIME, drawn in five on his debut for Kevin Ryan and at 25/1 (Paddy Power, 20/1 generally) he's worth chancing despite a 7lb rise for winning a claimer last time.
On the face of it he's got a big task off a mark off 95 considering he's been racing off marks in the 80s all year, but a couple of recent tweaks have brought about an upturn in form and he might have more improvement in him yet.
Firstly, Dandy Nicholls put a visor on him at Catterick in May and he's barely run a bad race since, finishing second at Musselburgh (when hampered late on) and Chester while he was a decisive winner at Epsom last time.
That was only a claimer, but he beat the 92-rated Arnold Lane easily, by seven lengths, and the key seemed to be being allowed to dominate from the front end.
Previously keen on occasions, a more positive ride helped him settle much better and if those tactics are employed again this weekend he's going to stay out of trouble under Martin Harley, an interesting jockey booking given he's never ridden for Ryan.
A really good juvenile when trained in Ireland, Big Time was fifth in the Irish 2000 Guineas won by Kingman and though that form is in the distant past he still looks a useful tool judging by his recent efforts.
He's useful enough to be entered for the Ayr Gold Cup and though he'll need to go up a few pounds to get in that race he looks pacey enough to be an interesting contender. We'll find out on Saturday if he's got the appetite and talent for a big-field handicap and at 25s I want to pay to find out.
This race has a handful of unexposed improvers among its number and Noble Gift isn't one of them, but he is a strong galloper with a big heart and there's a chance he could get the run of the race out in front on Saturday.
Callum Shepherd gets on really well with him having won on him four times, making all on each occasion, and though he has to bounce back from a couple of below-par runs he has at least dropped 5lb in the handicap.
He was only beaten five lengths in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot three starts ago off 5lb higher when Shepherd couldn't claim, so he's effectively 10lb better off now over a more suitable trip on a more suitable track.
Just 1lb higher than when he won at Ripon in April, Noble Gift isn't handicapped out of things by any means and though there's one or two other prominent racers in opposition nothing else likes to lead.
We saw at the July meeting the dangers of letting one loose out on the front end at this track and though the likes of Walpole, Real Dominion, Knights Table and Great Glen will all be snapping at his heels, Noble Gift is a big price to see them all off.
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: +371.84pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1715 BST on 26/08/16.