Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 17.02.2017

Friday, 17th February 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow….

The big race for our contrarian betting purposes this weekend is the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase up at Haydock on Saturday (3.15).

It seems a funny time to run such a big trial – three days after the weights for this year’s edition of the Aintree showpiece have been published. But what do I know? I’m not a race-planner….

The upshot is that several horses in tomorrow’s Haydock race get an early opportunity to demonstrate that they are better than the mark the official handicapper has allotted them for the Grand National….

Win, lose or draw tomorrow – or any time before April 8th come to that – and they’ll still run off that same allotted mark in the big one.

Any horse in the Liverpool field that has been ‘minded’ to this point of the season is now free to go out and run to its best – safe in the knowledge that victories or good runs won’t attract any extra weight for the National….

But our immediate concern is the Haydock race in and of itself. A field of 14 runners goes to post. The ground this morning is described as good to soft.

The Met Office forecast is for some light rain tonight and more tomorrow ahead of racing. It could very well be soft by the time they go to post.

  • The way we play….

It is not the nature or purpose of this column to follow the market.

Quite the opposite. We make a point of ignoring the fancied horses and looking further down the list for runners the market might be under-estimating at the price….

We can see that Blaklion – winner of last season’s RSA Chase – is a bit of a class-act and could go well. But he’s too short for our tastes.

We understand that Vieux Lion Rouge – winner of this season’s Becher Chase – should be well suited to tomorrow’s task and goes well fresh. But he’s short enough in the betting too.

Here at Against the Crowd we don’t seek out ‘winners’ – after all, there is no one pre-determined outcome to any horse race….

Instead we seek out value – horses that could go well at the wrong price…. a price that under-estimates how competitive they will prove on the day….

  • The pick at the prices….

The one that catches my eye in tomorrow’s race at an each-way price is WARRANTOR at 20s.

Warren Greatrex got off to a slow start this season. But he’s reaping the benefit of that now. His yard is flying at a time of the year when it normally goes a bit quiet.

His last 18 runners have produced 5 winners and quite a few places. Greatrex reports his string as being in ‘top form’ and ‘rude health’….

It’s a good time to catch the yard shooting at a big prize with a horse expected to break through and win a decent pot this season – at a big price too….

The Welsh National at Chepstow over Christmas was the original target for Warrantor this term. But he missed the cut and didn’t get in.

That must have been gut-wrenching for connections because the horse would have got his ideal set of circumstances – a low weight to carry over a marathon trip on soft ground – and he was quietly fancied to go well….

This small horse needs a trip and a light-weight to carry. He got that combination in November on good to soft ground at Cheltenham where he ran an absolute cracker – and might have won. He gets that much-preferred combination of circumstances tomorrow – and his price overlooks that fact….

He’s not in the Grand National. The ground there would be too quick for him. The Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter – where it sometimes comes up soft – might be an option he’s being readied for.

But soft ground can’t be relied on in March and it would make sense to strike now and win a pot while there is still juice in the ground. I see the horse showing up fit and ready to fire tomorrow.

If that’s the case, then he can go well. In ideal conditions a mark of 135 should be more than surmountable for a horse that has only raced 8 times over fences to date and is open to bags of improvement.

The 20s is a nice each-way price in my book….

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (3.15 @ Haydock) ....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – WARRANTOR each-way (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.

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  • The last word….

That’s all from me for now.

I’ll be back a little later today with ATC Extra.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd