Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 15.09.2017

Friday, 15th September 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow….

You can pick potential holes in a couple of those at the top of the market for tomorrow’s St Leger at Doncaster (3.35).

If you subscribe to the school of thought that says preparations need to go to-the-letter for an assault on a G1 contest, then Capri – who missed his intended prep-race at York – must have a question-mark against his name….

And whilst the ground at Doncaster has dried up from earlier in the week, it is still good to soft on the round course and, with showers forecast today and tomorrow, it is likely to stay that way…

That could be a negative for Stradivarius. He hasn’t exactly relished cut in the past. The seasonal form he brings into the race is undoubtedly good form – but it has all been produced on a sound surface….

  • All the right signs….

That might be one reason why Frankie Dettori has chosen to desert the Goodwood Cup winner and instead opt for the ride on John Gosden’s filly, CORONET.

You can make that case. But I think there’s more to it than that.

Stradivarius has form in the book that makes him a prime contender and he isn’t disproven on a soft surface.

You could understand it if Dettori stuck with him despite the ground because he thinks the horse is the best tool for the job. 

But I’m not sure he does. I think Dettori has opted for the filly because in his mind she’s the best tool for the job tomorrow.

She doesn’t have the same form in the book as the other one. But she is stepping up to this trip for the first time and last time out behind Enable at York she gave every impression late-on that she will improve significantly for the St Leger trip.

She won’t mind the cut either. And there were vibes coming out of the Gosden yard earlier this week – before Dettori’s riding plans were known – that suggest there’s some confidence behind her participation.

Gosden’s wife, Rachel Hood, was telling journalists that they believe Coronet is ‘very ready’ for the race and that they are ‘very positive’ the race is right for her.

Gosden has won the St Leger four times. He knows what a St Leger winner looks like. Dettori has ridden the winner five times. He knows what St Leger winners feel like.

I’d suggest Coronet is looking and feeling like a St Leger winner at home. I’d suggest she’s showing all the signs that she’s got the mental strength, athletic prowess, depth of resources, durability and stamina required to win the race. I’d suggest that’s why Dettori has chosen to ride her.

I’d suggest she’s a decent bet at this morning’s general 8s.

  • Value in the Portland….

The William Hill Portland Handicap (1.50) is never anything less than highly competitive and you can make a case for at least six of these horses at the shorter prices….

Vibrant Chords, Merlin, and Stake Acclaim all look like potential big players.

And you couldn’t easily dismiss Lexington Abbey for Kevin Ryan with Ryan Moore up and the horse fitted with cheekpieces instead of the blinkers for the first time in a while….

But the market has found those horses. Or at least the layers have put them in short enough. And the job of this column is not to reflect what the market is already telling you.

Our job is to find that little bit of something that the market is over-looking. And that little bit of something could well be the Ron Harris-trained UNDER THE COVERS at 33s with bet365 and betVictor.

She could run very well at the price. She’s a strong filly whose been progressing this term – scoring comfortable wins at Newbury and Ffos Las.

She’s gone up the weights to a mark of 91 and you could make the case that the revised mark was responsible for the last time effort at Salisbury where she was well beaten.

But there were excuses that day. She was slowly away and never recovered. And I take the view that there is still more to come from this in-form and still-lightly-raced filly.

She likes a flat track, she handles cut just fine, and I think the in-between trip is perfect for her. She doesn’t have experience in a field this big and she likes to do it from the front. That won’t be easy. But from stall 3, she can grab the rail and that will help. So too will her tenacity. She won’t go down without a fight.

Of course, she’ll need to improve on top of all that. That’s factored into the price. But I’m betting that she will improve and that she’ll run better than the odds-compilers believe. At 33s, she’s an each-way play for me.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the St Leger (3.35 @ Doncaster)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – CORONET (8s generally)

In the William Hill Portland Handicap (1.50 @ Doncaster)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – UNDER THE COVERS 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 today. No ATC Extra this afternoon.

I’ll be back on Monday….


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Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd