Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 06.01.2017

Friday, 6th January 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow afternoon….

Sandown hosts the best of the action for our purposes tomorrow afternoon….

The G1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle (2.25) provides the feature. The series final of the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (3.00) represents excellent back-up. It’s a proper big-field betting heat – just what we like….

The ground at the track is currently described as soft. They’ve had a few frozen patches – but the prognosis for racing going ahead is good with temperatures set to rise a little today and a little rain forecast overnight….

  • The value in the Tolworth….

Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have pretty much farmed this race between them over the last decade – taking 7 of the last 9 renewals.

Henderson fields no runner this time. In his absence, the market has come for the Nicholls runners – Capitaine. Colin Tizzard’s Finian’s Oscar is also popular.

The one I like at the prices is Harry Fry’s CHALONNIAL at quotes as big as 9s with Paddy Power. He’s 8s generally.

Connections have been very patient with this big, strong youngster and he showed signs that he’s ready to deliver on his promise when winning a big-field novice event on debut over hurdles at Bangor in fine style just before Christmas.

He ran a little green, which is understandable. But he drew clear approaching the last, stuck on and won comfortably in the end – putting 2.75 lengths between his back end and his closest pursuer. He won well. It was a performance full of promise.

He has a bit to find with the favourite – but that one has had more goes over timber and if Harry Fry’s 5yo kicks on from his Bangor performance, he can certainly run bigger and go much closer than his price suggests.

I think he’s value at the price. I’ll be backing him to win – but if you wanted to play for the place (the terms are 1/4 1-2), I wouldn’t try and talk you out of it. That’s your call.

  • Dynaste is favourite for the Veterans’ Handicap Chase….

I can understand why the market has moved for Dynaste in tomorrow’s Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final (3.00). He’s the runner with the serious back-class.

In his pomp, the 11yo grey was a serial feature of the top G1 events at trips up to 3-miles. His big day came in 2014 when he won the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.

It was only last March when he ran 7th in that same G1 race – beaten 20 lengths by Vautour.

Replicating anything like that last performance will be more than sufficient tomorrow afternoon. But he’s shown very little in his two appearances to date this term that encourages me to support him – especially at 7s.

But that’s just me. If you like David Pipe’s veteran, you might want to think about backing him at an enhanced price of 25s with 888sport.

  • Spank the bookie – you can get Dynaste at 25s….

It is the fashion for bookies to ‘buy’ new customers by offering big enhanced prices on fancied horses. They consider new customers worth the cost if the horse wins.

And, if you genuinely fancy a horse they’re offering at enhanced odds, why not take advantage?

You don’t owe the bookmaker any loyalty or any additional business subsequently. It’s mercenary, for sure – but this is a price war and the bookie would do it to you….

888sport are offering new account holders the opportunity to back Dynaste at 25s in tomorrow afternoon’s race – almost 4-times the standard price – to the tune of £10.00

Fancy the horse? Get the big value price here….

  • It is two-against-the-field for me….

I don’t like reaching for a big-price if I can’t really make a case for it. Striving to be different for the sakes of it doesn’t help anybody….

I’m happy to be a little more conservative if that’s where my rationale takes me – and that’s where it takes me tomorrow.

Paul Nicholls’s AERIAL might only be 10s in the market. But I’m happy enough with that. I think the one-time winner of the Greatwood Gold Cup has a great chance off a mark of just 134.

Back in November the 11yo demonstrated that there’s still plenty of sparkle in the pop bottle when winning in decent style at Fontwell first-time-up off a 525-day break….

He bounced next time out at Kelso – probably requiring more time to get over that return performance. The trip at Kelso would have been sharp-enough for him too.  

Having had a month to regather and recover he should be a serious a proposition tomorrow. On a mark of 134 and with claimer Jordan Williams taking an extra 7lbs off, I simply think he’s weighted to solid advantage over the opposition. And the cheek-pieces reapplied for the day, it looks like all systems go.

The 10s doesn’t appeal to me on an each-way basis. I’m going to go straight win and about Aerial and my second-pick, GAS LINE BOY at 11s.

A move to the yard of Ian Williams has served to rejuvenate this one-time inmate of the Phillip Hobbs yard. In his 4 appearances for Williams, he’s some blinders – producing form-figures of 2431 and performance ratings that stand up against the best of his earlier career….

Whether it is the Williams touch, the new surroundings or a combination of both, I couldn’t say. But the horse is responding. Last time out at Kelso, in the same race Aerial contested, he won easily – leaving the runner-up 11 lengths to the rear.

The horse is clearly thriving and whilst he’s been raised to a mark of 145 he gives the impression there is still more to come. A double-figure price about him is reasonable business.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle (2.25 @ Sandown)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – CHALONNIAL (9s Paddy Power & 8s Generally)

In the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (3.00 @ Sandown)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – AERIAL (10s generally) & GAS LINE BOY (11s 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 the moment….

I’ll be back with ATC Extra a little later today – where we’ll be targeting the prices in one of the handicaps.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd