Friday, 18th August 2017
It is always nice to find a big price….
And sometimes it is tempting to try and root one out – even when the horse attached to it isn’t really stepping forward and presenting itself as fit for service….
That’s a part of this contrarian game we play – recognising when you might be reaching for a Hollywood price and reigning in that desire to find one anyway….
That’s a bit how tomorrow’s edition of the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon (3.15) has panned out – for me at least….
In a 20-runner field, you can, if you’re not careful, approach it with the resolute and unshakeable conviction that there is a big one to be plucked out and put-up….
But, I’m not seeing one in tomorrow’s Ripon feature. Not to the point where I want to rely on it. I’ve run the rule over one or two, but none has it shoes sufficiently well-polished. None ticks the boxes I need ticking….
That doesn’t mean to say that no horse trading at a big price can step forward and win tomorrow. Just that I can’t make case for it without reaching….
Instead, my eye is drawn to a couple of at mid-range prices. And I’m going to go two-against-the-field with them – backing both to win and foregoing the opportunity to play for place money….
First up is Michael Easterby’s ROBERO. He’s been in cracking form this term winning twice and finding just one too good on two other occasions – from a half dozen runs on turf and the all-weather since the end of March.
He’s very much a horse on the upgrade. Since the turn of the year he’s gone up more than a stone in the handicap on both surfaces and he arrives at Ripon tomorrow on a mark of 96 – and there could be more to come….
Last time out at Newmarket, in the most valuable race he’s contested to date – he showed enough to suggest that he isn’t finished for the season quite yet.
He was 5th of 18 off 97 that day – behind some decent horses. And one or two of those have come out and subsequently run big races.
That Newmarket race was over 7f and he only really gave best in the last of those. He steps back to 6f tomorrow and that could be the key to a bit more juice spilling from the lemon.
It was at that trip he produced his best form a little earlier in the season and, having done most of his racing at a mile since joining the Easterby yard, there’s a case for saying he remains unexposed at the sprint trip. The 14s with Skybet and the general 12s are fair enough….
The other one I like is PIPERS NOTE at the general 12s….
He might be a 7yo and one of the veterans in the field but it would be foolhardy to dismiss Ruth Carr’s charge at his favourite track.
He’s won six times at Ripon over the course of his career. And he turns out for tomorrow’s race if not in the form of his life – then close to it.
He’s been a consistent horse this term and I was particularly taken with his run at Ascot the time before last over 5f where he was in and around some decent sorts.
The handicapper had him in at 101 for that. He’s dropped a little to 99 for tomorrow – and it all helps. The new mark means he’s just a pound above the rating of 98 that he won off four races back at Doncaster.
He couldn’t be running at a more favourable track; the ground will suit; and I think he’s better at 6f than 5f. There’s plenty to like.
It is a different story in the Randox Health Handicap at Newmarket (2.45) where I am two-against-the-field again – but this time at the bigger end of the prices….
Only 11 runners go to post for this and the bookies are being plenty conservative with more than half of those in at 8s or shorter….
But no matter. That suits my purposes. I like two of those at the other end of the market and I want them both onside in the hope that one can do the business and register a nice profit.
First up, Andrew Balding’s FARLEIGH MAC at 16s….
On the face of it, he’s up against it. He’s stepping up in class, he’s running off 84 as opposed to his revised mark of 80 and he’s out of the handicap….
Looked at in that light, it is strange that Balding has him here at all. But he does and Balding is a handler who excels more than most when pitching his younger handicappers into decent races when they appear to be up against it at the weights. He must think a bit of this horse and the 3yo is worth a bet in my book at the price.
He’s been turned over at short prices this term, despite running okay. Yet he turns out here for the most valuable race he’s contested to date on seemingly disadvantageous terms. Bottom line: there’s enough going on here to pique my interest at the price.
The other one I like is Roger Charlton’s SILENT ECHO at 11s.
He’s another one on a redemption mission having got well-beaten when sent off favourite last time at York.
Fair enough. That will put plenty of folk off. But, on the other hand, this is a lightly-raced horse that had previously been very progressive – giving every sign that his current mark of 91 would prove generous in time.
Any horse can be forgiven a bad run. Especially an inexperienced one. He got lit-up at York and things unravelled. Charlton reaches for the first-time hood tomorrow and if that does the trick then the 11s will look a big price.
He drops back down to 6f tomorrow too. And that could well play to the advantage of a horse that wants to get on with it.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Great St Wilfrid (3.15 @ Ripon)....
In the Randox Health Handicap (2.45 @ Newmarket)....
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.
That’s all from me for now.
I’ll be back in your inbox a little later today with ATC Extra….
Until then. Stay tuned.