Value Bet: Go with the Fro
Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for Saturday's action at Cheltenham on day two of the International meeting.
Frodon: Worth a bet in the Caspian Caviar
Value Bet Selections
Paul Nicholls has a good recent record in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and he houses the favourite for Saturday's renewal, Bouvreuil, who was fifth in the BetVictor Handicap Chase on the Old Course last month.
The better ground and a 3lb pull at the weights could help him get closer to Village Vic, the BetVictor runner-up, who is bidding to retain his title in this contest under what will be, in all likelihood, another aggressive ride from Richard Johnson.
Both should go well, as should Buywise in a first-time visor, but that trio do look high enough in the weights and there are some interesting progressive types towards the foot of the handicap.
Nicholls was excited about his chance prior to the BetVictor, for which he was sent off the 6/1 second-favourite, and he was bang in contention until a shuddering mistake four from home which ultimately ended his challenge.
That was out of character as he's usually a slick jumper and it is with hope the experience will have done him good rather than the opposite.
A few things could help him improve on that performance.
Firstly, even though there's a bit of rain forecast, the ground looks set to be much better than it was BetVictor day, which will help. Secondly, the stiffer New Course looks set to be in his favour. Thirdly, he only had a week to recover between Wincanton and Cheltenham last time; this time he's had a month.
On top of this his weight-for-age allowance of 7lb is not to be sniffed at. Indeed, it helped Nicholls' Unioniste land this prize back in 2012.
The following year Double Ross won this race as a novice and Frodon, the only novice in this year's renewal, looked a smart recruit to the chasing game when winning easily at Newton Abbot, Fontwell and Wincanton at the start of the season.
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Kylemore Lough, Aso, Aloomomo and Kings Odyssey could all perhaps do with more rain than is currently forecast (3-5 millimetres, which should just maintain the ground nicely), while I'm not sure about the strength of Thomas Brown's Ascot form.
Tom George's horse is also better known for his exploits over two miles, but he was only beaten a length by Dynaste in a Jewson here and he has often shaped as though he'd appreciate a stiffer test of stamina.
His best effort came when he was a staying-on third in Sire De Grugy's Queen Mother Champion Chase, after which he was considered a 164-rated chaser.
Cheltenham and good ground hold no fears for him then, and on his old form he's a seriously well-handicapped chaser off a mark of 149. Injury kept him off the track for the best part of two years, but he's dropped 15lb in just four runs and he needed his reappearance effort when well beaten by Fox Norton in the Shloer Chase.
Connections are looking forward to seeing a fitter Module step up in trip, and at 20/1 he's a fair price to cause a shock.
Finally, KEEL HAUL looks to have plenty in his favour in the Raymond Mould Handicap Chase (1.10) and at 14/1 (Coral) he's been underestimated.
Henry Oliver's horse won at the Open meeting last year off just a 4lb lower mark and that race was run on similar ground off a really strong gallop.
With De Faoithesdream, Sew On Target and Owen Na View in the field on Saturday I would expect a hell-for-leather pace from the outset and that will play into the hands of the selection who thrives off a strongly-run gallop over a stiff two miles.
On top of this he looks in good form judging by his Aintree second, where he had Parsnip Pete, a rival on Saturday, seven lengths behind.
Vaniteux is the one to beat if he improves from his Ascot run, but giving 24lb to Keel Haul in this scenario will not be easy and at 14s Oliver's horse rates a value selection against the likely favourite.
*Sky Bet are offering EXTRA VALUE to followers of the Sporting Life Value Bet column with guaranteed prices for at least 15 minutes from the time of publication (usually 5pm).
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: +404.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1655 GMT on 09/12/2016.
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