Improving Crookstown a value bet

Ben Case's Crookstown looks to be improving


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Betting Tip: Crookstown @ 7/1 with coral

It’s the second day of Doncaster’s Lincoln meeting but with most of the races real head-scratchers, I’m turning to the jumps action at Ascot for the day’s best bet.

The feature on the seven-race card is the 2m1f handicap chase for novices (due off 3.40pm) and all nine runners bring winning form to the table. Four of them were in action at the Cheltenham Festival with Alan King’s Turn Over Sivola faring best with his fifth (of 20) in the Grand Annual, while Kim Bailey’s Un Ace was very disappointing in the Festival Plate when fancied. The latter could bounce back here with Tony McCoy up, but I much prefer the chances of the improving CROOKSTOWN.

Ben Case’s charge has been doing all his running at the smaller tracks and has won a couple of handicaps already this season, including last time out at Taunton. That was a three-course race admittedly but he was the outsider of the trio and was good value for his three-length margin of victory. Afterwards, his jockey Kielan Woods said: “We’ve yet to see the best of Crookstown. He needs better ground and a bigger field.” That’s exactly what he’s faced with today.

The going was “good to soft” when he won on his seasonal reappearance at Uttoxeter in October and with ground conditions identical this afternoon, he may well be good enough to defy a further 6lb rise, getting weight from his main rivals. The aforementioned Un Ace has been doing his winning over much further and a bigger danger may be Richard Lee’s Top Gamble, who was last seen chasing home Vibrato Valtat at Warwick. A mark of 153 looks on the high side, though, and this front-runner may set the race up for the strong-travelling selection.

Betting Tip: Crookstown @ 7/1 with coral

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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