Where my contrarian money is going on Day 4 at Royal Ascot....

Last Updated: 17.06.2021

Thursday, 17th June 2021

Where my contrarian money is going on Day 4 at Royal Ascot….

Day 2 proved much kinder to me than Day 1….

Layfayette and Brunch ran competitive races in the Royal Hunt Cup – running into 6th and 7th of the 29 that went to post….

I didn’t back them each-way myself – but I know some of you went that way with bookmakers paying out on 6th and 7th places. So, fair play to you….

Then Lola Showgirl did what I thought she might – putting it up to the Kensington Palace field from the word go and challenging them to reel her in. Nothing managed to overhaul her and she landed the money in gutsy fashion….

Speaking figuratively (of course), that there is a filly with a big set of nuts. Me saying she could tough it out from the front is one thing – the filly going out and doing it is quite another….

It was a nice ride from 5lb claimer Laura Pearson. She knew what the plan was, she knew what she was out there to do – and she got the job done in determined fashion….

When the bad days come, I move on swiftly. So too with the good days. It’s one day and one winner. It doesn’t mean a thing. We move on to the next race….

There’s another day of racing ahead of us today – get my selections here. And there’s another big day tomorrow – with the Sandringham, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse to shoot at….

Let’s crack on and see if I can hit something else….

  • In the Sandringham....

It is a very rare occurrence that James Doyle gets down to 8-09 – you can count on the fingers of one hand the instances across the last 5-years ….

He’s doing it for the ride on Charlie Appleby’s A’SHAARI in tomorrow’s Sandringham at 5.00….

I reckon that’s a sign that connections are confident the step back to a mile from 10f is going to suit this Dubawi filly….

She’s been disappointing to date – given her flashy pedigree. And it may be that the 10f trip – which she’s run over on both appearances this term – doesn’t see her to best effect….

On her one go last year as a juvenile, she looked impressive over the 7f trip under William Buick. It was Doyle who rode her last time at Newbury – where she got smashed – and it may be that he’s invested in this drop back to the mile….

Perhaps it was his suggestion. Whatever, he’s invested enough in the project to boil down to his minimum riding weight – and I’ll swing the bat at the general 25s on that basis….

We’re still up in the air with the weather. Last night’s forecast rain didn’t fall. But they’re expecting plenty ahead of tomorrow’s card. A’Shaari won her maiden on soft and that’s a plus. So too the fact that the yard is going well right now….

She’s got plenty to prove. But she’s raced just three times and if she’s been denied opportunities at her correct trip, she’s a candidate for significant improvement….

There are always a lot of ifs, buts and maybes when it comes to 3yo handicaps – and especially with this specific horse – but the obvious is almost always priced in. The bigger rewards are almost always about seeing something that isn’t obvious – and swinging the bat at the price….

Each-way backers take note: Sky Bet are paying out 1/5 the odds on the first 7 home. William Hill, Unibet, Betfred and Boylesports are up at 1/5 the first 6. Bet365 are 1/4 the odds the first 5. You can get 1/5 the odds on the first 5 generally….

  • In the Duke of Edinburgh....

Roger Varian’s VALYRIAN STEEL looks fair value to me at 12s for tomorrow’s Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at 5.35….

He’s done nothing wrong so far. He ran well in a York handicap at the end of last term – suggesting he’ll handle a bigger field….

This term he put an underwhelming return at Epsom in April behind him with a brace of wins on the AW over tomorrow’s trip – posting two successive new ‘tops’ in the process and looking like there’s plenty more to come yet….

He’s drawn nicely in stall 4 and on a mark of 95 he’s one of those in the field who has the scope to be at least 10lbs in hand….

I’m two-against-the-field in this one (win only) with Roger Charlton’s WIN O’CLOCK my second selection at 16s….

He did well in a York handicap last time – finishing 4th of 15 and beaten just 4.5 lengths over the 12f trip. That was on good to soft and this 4yo will be one who benefits form the overnight rain that’s forecast….

Something else he has in his favour – William Buick in the saddle. In my opinion Buick rides the Ascot bends as well as just about anybody in the weighing room….

He’s underlining that fact again this week with form figures around the bends that read: 134126 – and he’s an interesting booking for Roger Charlton who doesn’t use the Godolphin man very often….

Each-way backers take note: Sky Bet are paying 1/5 the odds the first 6. Place terms of 1/5 the first 5 are available generally….

  • In the Palace of Holyroodhouse....

MO CELITA is unbeaten in five since joining Adrian Nicholls from her previous yard in Ireland in April….

She’s been doing it in lower grade races – but she’s been doing it very comfortably indeed, improving for every run in the sequence, and there’s potentially loads more to come yet….

This is a big step up in class but she’s earned her shot, she’s a filly on a roll, and I expect another big run tomorrow. The 14s about her is more than acceptable….

The 5lb claimer whose been riding the filly throughout her wining spree has been ditched for this one in favour of champion jockey Oisin Murphy….

When a horse has gone up the handicap to the tune of two stone it’s probably more commonplace to be thinking about putting a claimer on….

Connections clearly think she’s still got plenty more to give – and I see the addition of experience in the saddle as a positive….

This horse certainly won’t mind the forecast rain. She’ll handle cut in the ground better than most….

Each-way backers take note: William Hill & Sky Bet are paying 1/5 the odds the first 6. Place terms of 1/5 the first 5 are available generally….

Nick’s contrarian picks….

To recap on where my idea of the value lies tomorrow afternoon….

In the Sandringham Stakes (5.00 @ Ascot).

In the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (5.35 @ Ascot).

In the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes (6.10 @ Ascot).

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.

  • The final word….

That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back tomorrow. Meanwhile….

Anything to report? Anything to say? Anything to share? Contact me at: nick.pullen@oxonpress.co.uk

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd