Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 06.10.2017

Friday, 6th October 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow….

The big target this weekend is the Totescoop6 Challenge Cup at Ascot – a class 2 handicap over the straight 7f trip for horses aged 3yo+.

A field of 18 heads to post for the 4th valuable handicap of the season contested over course and distance….

And there are plenty of horses turning out with a progressive sequence of performances in the book.

Mojito is progressing at a rate of knots. So too Makzeem. The market isn’t blind to those lightly-raced types and has latched onto them.

Both have obvious strong claims. But life is getting more difficult with each race. Both have progressed this term from a mark in the 80s to one in three figures for tomorrow’s race. Sooner or later, weight stops trains and, at the prices, I’m happy to oppose.

Burnt Sugar is another that comes into the race on a roll. Once rated 112, he’d dropped into the 80s but is now back up to 103 after a sequence of decent performances. That mark gives him wiggle-room if he is back to his absolute best and he must be respected.

As is the case with all these big handicaps, there’s a clutch of horses with big chances. But you can’t back them all. Price is the deciding factor for me and, at the prices, one stands out above the rest.

  • Third time lucky?

Karl Burke can probably consider himself unlucky not to have already won one of these 7f events this season with MJJACK….

His 3yo found one too good in the International in July and it was the same story in last month’s Cunard….

Stamp Hill was the one that beat him in the International – excelling in first-time blinkers off a mark of 90.

In the Cunard, Mjjack played a part in his own downfall – going for home a little earlier than ideal under Royston Ffrench and being overhauled by Remarkable late on – beaten a half-length. That one has a bit of class and is now rated 111. Mjjack was a little unlucky to run into him.

There’s clearly no trouble with the track, the trip or good to soft ground. It was good to soft for both those races.

And Mjjack is only up 2lbs for those performances to a mark of 100. Clifford Lee in the saddle negates that rise by taking off 3lbs with his claim. There’s no reason why the horse shouldn’t put up another strong showing and make it a case of third-time-lucky….

At this stage of the season, you always wonder about horses holding their form. Some go over the top. You can’t know for sure. It’s all about individuals. But the omens are good. The Burke yard is in decent enough form right now – sending out six winners over the last fortnight.

Off a rating within his compass and with track and conditions to suit, I think the 14s about Mjjack is a nice price and he’s the primary pick.

  • Two-against-the-field….

The 14s is not an each-way price for me and I’m minded instead to go two-against-the-field with Jamie Osborne’s RAISING SAND my second pick at 12s….

He was 4th in that Cunard renewal last month behind Remarkable and Mjjack and his performance can be marked up a little on the basis that he was slow away and up against it from the start.

He would certainly have finished closer without the tardiness and so getting to go again off the same mark of 98 brings him squarely into contention.

This horse is very well thought of at home. He was fancied for the Lincoln and he won a mile handicap at Ascot with ease off 92 in August. Connections have talked about him going for the Balmoral on Champions Day….

He’ll probably need to go up a couple of pounds to be sure of a run in that. If that’s still the aim, then he turns up with intent tomorrow. And if this is plan B, he won’t be here to make up the numbers.

I’d suggest he’ll prove a bit better than his current mark and Ascot is the place where he’s likely to prove it. He’s won there twice and clearly likes the place. He carries least weight and the ground will suit. The 12s is fair enough.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Totescoop6 Challenge Cup (3.35 @ Ascot)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – MJJACK (14s generally) & RAISING SAND (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 today.

No ATC Extra this week. I’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday next week.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd