Thursday, 7th July 2016
Good afternoon, contrarians,
On the menu today….
Saturday is the real action day for us this weekend – with big races at Newmarket’s July meeting and York. This earlier part of the week is serving as a bit of an aperitif – the small but tasty drink that serves to sharpen the appetite ahead of the main course….
Day 2 of Newmarket’s July meeting brings with it the first of two G1 events run over the next 48 hours – the Falmouth Stakes (4.15) and I’m minded to back Kevin Ryan’s ASHADIHAN at a nice each-way price – she’s 28s generally this afternoon.
On the face of it a 6th place finish last time out in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot – beaten more than 4 lengths – leaves her with plenty to find with plenty of tomorrow’s opposition. But that race wasn’t straight-forward.
For a start she made a clumsy exit from the stalls – giving the rest of the field a start – and had to run her race from the rear. And by the time they hit the bend she was already being ridden hard by Jamie Spencer.
The truth is she did very well to plug on and finish where she did and her performance was better than it looks on paper. Given a better start and less adversity then she would have finished closer.
Prior to that she won a G3 at Lingfield on the all-weather – despite not enjoying the track. After the race Jamie Spencer said he thought she’d have won by 5 lengths if the track had played more to his mount’s strengths.
And it is notable that Spencer sweated down to his minimum weight that day in order to take the ride. He wouldn’t have done that lightly and it says something about the regard the filly is held in at Kevin Ryan’s yard.
This is a competitive race. It’s a G1 and the opposition are top-quality as you’d expect. As a 3-year-old – despite the weight-for-age concession – it is a tough assignment. I make no bones about that. But the bottom line is that I reckon she’s better than the price.
I reckon the market is taking that Ascot form literally and my take is that she’s undervalued. The ground will suit, I think the straight track will suit better than a bend and I reckon she can out-run the big price tomorrow afternoon.
It’s a price-based pick - pure and simple. But that’s the game here at Against the Crowd.
Trainers are often creatures of habit and Mark Johnston has a habit of sending competitive runners into the bet365 Handicap (4.45).
His last 25 participants produced 4 wins (including the last 3 renewals) and 5 places between them. Several of those who ran big races had been well-beaten on their previous starts.
I’m prepared to support the continuation of Johnston’s habit. He sends two into this season’s edition and the one I like is BATHOS at 20s with William Hill.
He looked very progressive back in May at Goodwood over the 9f trip. Afterwards his trainer raised the prospect of him running in the Britannia at the Royal Meeting – but wondered out loud whether the mile trip might be on the sharp side for his charge.
As it turned out, the horse didn’t go for that race. Next time out he went to Epsom on Derby day to run in a 10f handicap. He got well beaten – finishing 13th of 15 and 27 lengths off the leader.
But I’m prepared to draw a line through that form. Bathos is a big horse. It is well-documented that he doesn’t like tight tracks. My best guess is that he probably didn’t appreciate coming down the hill at Epsom either. It’s a track that doesn’t suit every horse. And I reckon Bathos is one of them.
I’m happy to go on the evidence of Goodwood and on the evidence of last year when Bathos put together a sequence of 4 wins in Nursery handicaps. Not many horses do that.
He’s still on a nice mark – he came down a pound to 89 as a result of Epsom – he likes the July tack having won over a mile on it. And the stiff finish will play to his strengths tomorrow afternoon. He can get back on-track tomorrow and outrun the price.
Only William Hill and Skybet are up with prices as we go to press. I suspect if you are free to watch the prices as they go up on Oddschecker that you might get a bit bigger.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Falmouth Stakes (4.15 Newmarket)....
In the bet365 Handicap (4.45 Newmarket)....
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow afternoon with my contrarian picks for a very busy Saturday.