Find out who Matt Brocklebank fancies at Wolverhampton and Sandown this weekend as our man goes on the hunt for more big-priced winners.
Value Bet tips: Saturday, March 11
1pt e.w. Dubai Station in 1.30 Wolverhampton at 11/1 (William Hill 1/5 1,2,3,4)
1pt win Dark Moon Rising in 2.05 Wolverhampton at 16/1 (General)
1pt win Knickerbockerglory in 2.25 Sandown at 20/1 (General)
Take two at Wolves
Wolverhampton looks highly likely to be front and centre come Saturday afternoon and there are a couple of interesting runners in the handicaps I want to have on side.
Firstly, the six-year-old DUBAI STATION ran a perfectly satisfactory race on his debut for his new yard here last month and it’s not difficult to envisage the wily Stuart Williams really sweetening this horse up as the season goes on. He actually won second time out last year and looks a good bet at double-figure odds in the Huge Daily Boosts Only BetUK Handicap.
A Group 3 winner in his youth for Karl Burke, Dubai Station proved quite frustrating during his subsequent spell with Robert Cowell, but the ability was evidently still there including when signing off for the Cowell team with a close third behind Strong Power in a course and distance contest back in October.
That form didn’t work out brilliantly well, but it proved the selection was still well capable of mixing in this sort of company and it was interesting to see Williams dispense with the usual cheekpieces and replace them with a first-time tongue-tie on his first run back.
The assessor has dropped him another pound for the recent outing, when held up early on after missing the kick and never able to get on terms as those who dominated the pace fought out the finish.
By contrast, there appears to be a lot more pressure on up front in this field, the likes of Sir Robin, Cuban Breeze, Baldomero and Soldier’s Minute having all raced prominently at various points over the years.
That should set things up nicely for one like Dubai Station and although he’s pretty versatile over sprint trips, I suspect the return to six furlongs is going to play more to his strengths here given the run-style and at this stage in his career.
Stall nine certainly doesn’t put me off as he’ll be tucked in early, and I’ll back him each-way to at least pick up some of the pieces under Rossa Ryan as he’s entitled to be sharper for the prep run.
The other one to be on at a price is DARK MOON RISING in the SpreadEx Sports Lincoln Trial Handicap.
This is a cracking race with any number in with a serious shot at landing the spoils but, at the odds, I’ll chance a win-only dart on Kevin Ryan’s returning four-year-old as the trainer does really well with horses of this nature.
Like so many who show smart form at two and win first time out as three-year-olds, things got tough for Dark Moon Rising after beating Harrow in a conditions race at Chelmsford on his seasonal debut 12 months ago, but that at least showed he’s possibly not the hardest to get fit on the gallops at home.
His next two efforts in 2022 arguably represented a step up in pure form terms as he was fourth to Checkandchallenge in a warm Listed race at Newcastle before filling the same spot behind subsequent Derby winner Desert Crown in the Dante Stakes at York.
He didn’t kick on from that later in the year, including when stepped right up to a mile and three-quarters back at York in October, but the handicapper has relented quite rapidly and he starts back here on a mark of just 93 having been 102 going into Royal Ascot last summer.
Gelded over the winter, dropped right down in trip and returned to an all-weather surface, there are plenty of positives for the son of Night Of Thunder who is bred for middle-distances but has stronger form over the mile anyway and could be the surprise package of the weekend.
Skelton fancied to nick valuable prize
If Sandown beats the freeze, the Betfair Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle is the biggest betting race of the day and lightly-raced eight-year-old Playful Saint is an obvious one towards the head of the betting as he enjoyed himself in the Leicester mud when last seen and looks to have been laid out for this.
However, at a much bigger price, his Dan Skelton stablemate KNICKERBOCKERGLORY is surely being underestimated in the betting as he looks to take a leaf out of recent Betfair Hurdle winner Aucunrisque’s book in switching back to hurdles from novice chasing in search of a valuable pot.
Just like Aucunrisque, Knickerbockerglory has made a bright start to life over the larger obstacles but with his mark rising to 133 in that sphere, it’s no surprise to see connections looking to capitalise on his slightly lower rating here (129).
He was dead progressive when last seen jumping hurdles too, winning three of his last four starts at this discipline, and the son of Fame And Glory has a clear preference for deeper conditions as well.
His lifetime form on right-handed tracks reads 211311 so while the good recent chasing form has come going left-handed, he could be even happier getting back on an anti-clockwise course, while the booking of Tristan Durrell to take off an extra 5lb in the saddle looks a clever move given the likely conditions if the inspection is passed.
Preview posted at 1500 GMT on 10/03/23
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