Value Bet: Look for a Reason
Our Ben Linfoot has a 33/1 headline selection among four Value Bets for Saturday's action at Doncaster and Leopardstown.
Breton Rock (left) has his ideal conditions
Value Bet Selections
There's something for every racing fan this weekend with top-class action intermingled with complex handicaps on both sides of the Irish Sea.
It doesn't look a vintage Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster but it throws up an intriguing question for punters – will the undoubted class horse, Idaho, stay?
My wallet has been punished over the years for taking on Aidan O'Brien-trained sons and daughters of Galileo who look to have suspect stamina on the dam's side.
The super sire just seems to be a huge influence for seemingly limitless reserves of staying power, a topical example being Order Of St George, the 1/4 favourite for the Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday, who won a soft ground Ascot Gold Cup without breaking sweat.
He's not an obvious one for marathon contests on the dam's side of his pedigree and you could argue Idaho isn't guaranteed to stay the Leger trip using the same logic.
There is no doubting, though, he's the best horse in the race on all known form.
Placed in two Derbies and a facile winner of the Voltigeur last time, Idaho is half a stone clear of his nearest rival on official ratings and if he stays, which he probably will, he'll win handsomely.
The bookies are dead right to be chalking him up at prohibitive odds-on prices, with John Gosden's Muntahaa the main danger at around 4/1.
He's got a lovely Leger profile, being a late-maturing colt who was placed in a key trial when running on well over a mile-and-a-half at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII Stakes, and a noteworthy handicap success off 108 at Chester since then bolsters his claims.
With all the defections in the last week, however, his price has contracted to its true value. With Idaho in the field it's hard to envisage those odds shrinking much further, even if plenty of the forecast rain gets into the ground.
I'm not keen to take on either of the market principals in the final Classic of the season, so the wallet can breathe a sigh of relief, in that race anyway, although it could've already taken a hammering by then as I can't resist a couple of speculative wagers in the Ladbrokes Portland Handicap over five-and-a-half furlongs earlier on the card.
Kevin Ryan will always be inextricably linked with the Portland thanks to his race specialist Halmahera, who saved his very best form for this contest when winning it three times between 2002 and 2004.
The Hambleton trainer has three representatives this time around and it's his outsider of the field, MUKAYNIS, who makes plenty of appeal at a huge 33/1 (general price).
This son of Tamayuz doesn't have many miles on the clock for a five-year-old sprinter and he looked better than ever this season when running well in defeat at Chester and Epsom in May and June.
Unlucky in-running at Chester, he was well backed for the Investec Dash on Derby day where he ran on really nicely for fourth.
Both of those efforts were off a mark of 90, but he's 3lb lower now after a couple of dull performances at Goodwood and Chester on his last two starts.
His blinkers were replaced with cheekpieces at Chester, though, and he was drawn out wide in 11, so you can safely ignore that run and he's of huge interest back at Doncaster off a mark of 87.
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He easily won a handicap off a mark of 72 on his only previous trip to Town Moor in May of last year, and he was just as convincing a winner off a mark of 83 in first-time blinkers at Haydock last October.
With the blinkers back on at a track that suits, he's handicapped to go well and if the rain gets into the ground it won't be a bother to him.
A stands' rail draw in 22 looks good as well, as there is plenty of pace on his side of the track and if they gravitate towards the centre he'll have a nice clear run.
Bryan Smart has had a golden couple of weeks with his sprinters and the hot spell may not be over yet as Red Pike has a solid chance of landing Portland glory off a mark of 97 considering his current form.
Ever since he was third at York's Dante meeting in May he's been a model of consistency, finishing second at Ripon and Beverley before a good close-up eighth in the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood off a mark of 98.
It's that form ahead of his return to Doncaster which excites me, as he's run two crackers on his previous visits here and this race looks perfect for him.
He was headed late on when second off a mark of 92 over six furlongs here in October 2014, while last season he rallied well to win a conditions race over the same distance where he gave weight to some higher-rated rivals including this year's Wokingham winner, Outback Traveller, who was rated 107 at the time.
Considering those efforts at the course over six and the way he kept on well over five at Beverley in June, this intermediate trip could be absolutely ideal.
Again, like Mukaynis, any rain wouldn't be a bother to him and he's another pace angle drawn centre to stands' side. With the Smart sprinters taking all before them in recent weeks, Red Pike looks a good bet to join his stablemates in the limelight.
Also at Doncaster it's the Group Two Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes and the penalties carried by Godolphin pair Richard Pankhurst and Toormore bring the rest of the field right into it.
The one to be on is David Simcock's BRETON ROCK at the general 9/1, as he will appreciate every drop of rain and he's back down to his ideal trip after racing over a mile last time.
A winner of a Group Three in heavy ground at Newmarket in June, he's a highly consistent horse and has run well on both visits here, winning a handicap earlier in his career before a good third in this race last year behind Limato and Markaz.
That renewal was much stronger and Breton Rock holds a very good chance if in similar form 12 months on. The jockey booking of Andrea Atzeni is a positive one and Simcock's horses remain in great heart too. He's a good bet at 9s.
Finally, it's a wonderful card over at Leopardstown to kick off Irish Champions Weekend and the feature Qipco Irish Champion Stakes is the race of the season.
The Coral-Eclipse winner is generally a 16/1 chance while the Prince Of Wales's winner is more than double those odds at 33s, which tells its own story.
The reason is the presence of star three-year-olds Harzand and Minding who dominate the market in a fascinating match up.
I'm really keen on Dermot Weld's horse for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but just wonder if he'll quite have the pace for this assignment after a break. The rain and the pacemaker will help and he might just get away with it.
It's a race to watch for me but there are a couple of quality handicaps on the card with last week's Haydock winner Intense Tango coming back for more in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Petingo Handicap at 4.35.
She's 4lb well-in under a penalty, but she could be hassled on the pace this time and it remains to be seen if she can back up so quickly after a tough battle.
Hopefully she'll go well, but for a bet on the card I'd rather wait until the closing EBF Sovereign Path Handicap at 7.20.
Kevin Ryan's Big Time was a touch unlucky not to win at Goodwood last time and he's favourite here as he bids to pick up a penalty that might see him sneak in the Ayr Gold Cup.
A bold bid is anticipated, but a better bet could be Johnny Murtagh's TIME TO REASON at 18/1 (Sky Bet, 16s general).
He only saw a racecourse for the first time in January but he's improved with racing, getting off the mark at Fairyhouse in June before winning on his handicap debut at the same track the following month off a mark of 82.
The son of Kyllachy had to make his own running that day and in his maiden win, but he looks sure to be suited by a proper gallop in a big handicap and he's drawn right among the pace with Kelinni berthed close by.
He ran a cracker when third in a good race at the Curragh last time off a similar mark following a six-week break and Murtagh means business by booking William Buick to replace a 7lb claimer.
The forecast rain won't be a problem to him and from a good low draw in five a bold bid is anticipated.
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: +389.04pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 09/09/16.
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