Honest Vic Best Value Of The Season

Following up my earlier post (20s has gone to 16s), with some workings on this race.

On the face of it, it’s competitive and quite open. McFabulous really impressed me last time and I backed and tipped him for the Stayers in March. Still, he’s hellish short tomorrow. But he is one who will go on good ground, and the only others to appreciate it for certain are Honest Vic and Aux Ptits Soins. All three have registered their best Racing Post Rating on good ground.

Of the others, including Paisley Park, Lisnagar Oscar, Thyme Hill (2 worst performances were on good) and Summerville Boy, whose first outing this will be on good ground (top rating is on good to soft) we cannot be sure they’ll be at their best. On the formbook, the above, a fair slice of the market, ought to be disadvantaged by the ground, although nothing is sure. I’ve watched plenty of horses win then heard the trainer say, ‘Oh, I was convinced he needed – (fill in your going)’

Summerville Boy for example would be one who might well relish good ground, but I don’t think this is his trip. He’s a fine horse who just doesn’t see out 3 miles in top company imo.

Paisley Park had heart problems when disappointing in the Stayers Hurdle in March. He’s reported to be well now, but you can never tell what racing conditions will bring out. Lisnagar Oscar, another I tipped and backed in the Stayers 2021, ran well enough last time when he reportedly needed the race, but the evidence on him strongly suggests soft ground is what he wants. He won on good ground last year, but ran exactly a stone better on soft in March.

Honest Vic shares McFabulous’s profile as an improver, though we have much more data on Honest Vic, whose ratings have seen a slow but steady improvement curve for the last two years. There was no sudden jump in them until last December when he won at Kempton, improving on his previous best by 6lbs. He reproduced that rating when 5th in the Pertemps at the Festival, beaten six lengths. But on his seasonal reappearance he blew all his previous runs away with a Racing Post Rating of 154 – 15lbs better than anything he’d done.

So, where did that improvement come from? Well, his profile was that of a slow burner, and you could have expected it to continue, but for one thing: he went up in trip to 3 miles; his first run at that, and it could well be that this is the key to him (am slightly cautious in that he runs well fresh, and it was his first outing of the season).

He won that day with great enthusiasm, another thing I love to see in an improving horse. His yard is not that well known, Henry Daly, and that will go quite a way in ‘fooling’ the odds compilers. Daly is not in shining form, but is getting better. His strike rate for the last 14 days is nine percent, but for the past seven days it is 17%.

Honest Vic has so much going for him compared to his rivals, I rate him the best value bet of the season so far, at any double figure odds. I fear McFabulous on the win side, but unless Vic has an off day, he’ll be very difficult to keep out of the first three.

As well as backing him tomorrow, you ought to take the 66/1 about him for the 2021 Stayers Hurdle. He could be 50 points shorter tomorrow.

Warning: you’ll have guessed I am very keen on this value bet, all the more need to stress that you should never bet more than you can afford. My tips are for people who treat betting as a leisure activity and are sometimes willing to spend a fiver on something other than a cup of coffee in London.

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