Value Bet: Kempton Windfall
Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets from Kempton Park and Warwick on Saturday afternoon.
Sego Success: Worth a bet in first-time blinkers
Value Bet Selections
Kempton gets a quick chance to show the jumps racing world what it might be missing in the near future on Saturday with a good card headlined by the 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle.
Whether it will be run on the ‘good’ conditions heralded by those in opposition to the Jockey Club’s surprising plans is unlikely, as they were ‘good to soft, soft in places’ when the frost covers went down on Thursday.
With a cold night forecast on Friday we could be looking at gluey, testing, conditions once the turf protection is removed and that’s the only thing that puts me off Chesterfield in the feature.
Seamus Mullins’ horse shaped well, from what could be seen in the fog, in the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle at Ascot last time, running on like a horse that would appreciate a step up in trip.
He gets that here, and he could be well-handicapped on his old form, but I just think Saturday’s test could be a bit gruelling for a Flat-bred that’s had injury problems.
Instead I’d rather back Anthony Honeyball’s FOUNTAINS WINDFALL at 14/1 (general) as he could well thrive now handicapping with the emphasis on stamina.
He’s much more stoutly bred, being out of Fountain Crumble, a mare that Paul Nicholls trained to win a few times over three miles, while she was also second at Kempton’s Christmas meeting just over a decade ago.
Her offspring include Fountains Blossom, a mare that won a couple of times over two-and-a-half miles last year, and with this in mind the step up in trip looks sure to benefit Fountains Windfall, who has made a good impression over shorter in novice hurdles.
He is still a novice having only shed his maiden tag on his last start, 230 days ago, in May. Honeyball reports him in ‘good nick’ following the absence, though, and it could be telling he’s pitched into a hot handicap rather than another novice (he is entered in the Grade 2 at Warwick, as well, but that is his 2nd preference).
With this being his handicap debut, some guesswork is required as to whether he’s well treated or not off a mark of 130. His three-quarter-length second to Gala Ball at Wincanton, however, offers some positive evidence on that score.
Gala Ball himself won a handicap off a mark of 133 by seven lengths, subsequently, and was rated 143 when he went novice chasing.
Meanwhile, Black Corton, who was 13 lengths behind Fountains Windfall, has won three times in four hurdles starts since Wincanton and is now rated 135.
A further 27 lengths behind Black Corton was Bennys King, who was making his hurdling debut. Four seconds and a first later, Venetia Williams’ charge is 7/1 second favourite for the Lanzarote, getting just 2lb from Fountains Windfall despite that 40-length beating.
Obviously Bennys King has improved plenty since and he is an interesting contender himself, but I’d rather take double the odds about Fountains Windfall who looks underestimated at 14s.
There is another horse in the race I want on side and it’s Dan Skelton’s SAM RED at the general 11/1.
It’s interesting Skelton relies on this horse as he also has Spiritofthegames, who ran second to Lanzarote favourite Doesyourdogbite at the track last time.
With a good line on the favourite Sam Red lines up with an interesting chance for his new trainer, who acquired him from Alan Fleming’s in November.
He looked a novice of some potential when he won his maiden hurdle by 26 lengths at Navan, but he never really kicked on from that in a couple of runs last season.
However, he did run okay in a hot race at Fairyhouse in February, a contest that has produced six individual winners subsequently including Mall Dini, who won the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, and Shamiran, who won at the Punchestown Festival.
He’s lightly raced, has been fairly assessed (for one that has come over from Ireland) and he might yet fulfil the promise of that early form for Fleming.
Skelton’s only previous runner in the Lanzarote was Like Minded, who ran a good third to Saphir Du Rheu in the 2014 renewal, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sam Red were capable of going a couple of places better.
Alan King’s horse was a well-fancied 7/1 shot for the race last year off a 6lb higher mark, but he only got as far as the second and has been winless in four goes since.
The upside to that is the 6lb drop in the weights and he’s run well at Bangor and Doncaster on his two starts this season, both tests being inadequate in terms of stamina and both times he had the cheekpieces that had served him so well when applied first-time missing.
That Doncaster win was his last and it came off a mark just 1lb lower than the one he runs off on Saturday, while King reaches for the first-time blinkers on this occasion.
It looks like his campaign has been building up to this point and he’ll be fine over the trip and on the ground. He also likes Warwick, too, despite last year’s mishap, as he won the novice chase on this card a couple of years ago in good style.
There are more than a handful of horses fighting for favouritism and I’d expect Ballycross, One For Arthur and Viva Steve to be well backed given they are a relatively unexposed trio in a race with plenty of dour stayers that we know all about.
However, I do want to take a chance on one at a bigger price with Jonjo O’Neill’s SPOOKYDOOKY available at 20/1 generally.
He admittedly carries a wealth warning as he’s been well beaten in two goes this season, but both of those runs came over inadequate trips at a time of the season when the yard wasn’t firing at all.
I’m not going to pretend the stable is now motoring, but at least Jonjo’s two winners this month have been in handicaps and we could well see a fair few from the stable that have become well treated in the weeks and months leading up to the spring festivals.
Spookydooky is one of those having dropped 10lb in his last four starts over fences. He’s now 3lb below his last winning mark and 10lb below the rating that he ran off when a seven-length fourth in the Midlands National, a race in which he showcased his aptitude for a severe test of stamina.
After just eight starts over fences he is relatively lightly-raced and he is expected to improve significantly now he’s faced with softer ground and a longer trip.
He’ll have to on this season’s shabby form, but the booking of National specialist Leighton Aspell is encouraging (one from two for O’Neill for the last five years) and if his first two assignments of the campaign have got him in good shape he could go very well at a big price off a lowly weight.
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: +401.14pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
*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).
Posted at 1655 GMT on 13/01/2017.
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