The contrarian word on day 2 at York....

Last Updated: 16.05.2018

Wednesday, 16th May 2018

The contrarian word on Day 2 at York….

One great thing about the flat season is that there is always plenty of decent action to be had midweek....

This week is one of those weeks – with York hosting the Dante meeting....

The purists will be focused on the classic trials and the other Group races. Here at ATC, the big-field handicap events are our beat. And we are always focused on bagging competitive bets at big prices....

We continue in that vein today, targeting tomorrow afternoon’s C2 Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Handicap (2.20) – in which 19 horses aged 4yo+ and rated 0 to 105 got at it up the Knavesmire’s 5f strip....

There are some nice bets to be had at prices. We’ll get to those in a moment. First, other business arising from last week’s racing....

  • Winners and losers....

There is more than one way to win or lose in handicap races. The race itself is one thing. What happens afterwards is something different again....

David Elsworth’s Ripp Orf won Saturday’s Victoria Cup at Ascot on just his second turf start off a mark of 83.

I’m pretty sure that connections will feel like they’ve won again this week with the official handicapper putting the horse up just 3lbs for the win to 86.

He’s open to mounds of improvement on turf – especially the type of quick racing surface he got for the first time ever on Saturday. He can surely go in again off a sub-90 rating....

And I reckon Patrick Chamings will be happy enough with a 2lb drop in the rating of Charles Molson....

Nothing was expected of this horse on Saturday. He was short of a gallop and the intention was to bring him on. A 2lb drop to 90 for producing nothing less than expected amounts to something for nothing.

It’s the same case with David O’Meara and his fresh-faced recruit, Escobar. He ran off 97 on Saturday but little or nothing was expected of him....

O’Meara is still finding out about the horse and trying to figure out whether the horse wants 7f, 8f, a straight or a bend....

Saturday’s race was a learning exercise. No more. No less. Little was delivered. We can’t know what was learned. But a 3lb drop to 94 on the back of a non-run is as good as money in the bank in the handicap sphere....

It’s poor old Zhui Feng that I feel sorry for this morning....

He got pipped by the winner off top-weight on Saturday and has now been put up to 108 from 106 – making it even difficult for him to defend the Hunt Cup crown he won at Royal Ascot last season....

  • Two-against-the-field....

Back to our target race for tomorrow – the Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Handicap at York (2.20).

Paul Midgley – a master-hand with the sprinters – has a solid record in this race. His five runners to date have produced form figures of 13404. He doesn’t send them without a chance.  I expect another good performance from his representatives this year

ORIENT CLASS is a nice bet at a big 25s. He was 4th in last season’s edition on good to soft ground....

He’s always been considered a soft-ground horse but for my money his best performances have come on genuine quick ground....

I like his chances of getting more competitive tomorrow on a solid surface. He’s only 2lbs higher this year than he was last and Aaron Jones’s 3lb claim compensates for that.

For me, the 7yo is effectively on a mark from which he can score. And unlike last year he isn’t drawn out on the wing-tip of the field. From stall 6 he’s in amongst it.

DESERT LAW might be 10-years-old now, but he showed signs last month at Epsom that the old fires are still burning brightly, and he can come again for that run....

On a mark of 95 he has slipped nicely down the scale on the back of his last couple of runs. He’s just 2lb ahead of the mark he won off at York over the extended 5f trip last August....

Luke Morris is booked for the ride for the first time since that afternoon and that’s surely a sign that Paul Midgley is anticipating a repeat performance. At the very least, he reckons his horse can get in the mix – whatever his age....

At 20s, I’m prepared to bet the old solider can roll back the years for one last hurrah on the Knavesmire.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….

In the Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Handicap (2.20 @ York).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ORIENT CLASS (25s generally) & DESERT LAW (20s generally)

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.

Get the latest odds here >>

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today.

Win, lose or draw – enjoy the racing....

I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow with my contrarian take on the action on Day 3 at York’s Dante meeting....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd