Royal Ascot - Where my contrarian money is going on Day 3....

Last Updated: 21.06.2017

Wednesday, 21st June 2017

Where my contrarian money is going on Day 3….

The 4yo horses have come to the fore in the most recent renewals of the Royal Ascot Gold Cup (Thurs 4.20) – winning each of the last five.

Aidan O’Brien’s Order of St George was the last of those and he turns out again tomorrow afternoon to defend his title – aiming to give his handler an 8th race win this century….

He was impressive when winning last season’s renewal. And he subsequently underlined how much class he has when running 3rd in the Arc behind Found over a mile shorter….

Odds of even money tell you he’s the one to beat. He’s the standout in the betting. The fav-backing masses will be wading in. But, as good as the horse clearly is on his day, the price is way too short for my tastes and he creates value further down the list…. 

  • Harbour to lay down the Law….

It is Laura Mongan’s HARBOUR LAW that interests me most at a general 25s – which I’ll be taking each-way.

Last year’s St Leger didn’t look the strongest renewal ahead of the race. Horses going into the contest hadn’t won a great deal between them. And when an outsider won, the result was instantly understood as something of a fluke or an aberration….

But the post-race figures were just about par and I take the view that Harbour Law – sent off at 25s – won on merit….

He saw the trip out strongly and marked himself out as an up-and-coming young stayer – a Cup horse in the making who should have improved for another winter under his belt….

At Sandown on seasonal debut this term, he blotted his copybook with an uninspiring effort in the Sagaro Stakes. He finished a well-beaten last of the 7 horses that went to post for that G3 event. Fair enough, that doesn’t look like great prep.

But it wasn’t his day. He was running for the first time off a long break, he wasn’t fully tuned, he was conceding weight to more experienced rivals and they didn’t go quick enough for him early doors.

It was one of those days – and he wasn’t given a hard time. Connections have drawn a line through the performance. And I’m inclined to do the same.

The market has the 4yo in at a rag price – and I’m prepared to take that view on. At 25s, I can give the horse the benefit of the doubt….

He’s unexposed, should be progressing, stays strong and could well improve in leaps and bounds for the extreme trip. He won’t mind the quick ground either.

He comes from an unfashionable yard. I think that’s got a bit to do with the price. The horse has won a classic. If he was coming out of a bigger yard he’d be shorter – whatever did or didn’t happen at Sandown. 

Connections are pleased with the horse. For me, Mongan’s 4yo is a bit of value at the price….

  • Potential for big progression at a big price….

The Britannia Stakes (Thurs 5.00) is a handicap for the 3yos….

A massive-field of closely-matched (on what they’ve achieved to date) and fast-improving horses going hell for leather up the straight mile is not a race for everyone.

But the prices are there for value hunters prepared to overlook the top-of-the-market players….

Like SABADOR at a big 25s….

Ed Walker’s charge won with quite a bit in hand at Ayr over 7-furlongs at the end of last month – going clear of his opponents in ready fashion off a fast-pace once P J McDonald got him set.

He ran out the victor by a good 3.5 lengths and he’s a fast-improving handicapper – one who could well progress again in leaps and bounds tomorrow.

The step back up to the mile trip will be no problem. And he’s the sort who will appreciate this massive field. In smaller fields, he’s been a bit keen and done too much too soon. They’ll go plenty fast enough for him tomorrow and that will help him.

He’s full of potential at a big price. Perhaps the fact he got beaten by one of tomorrow’s opponents at Leicester the time before last is over-influencing the market.

But I’m not concerned about that. Just five went to post that day. And they didn’t go anywhere near quick enough. The Britannia is a totally different proposition. One that will suit our man perfectly….

I’ll be going in each-way at the 25s….

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Gold Cup (4.20 @ Ascot)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – HARBOUR LAW each-way (25s generally)

In the Britannia Stakes (5.00 @ Ascot)....

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

I’ll be back tomorrow with my take on Friday’s action at the Royal meeting….

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd