The contrarian word on Day 1 at Newmarket....

Last Updated: 11.07.2018

Wednesday, 11th July 2018

The contrarian word on Day 1 at Newmarket….

Encrypted and Tribal Quest are the horses the market has settled on for tomorrow afternoon’s bet365 Handicap (3.00) on the opening day of Newmarket’s July meeting....

Priced up at 7s, I wouldn’t be backing either of them....

They’re way too shot for this column – one that prides itself on always taking a contrarian approach and opposing the short horses in the market....

I especially wouldn’t want to be taking the price about Hugo Palmer’s Encrypted....

Yes, Ryan Moore is riding it – and that seldom represents a negative – but stall 2 isn’t a great berth in a race where the top-third of the draw has proved the best place to be across the last 5 renewals....

For sure, stats are just stats and prone to be overturned from time to time. It is not impossible to win from a low stall. Dancing Star did it for Andrew Balding as recently as 2016 out of stall 3....

But I’d be wanting something a bit better than 7s about Encrypted pulling of the same trick tomorrow. But that’s just me....

  • I’m on the Gosden horse....

Quite a few made the short list.  

I could make the case for Buridan and Embour. Also for Foxtrrot Lady given Andrew Balding’s record in this race....

But you can’t back them all. And in the final analysis it boils down to getting the best of the prices for me....

I haven’t found anything big enough to motivate me to go in each-way on one selections, so I’m doing my default trick and going two-against-the-field – backing both win only and foregoing the opportunity to play for place money....

First-up is John Gosden’s JAWWAAL at 12s. That’s a nice price about a Gosden horse in a handicap of this nature and it’s a nice price about a horse that comes into the race on the back of sequence of progressive efforts that suggest this is a horse on the upgrade....

The last of those efforts at York was easily the best and coincided with a step back to the 6f trip for the first time....

For sure, he got beaten into 9th of the 20 runners – Encrypted was the winner – and was 3.5 lengths in arrears at the finish....

But the bare figures don’t tell the full story of that first handicap performance. He was held-up in a race that developed on the front end and he was short of room inside the final furlong. He kept on though and my impression is that this stiffer 6f at Newmarket will play much more to his strengths....

Andrea Atzeni takes the ride on Jawwaal. Maybe Jim Crowley didn’t want to do – or couldn’t do – the 8-7. Either way, Atzeni is a quality replacement....

  • My second selection....

ROUNDHAY PARK is a big price at 20s and is my second selection...

He’s won 3 of his last 6 races – all of them at the minimum distance. The last win came at Ripon last month and he did it well considering he had to work hard to stay with the early pace....

He’s had a couple of goes at the 6f trip and it hasn’t gone right for him on the day....

But he looks every inch a horse that is going to improve again for a step-up in trip and he gets another opportunity to prove me – and trainer Nigel Tinkler – right tomorrow....

He’s on the right side of the draw in stall 20 and I think he’ll appreciate the strong pace a big field like this will put on. It will suit his come late and catch them style....

He ran very nicely in a decent-sized field at York in May – finishing 4th and only beaten just over a length despite getting warm before the race and then missing the break from the stalls....

If he puts his best foot forward, I can see him out-running his price....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the bet365 Handicap (3.00 @ Newmarket).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – JAWWAAL (12s generally) & ROUNDHAY PARK (20s generally)

Get the latest odds here >>

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 last word….

That’s all from me for today.

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

I’ll be back tomorrow with my take on Friday’s big-race action....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd