Royal Ascot - Where my contrarian money is going on Day 4....

Last Updated: 22.06.2017

Thursday, 22nd June 2017

Where my contrarian money is going on Day 4….

It’s important not to get sucked into playing all the races at any big meeting simply because you feel you must target a specific number of races or because you want to give yourself as many opportunities as possible to find a winner….

You must play each situation as you find it. And if a race doesn’t appeal, you must have the confidence or the self-discipline (delete as appropriate) to give it the swerve and let them run without your opinion riding on it.

So, it is with tomorrow’s Commonwealth Cup. I don’t like the shape of the market. I reckon one of the principals is going to wind up winning it and I’m not going to reach for a bet at a big price when I’m not really feeling it about any of the options.

Nothing is ever really achieved by closing your eyes, rolling the dice and keeping your fingers crossed….

That leaves me with just the one race to target tomorrow – the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (5.35) – a race which is much better-suited to our purposes….

  • The Gosden horse is the value….

This race falls to a 4yo participant in most years. The market has found quite a few of those.

The likes of Wadigor, Sixties Groove and Mainstream are short in the betting. None of them has been highly-tried this term and all turn-up fresh. But each will have to improve markedly on what was produced last time.

The 4yo I like at a price is John Gosden’s CAPE COVA at 20s.

He was considered a bit of a monkey at 3 – a bit lazy and a one of those horses who makes jockeys work for their riding fee. Fair enough. But he was gelded in November and that might have helped him.

On his seasonal debut in a relatively hot – albeit small-field – handicap, he might well have needed the run. And the soft underfoot conditions that day at Newmarket would not have played to his strengths in any case.

Last time at on the July course a fortnight back he was much closer – finishing 3rd in the John Sunley Memorial Handicap over the 14f trip.

Yes, he raced a bit free. But he was travelling well 3f out and with 2f to go he was in front – before being headed in the final furlong. He gave the impression the trip might just be beyond him.

Today he steps back to 12f and, on the evidence of that Newmarket race, that can be considered a plus. So too the fast ground.

Gosden has removed the blinkers for tomorrow and replaced them with a first-time visor instead. He’s clearly adjusting things to pull out something additional from his charge. You never know with headgear, but if the visor works the trick this horse has sufficient ability to win a big prize.

The 20s is big in my book for a horse that produced a solid effort last-time, has conditions to suit is switching back to what might be a more suitable trip and in first-time headgear that could well improve him beyond what he’s shown to date.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (5.35 @ Ascot)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – CAPE COVA 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.

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my take on the final day’s action at this year’s Royal Ascot meeting….

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd