Horse Racing Tips: Paul Jacobs’ 4 value plays across the weekend

Top class action from both sides of the English channel and PJ's on the value hunt.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Saturday 15:00 Ascot – Flaming Rib

This looks a really good renewal of this Group 3 with Wokingham Handicap winner, Rohaan, having run well in two Group Two events as well as was as a close up third in the Group One Sprint Cup since his Ascot success set to line up, while handicap king Commanche Falls gets a deserved crack at this level and Al Suhail is a fascinating runner over six furlongs for the very first time in a 16-race career which included a success in last year’s Group Two Challenge Stakes.

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All three have solid claims with the last two in particular set to benefit from the wet weather forecast, but the value play could well be Hugo Palmer’s charge, Flaming Rib. The three-year-old has run well in three consecutive Group 1 events, including when just behind Rohaan in the Sprint Cup at Haydock Park without running on his favoured soft ground to date.

That is about to change on Saturday afternoon and, having led into the final furlong at the Merseyside track on fast ground, this looks a cracking opportunity to bounce back to winning form under the impressive Rossa Ryan. Of the major outsiders, course and distance winner Vadream could well make his presence felt despite a moderate run in the Ayr Gold Cup when well fancied following a smart run in the Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket.

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Saturday 15:21 Redcar – Maria Bramwell

As always seems the case at this time of the year, the change in the going at the big three flat cards will play a huge part in the outcome of the featured races on Saturday. Strangely enough Redcar, which normally experiences soft ground at this time of the year, will possibly see the least rain, but there is still likely to be a modicum of dig in the ground.

I think it is hard to get away from the favourite, Cold Case, following a narrow win in the big sales at Doncaster after running really well in the Gimcrack Stakes at York and based on results on the straight course at the Cleveland track this season he also looks nicely sited in box number eight. However, this column is all about value and being the fourth highest rated in the field I think that the James Garfield filly Maria Bramwell looks too big at a double figure price.

Unbeaten on her first two starts, in maiden and then a strong finishing winner of the National Stakes at Sandown Park, that run suggested that a sixth furlong would suit. She lost her race at the start in the Lowther Stakes but still did well to be beaten a shade under four lengths and then fast ground at Salisbury and Ayr didn’t suit her.

So back on turf with some give, down in grade and over a sixth furlong here she could be a huge player. Yes, she had plenty to find with Barefoot Angel on that last run in Scotland, but the key to her chance has to be her settling off the pace and ridden with patience. If Jack Mitchell can get her to drop the bit early on then she looks the main piece of value on offer here ahead of Kevin Ryan trained Washington Heights.

Sunday 13:50 Longchamp – Habana

Going up to a mile from her debut and in a much quicker run race saw Andre Fabre’s Ardent take a big forward and she showed a useful turn of foot to put that Deauville minor contest to bed in a matter of strides. One of a number of Frankel fillies in the field for this renewal of the Prix Marcel Boussac at ParisLongchamp on Sunday, the fact that the French maestro is happy to to step up to this level straight away is a clue in itself and I shall be surprised if she isn’t at the helm at the sharp end this contest and whichever filly beats her will probably win.

Wed is the highest rated in the line-up and put up a smooth winning display in the Group 2 Prix Calvados at Deauville with a good time figure to boot and if she takes the next logical next step forward her chance is clear to see. But it is the Kingman filly Habana that catches my eye and one that could be underestimated as so many German raiders are time and again at this meeting.

Winner of both of her starts, it is worth going online to see her success in the second of those races when she landed a Group 3 on home turf. Out the back early on in a moderately run contest, the pace lifted markedly turning into the straight and she took her time to find top gear, but once her jockey got into her, she fairly flew home, getting on top well inside the final furlong of that seven furlong race on soft ground.

She has a remarkably fluent action for a filly that seems to act so well with dig, but the key to her chance here is the extra furlong which she is likely to devour. On any sort of comparative figures she has a bit to find with similarly unexposed juvenile fillies, but that win to the eye was hugely impressive and yet again a horse from Bavaria could be underrated in the market place.

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Sunday 15:05 Longchamp – Sealiway (each way), Bubble Gift (each way)

This is without doubt a sub-standard Arc and connections of Adayar may well have made the right call with the going set to be very soft, although that doesn’t mean it won’t be the same at Ascot on Champions Day. So, we could well have the same set of circumstances that we had 12 months ago with the view that the title holder Torquator Tasso has no more to do than last year.

The one differential is the presence of the lightly raced and still improving Luxembourg, but I am not so sure that a testing surface on his first foray over a mile and a half is exactly what he wants. If this race were over 10 furlongs I would make him an even-money favourite, but this is a completely different kettle of fish, especially if they go a half decent gallop and a slog could dent his speed.

Last year Torquator Tasso defied a draw of 12, from 18 he will probably need a bit more luck and talent to win from there. From stall 10 last year, Sealiway was held up firmly in the rear by Franck Blondel and could never get competitive, eventually finishing a never-nearer fifth.

Like the title holder, his task is made slightly more difficult by running from box number 15, but this will be only his second start over the trip and he showed last time out at in a slowly run Group 3 here that he is crying out for a return over this extra yardage. With further rain not a problem I believe he is hugely over priced to hit the frame at a mammoth price.

I am also going to go to war with the Nathaniel colt, Bubble Gift, who was a never-nearer eighth last year, beaten a shade over five lengths. The forecast is mixed through Saturday, but again if there is more rain and they go a half decent pace then this stamina packed four-year-old could easily hit the four late on at an even bigger price than my other play.

I have to be honest and say that Torquator Tasso is a more likely winner than either of my picks, but you do the maths, either of those two to be placed or a win bet on the German horse at around 7/1? Plus you get the outside chance of’one of ours hitting the jackpot.

Westover is well worth another chance to prove his King George running all wrong and if Rob Hornby can get him to settle early on from a lovely draw he is also a player along with Onesto. The latter has a cracking chance of reversing Irish Champion form with the favourite and indeed French Derby running with Vadeni back over this mile and a half.

This weekend’s horse racing tips

Saturday 15:00 Ascot – Flaming Rib
Saturday 15:21 Redcar – Maria Bramwell
Sunday 13:50 Longchamp – Habana
Sunday 15:05 Longchamp – Sealiway (each way), Bubble Gift (each way)

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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