Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 14.07.2017

Friday, 14th July 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow….

The John Smith’s Cup at York is a classy handicap (3.05) and tomorrow’s renewal is a real test for punters….

But we don’t shy away from such races. Quite the opposite. We relish them….

The layers and the market opposition find such races difficult to call too. And that presents us with opportunity. In a difficult environment, mistakes are easily made. Horses and prices are misjudged. And we back ourselves and our methods to root out those ricks and the value bets on offer….

  • Two-against-the-field in the John Smith’s Cup….

In a handicap event, a mark of 109 would normally be a bit of a turn-off. But plenty of classy horses have won the John Smith’s Cup off high marks down the years and I believe top-weight SCARLET DRAGON can add to their number this time around….

Eve Johnson Houghton’s 4yo had a brilliant time of it last season after being gelded – winning 4 races (including the Jack Berry House Stakes and the Old Rowley Cup), picking up plenty of prize money and going up the weights to the tune of 30lbs….

The teak-tough grey than went out to Doha for the Qatar Derby. That was a flop but the fact the was there at all tells you he’s thought some-way better than a handicapper.

He’s only been seen once since – at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton Handicap. He had to challenge wide, but he wasn’t beaten far and he finished off well. You could make the case that he might just have needed the run. Ad you can make the case that he’s entitled to come on for it tomorrow.

That win in the Jack Berry House Stakes last year tells you he handles the track just fine. I can see him running a big race under Tom Marquand at the 16s.

I thought about going in each-way but ultimately decided to go two-against-the-field. I want to back MASTER CARPENTER too at 16s

He was a very impressive winner over course and distance in May – where he streaked well clear of his opponents in a handicap field.

He bookended that performance with a couple of efforts that serve to depress his form figures. But those races were run over a mile and 12f respectively. The mile is to sharp and he doesn’t stay 12f. He’s a 10f horse and gets that optimum trip tomorrow.  

He’s also a York specialist. Where he’s 2 from 2 over course and distance. Yes, he’s up 10lbs for that win in May and he runs off 105 tomorrow. But let’s not forget he won the 2015 edition of this race off 104. He is not weighted out of it.

Adam McNamara takes off a useful 3lbs. On the face of it, he might look like a bit of a spare. But he’s won an Ebor at York and being attached to the Richard Fahey yard, he knows the track well.

  • Two-against-the-field in the Bunbury Cup….

I’m going to stick to my guns as far as BOSSY GUEST is concerned – and I’m sticking with him for tomorrow afternoon’s Bunbury Cup (3.25) at Newmarket. You can get him at 14s.

He had a shocking season last term. But was gelded and though he hasn’t managed to get his head in front, I believe Mick Channon has got the horse back….

He was rated as high as 114 at his peak and he can take a decent pot off his current mark of 101….

He needs to come late with a fast finish. So, don’t expect to hear much about him in the early-doors commentary. Everything will have to go his way, especially over 7f – but the rising ground at the death will help him in that regard. Adam Kirby takes the ride tomorrow.

The other one I like is Gary Moore’s GOSSIPING at 12s....

The 5yo is 5 from 7 on the AW and the turf since the turn of the year. He produced back-to-back wins at Goodwood in May – rising 11lbs as a result to tomorrow’s mark of 96.

After the last win Moore talked about the Wokingham as a potential target – the thinking being that you need a 7f horse over that 6f trip at the Royal meeting. He was also given an entry into the Royal Hunt Cup. He just missed out on both. He’s clearly well thought of.

He turns up for this valuable target having been freshened-up with a decent break and if that’s done him good then he shows up with every chance of improving again.

He’s by Dubawi and out of a Sadler’s Wells mare. He’s got some decent relatives. His mark of 96 might well be handy. A racing weight of 8-10 tomorrow certainly will be.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the John Smith’s Cup (3.05 @ York)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SCARLET DRAGON (16s generally) & MASTER CARPENTER (16s generally)

In the Bunbury Cup (3.25 @ Newmarket)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – BOSSY GUEST (14s generally) & GOSSIPING (12s 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 inox a little later today with ATC Extra….

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd