Sunday 22 October 2017

Qemah looks best value bet in tight contest

Gregory Benoist rides Qemah. Photo: Getty Images
Gregory Benoist rides Qemah. Photo: Getty Images

Wayne Bailey

There have been numerous studies done on how a gambler's body reacts to wins, losses and also the ups and downs of when a wager is in-play in markets like racing, football and poker.

When there's a lot at stake, it will be no surprise to most that there's a big increase in cardiovascular activity and lots of chemicals are released by the brain, which is partly why it can become addictive for some people.

I don't want to trivialise the issue but I'd say the reading would be off the scale had I wore a heart monitor when one of last week's each-way selections, Cote D'Azur, was racing in the Cambridgeshire Handicap.

Priced 50/1 with the bookmakers, Les Eyre's gelding was much bigger on the exchanges so I backed him there, where he eventually went off at 198/1 for the win and 25/1 for a place.

Good ride

He took the lead a couple of furlongs out under a good ride from Paul Hanagan and, when he hit 3/1 in-running, I had to hold my breath and look away.

Eventually, he finished third and, while you'd think a couple of hundred Euro for the place would have made me happy, I couldn't help looking at the potential return figure on my screen for the win, which would have been a couple of grand.

It's been a while since I landed a massive-priced bet like that and, backing at those odds, you can expect extremely long losing streaks. But I've hit the crossbar a couple of times this year which is somewhat comforting, I suppose.

Anyway, I've decided to use some of the place profits at Newmarket today and I'm confident that the French raider Qemah can run far better than her early odds of 6/1 suggest in the Group One Fillies' Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (2.40) for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.

She finished fourth to one of today's rivals Roly Poly in the Prix Rothschild in July, although that changed last time when the selection finished fifth in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, Roly Poly one place behind.

It was a little disappointing from both and today's likely favourite Persuasive was ahead of them in third, but I'm going to draw a line through that race as the gallop appeared a little off.

Indeed, even-money favourite Winter was also beaten by the 20/1 shot Hydrangea although in fairness to Hydrangea, she was since runner-up in the Prix de l'Opera at Chantilly with Winter ninth in the Arc.

Persuasive was behind the selection in the Prix Rothschild so it will be very interesting to see how this battle pans out if the race is truly run.

There's not much between them in my book but with Persuasive set to go off around 9/4, Qemah is surely the value option here.

At Ascot, consider backing Blue Point which will be short in the betting but hopefully a shade odds-against in the Group Three John Guest Bengough Stakes (3.0) for Charlie Appleby under William Buick.

Third in the Group One Commonwealth Cup, he sets the standard on form although the one concern is that his best displays come on firmer ground.

I'm a big fan of the Roger Charlton-trained Makzeem, and felt a little short-changed when I backed him in a big-field handicap at Ascot for which he was well-in at the weights.

It was one of those races where the field split and although he ran well, he finished up sixth overall.

I didn't back him last week at Newmarket where he won an 18-runner handicap at 5/1 so I hope I haven't missed the boat, but he's racing off the same mark of 97 today in the totescoop6 Challenge Cup (3.35 Ascot) with a 6lb penalty.

Considering he's due to race off 105 in the future, that means he's a couple of pounds ahead of the handicapper, so a price of 15/2 looks reasonably generous.

Each-way

Madame Bounty slips in nicely at the bottom of the weights for the British EBF Breeders' Fillies Series Sprint Handicap at Newmarket (2.05) with a mark of 87.

She was last of six runners off that rating at Newbury in August, although that race is overlooked as she still had her hood on when the stalls opened and was left playing catch up on unsuitable softer ground.

Madame Bounty was disappointing previously when finishing down the field in a handicap at Kempton but, once again, she has excuses as the gallop was not as strong as she likes.

That race came on the back to two wins in-a-row so there is hope there, and the good ground here will help her cause.

Jockey Hollie Doyle claims 3lbs and at prices of 16/1 and higher yesterday evening, she can be taken each-way.

*Last week's each-way selection Cote D'Azur was placed at 50/1.

Today's selections

2.05 Newmarket: Madame Bounty (e/w)

2.25 Ascot: Waldgeist

2.40 Newmarket: Qemah

3.0 Ascot: Blue Point

3.35 Ascot: Makzeem

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