The contrarian perspective on Day 2 at the Festival....

Last Updated: 12.03.2019

Tuesday, 12th March 2019

The contrarian perspective on Day 2 at the Festival….

At Against the Crowd we take an early-bird-catches-the-worm view when it comes to seeking out the value in the big races....

We believe in being first-up and best-dressed. We like to have a go at the early prices before the rest of the market is paying much attention....

Right now, most attention will be focused on this afternoon’s races. If you happened to miss our day 1 selections, you can catch-up here....

But the prices are up for Day 2 and I already know what I want to be on. So, there’s no point in hanging about. We crack on....

Our week hots up on Day 3 and Day 4 of the Festival, when we have three races on each afternoon to target. The first half of the week is a little more leisurely....

Tomorrow, our focus is the big-field Coral Cup (2.50) – a Grade 3 handicap hurdle over the 2m5f trip and 10-flights of hurdles on the Old Course....

  • Teak-tough and in with a big chance....

5lb Irish conditional Katie O’Farrell is a tough kid. Back in August she won a decent handicap at Galway on Low Sun for Willie Mullins. She was up against the top jockeys. And she did it with a broken leg....

And she’s got talent as well as grit. She rides out for Mullins and for Gordon Elliott. And while she probably doesn’t get as many rides as she would like, she makes the most of the opportunities she’s given....

She’s well in profit on her rides for Mullins and Elliott. Also on the rides she’s taken for Shark Hanlon, Pat Kelly and Edward Cawley. Better still, the figures tell you she can get the job done at a price too....

I think she’s got a great opportunity to add to that record in tomorrow’s Coral Cup on the Willie-Mullins-trained CALIE DU MENSIL....

The 7yo mare has not had much racing since October – she’s been seen just twice and arrives at Cheltenham a fresh horse....

In the first run at Navan in a decent big-field handicap she was backed into favouritism but disappointed and was pulled-up....

Last time at Leopardstown in another decent handicap, she produced a good performance just a neck in arrears to Dallas Des Pictons – currently a short-price for Friday’s Martin Pipe....

That was a step-up in performance over 3-miles for the first time. She steps back to 2m5f tomorrow, but I’m not concerned about that. The Irish race was run at a pedestrian pace. That won’t be the case tomorrow and a fast 2m5f and a stiff finish could prove ideal....

Mullins applies a first-time tongue-tie – which could produce more improvement. And there is nobody with a better record of winning Festival handicap hurdle races with a claimer in the saddle than Mullins. He takes weight off judiciously....

I think the mare has a real live chance of helping O’Farrell fulfil her ambition of winning a Festival race....

We must tip our hat to Mullins for giving her a shot – and I’m pretty sure he won’t be handing her a damp squib. This one can run a big one at the general 20s....

  • Two-against-the-field....

Sticking with the ladies, the other one I want to be with tomorrow afternoon is Racheal Blackmore’s mount, DANCING ON MY OWN....

He’s still quite inexperienced with just 4 runs under his belt and he is yet to win. But he has done enough in his races to date to suggest that he is pretty good. He is certainly one of the best maidens in racing right now....

He’s put up good efforts in two big-field maidens – so we know the traffic issues won’t be too much for him tomorrow – and last time he was tried in G1 novice company. They think a bit of him at home....

All his running so far has been done over 2-miles and tomorrow he gets the chance to go further for the first time – and I am pretty sure it will not only suit but will also serve to improve him....

For sure trainer Henry De Bromhead is chucking his horse in at the deep-end. But this additional 5 furlongs will suit and off 145 this horse could prove to be very generously weighted....

I just think the general 25s is a big price about a horse that could be anything and is conspicuous by his very presence in the race....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Coral Cup (2.50 @ Cheltenham).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – CALIE DU MENSIL (20s generally) & DANCING ON MY OWN (25s 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.

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for now.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my contrarian take on Day 3 at the Festival....

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

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd