Where my contrarian money is going on Friday....

Last Updated: 30.11.2017

Thursday, 30th November 2017

Where my contrarian money is going on Friday….

This weekend’s two-day meeting at Newbury – Friday and Saturday – is one of those I look forward to....

Saturday delivers on of the best – if not the best – handicap chase of the season in the form of the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup).

But there are additional good handicaps on the cards for both Friday and Saturday – all televised on ITV4 or ITV. It’s a great couple of days to wade into....

  • Overlooked in the Open Handicap Chase....

A few inexperienced types shooting up the weights go to post for tomorrow afternoon’s 8-runner Ladbrokes Open Handicap Chase (2.25).

One that’s been going the other way for a while now is VIBRATO VALTAT.

There was a time when he looked like a horse that was going places. With Paul Nicholls he won a Haldon Gold Cup and was tried in plenty of G1 races. But he lost his way and now finds himself in the care of Emma Lavelle.

He didn’t make a particularly auspicious start for his new yard when returning to Exeter for this season’s edition of the Haldon Gold Cup. He got well-beaten – 42 lengths.

That said, his new connections were open about the fact that the race was a fact-finding mission. They left off the headgear he’d been running in most recently. The trip was probably sort of what he wants these days. And the ground would have been soft enough for him.

He probably needed the run too. And connections could take encouragement from the fact that he did briefly threaten to get involved before fading. Sir Valentino didn’t even finish the race that day – and he came out on Saturday and won a decent handicap at Ascot....

Tomorrow Vibrato Valtat steps back up to a more suitable trip. The tongue-tie is back on. The ground will be better. And connections will have learnt a little something about him. Another tweak they have made is to put Aidan Coleman up for piloting duties in place of Nick Schofield.

Better still, he’ll be running off a mark of just 147. That’s 15 pounds shy of his peak and 3lbs lower than any mark he’s run off over fences previously. Races run last term – albeit in defeat – suggest the handicapper has given him a great chance.

One race with a new yard is too soon to write off the move to as having no effect. This horse has never been better handicapped and the 20s and 25s available about him underestimates his chance if he puts it together.

That’s a big if. But the price factors that in. If he can get back to the level of performances produced last year, then he has every chance of hitting the frame.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Ladbrokes Open Handicap Chase (2.25 @ Newbury)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – VIBRATO VALTAT each-way (25s @ William Hill & Stan James, 20s @ Paddy Power)

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 Saturday afternoon’s action.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd