The pick of the prices at Cheltenham....

Last Updated: 27.01.2017

27th January 2017

Good afternoon, friends,

In today’s ATC Extra bulletin….

  • A lame and sickly portrait of entitlement….
  • The pick of the prices….
  • Additional bets at Cheltenham & Doncaster….

A lame and sickly portrait of entitlement….

If any further proof were needed that modern-day bookmakers are mere bean-counters when compared to their predecessors of yesteryear, it came last week in a Scottish courtroom where Coral is fighting a case against one of its own punters….

The punter backed Rangers for relegation from the SPL in 2012. Coral laid the bet at odds of 2500/1….  

Rangers started the next season in Scottish Division Three. The punter argues that Rangers were relegated. Coral say Rangers were demoted. The court will decide which semantic interpretation is the correct one….

What was interesting was the attack Coral’s barrister launched on the punter’s character.

He accused the punter of concealing the fact he’d formerly made a living as a bookmaker and was in fact a semi-professional gambler who was ‘trying to make a profit’….

That’s quite a revealing comment. It tells you all you need to know about bookmaking in 2017. Coral are clearly trying to set a precedent….

One where bookmakers are cast as honest businesses laying honest bets to recreational punters who enjoy the thrill of losing money….

One where smart punters are redefined as greedy cheats who abuse and exploit vulnerable bookmakers in the small-minded pursuit of dirty profits….

It paints a lame and sickly portrait of an industry suffering from a chronic sense of gross and unfettered entitlement. Personally, it makes me feel like sticking my fingers down my throat…. 

But first, let’s get down to the business of the day. Let’s pull on the old cheating boots and see if we can’t embezzle a few quid off an honest and God-fearing bookmaker this weekend….

The pick of the prices….

If we’re going to ‘roll’ the bookie this weekend, then it will be in the Hugo’s Restaurant Barbados Trophy Handicap Chase at Cheltenham tomorrow (1.10) – a race contested by a field of 13 runners over the 21-furlong trip on the New course….

I’ve had every adjective in the book thrown at me over the years. Brave, foolish, reckless, bloody-minded, pig-headed….

I’ve had a few nouns come my way too – nutter, simpleton, clown, menace, pipe and a few more that don’t cut the mustard for a family publication such as this….

No doubt there have been times when I’ve deserved a good berating. I don’t deny it.

Playing the way I do – purposefully avoiding the shorties and going out on a limb at the prices – I’m always going to be inviting the lambastations (I just made that word up) of the critics.

But you don’t profit from surprise winners at big prices unless you bet them. And betting them often means going against conventional wisdom and market sentiment. It can mean you look like a clown.

You need to be bloody-minded. You need to be a bit of a nutter. If you weren’t, you’d play it safe. You wouldn’t risk getting it so wrong – so publically. Instead of dying on your own, you’d curl up with the crowd and accept the common fate….

But who’d want that? What kind of punting solider is it that leads a retreat? I hope never to find out.

Instead I stick to my contrarian guns and wonder if Emma Lavelle’s FOX APPEAL isn’t over-priced at 33s

Richard Johnson has been key to his horse’s recent revival. It was Johnson who suggested fitting the horse with a tongue-tie after riding him at Ascot in November – a move that improved the horse next-time-out at Newbury.

It was Johnson who rode him to his first win in two years at Ludlow in December – producing something close to a career-best RPR in the process.

It is Johnson who Lavelle has booked to ride the horse again tomorrow….

Fox Appeal is up in the weights to 144. But he’s been higher before and he could still be in an effective place. Especailly as the tongue-tie could well mean he’s a different horse to the one he was this time last year.

Yes, he’s prone to mistakes. But Johnson clearly has an affinity with the horse. And he’s one of the best men in the business for the job of putting the horse right.

There are negatives for sure. But they are factored into the big price. The horse has been firing again of late. He could well be in advance of his mark.

I just think he’s too big. I think the 33s is an each-way bet and I’m going to stick my neck out and take it….

To recap….

In the Hugo’s Restaurant Barbados Trophy Handicap Chase at Cheltenham tomorrow (1.10)….

  • FOX APPEAL @ 33s (Generally) 

Standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3. I’ll be backing the horse each-way….

Additional bets at Cheltenham & Doncaster….

My primary target tomorrow afternoon is the Skybet Handicap Chase up at Doncaster.

I can make a case for quite a few towards the top of the market, but my job is to find the value. And I’m going with one I believe to be a ‘live’ contender trading at a big each-way price….

In the Cleeve Hurdle – a trail for the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival – I’m taking on the short price favourite Unowhatimeanharry.

I’m taking advantage of some big prices further down the lost and supporting one I can see improving tomorrow afternoon….

You can get both these extra bets by simply taking a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….

Get my picks for the Skybet & the Cleeve right here….

That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd Extra