Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 16.06.2017

Friday, 16th June 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow….

One of the big dilemmas for me in the big sprints is whether to stick with one selection and play for place money or go two-against the field – backing both horses win only….

I don’t have any hard-fast rules or specific methods that bring me down on one side or another. I take each race as I find it.

But if I fancy a couple above the rest at big prices, I go two-against-the-field. I’d rather go-for-broke than play it safe with one and the place going for me.

Two against the field is the call for tomorrow’s Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap up at Musselburgh (3.10). 

  • Two-against-the-field at Musselburgh….

First up is HARRY HURRICANE at this morning’s 16s.

I thought George Baker’s 5yo might have won last time out at York had he not met trouble in running. He was going very nicely when squeezed for room.

That was his first showing since February in Meydan. If he replicates that York effort he will be very much in the mix. If he can improve, as he’s entitled to do having had the pipe-opener, then better still.

He’s only 2lb higher than his last winning mark and I think he’s done sufficient to show that he remains a competitive proposition off a mark in the top-half of the 90s.

He’s berthed in stall 7 tomorrow afternoon. He’s in and around the pace in the race. Stepper Point, El Astronaute and Caspian Prince certainly won’t be hanging about. Our lad will get a good tow into the race and will be able to do what he likes to do and arrive on the scene late-on.

These sprints are always wide-open affairs. Plenty always have chances. But Harry Hurricane represents an in-form yard, he should be a little fresher than many of his opponents and at 16s there’s a lot to like about him.

The other one I like is Paul Midgley’s GAMESOME – at 20s.

Fair enough, this one hasn’t managed to get his head in front since winning as a juvenile 23 races ago. But he’s been shaping very consistently over his last half-a-dozen runs and if his day is going to come then I take the view that day isn’t very far away.

He’s dropped 9lbs in the rankings since being gelded and joining the Midgley operation at the start of last season. He races off 90 – his lowest career mark – tomorrow. The handicapper is giving him every opportunity to shine.

Sooner or later he’s going to capitalize on a descending rating and at the price – and with the horse showing up well – I’m prepared to bet that things will finally come together for him tomorrow.

I know many of you will do your own thing and go in with each-way punts and forecasts and all the rest of it. Fair play, go your own way. I won’t argue with you. We all have our own way of walking. But me? I’ll two-against-the-field – win only.

  • Mixing it up at York….

Up at York in the Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Handicap (3.30) I’m playing it different again – backing one to win and another each-way.

Andrew Balding’s PERFECT ANGEL makes her handicap debut on a mark of 98 and can prove better than her opponents.

The main body of her form to date has been produced in Listed and Group contests. She ran well in last season’s G2 Mill Reef Stakes where she was beaten 2.5 lengths by Harry Angel. And that one is now rated 118.

First-time out at this season in a Listed event at Newbury she was plenty fancied but ran too free and threw away her chance. On the upside, she had every chance entering the final furlong and that run should have taken some of the fizz out of her. Tomorrow’s big field will help her settle better.

The quick ground will concern many pundits looking at her form record. But she’s not unproven on a fast surface and her sire, Dark Angel, produces plenty that win good money on a fast surface. Until she says otherwise, I’ll assume she’ll be fine.

By all accounts she’s been working well with good old sprinters back at home and I think she’s got a big chance tomorrow. The 14s is more than acceptable – win only for me.

I’m also going to chance THE WAGON WHEEL each-way at a big 33s.

She’s been a tad disappointing on her two runs to date this term. Last time at Goodwood, I wonder if she got the 7f.

She’s back down to 6f tomorrow and Richard Fahey has applied the blinkers for the first time. I’m hopeful they can work the magic.

What really appeals to me is the performance she put in at York on fast ground in August – winning a decent handicap in a big-field. She gets pretty-much the same circumstances tomorrow. And she might well revel in it.

Okay, that York win was off a mark of 73 – but her current mark of 83 does not put the lid on her. She ran off 89 at Goodwood – at what might prove to be the wrong trip – and the handicapper has dropped her 6lbs in the weights. Fahey must think Christmas has come early.

All things taken together, the 33s is a steal. I’m having it each-way.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap (3.10 @ Musselburgh)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – HARRY HURRICANE (16s generally) & GAMESOME (20s generally)

In the Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Handicap (3.30 @ York)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – PERFECT ANGEL (14s generally) & THE WAGON WHEEL each-way (33s 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 in your inbox a little today with ATC Extra.

Until then, Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd