Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 01.12.2017

Friday, 1st December 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow….

Paul Nicholls is man with real Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (3.00, Newbury) pedigree. He won it twice as a rider on Broadheath and Playschool before landing the rice three times as a trainer with Strong Flow and Denman (twice).

The Ditcheat handler shows admirable loyalty in sticking with Bryony Frost for the ride on the yard’s contender this time around – PRESENT MAN.

The 5lb claimer would be smashing a couple of trends wide open if she were to win – being female and an apprentice. But trends are there to be broken. They endure only for as long as they last and the pair head into tomorrow’s race with every chance in my book.

The performance last time out was a career-best. There were doubts about the horse staying the trip at Wincanton – particularly on soft ground. Those fears proved unfounded and the extra furlong tomorrow will present no problem. This horse has grown bigger and stronger and there can be more to come yet.

I’m not the slightest bit concerned with the 4lsb penalty. The general 16s is a fair price.

I’m not one to play it safe in big races. We could go for place money with Present Man. I expect him to be playing his part at the business end of the race. But I also believe COGRY is underestimated at the general 20s and I’m coupling the pair up two-against-the-field and backing both win only.

Cogry is a little more experienced than your typical winner of this. But his last two performances have in the Scottish Grand National and at Cheltenham last month point to a rejuvenated chaser. He stays, he’s tough and I can see him being in the mix up the straight.

His handler has been milking Saturday races this season and there is some stable confidence behind the 8yo. I think he’s a better chance than the price suggests.

  • Back again – on a nice mark....

Up at Newcastle just 8 go to post for the Rehearsal Handicap Chase (3.20) and Sue Smith’s WAKANDA is a fair enough price at the general 7s.

Last year he was let down by his jumping in this race – which he contested off a mark of 152. The year before, he won the race off a mark of 145 – beating some good horses This time around he gets to go off 147 and that puts him right in the mix.

Half of tomorrow’s field will have to do the job at the first time of asking. And the soft Newcastle ground won’t make that easy.

Wakanda can take advantage of an edge in fitness. He’s already been out – at Kelso last month. He got beaten but he ran with credit over a trip that was a little longer than ideal. He kept on nicely enough at the end and you’d expect him to come on for it.

He’s back down to an ideal 3-miles tomorrow, the ground is fine for him and this small-field will enable him to race prominently without going hell-for-leather. The 147 is his lowest mark for a while and he can take advantage of it. The price is fair.

  • The Nicholls horse to bounce back....

In the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase at Newbury (3.35) I take the Paul-Nicholls-trained MARRACUDJA at 13/2 to bounce back from his last-time-out performance at Ascot....

He was beaten a fair way in a Listed 2-mile handicap – having been sent off well fancied. His performance fell some way below expectation.

I wonder if it came just a little too soon after his seasonal reappearance and handicap debut at Kempton – where he well but had to give weight all round.

He’s had almost a month off since then and, at the price, I’m happy to give him an opportunity to come good on a mark of 141 that seems eminently workable.

The ground is drying out all the time. That will be to his advantage. The flat track is ideal. There is a case for saying he likes going right-handed best of all, but he’s produced on left-handers as well and I’m not too concerned about that.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (3.00 @ Newbury)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – PRESENT MAN (16s generally) & COGRY (20s generally)

In the Rehearsal Handicap Chase (3.20 @ Newcastle)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – WAKANDA (7s generally)

In the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase (3.35 @ Newbury)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – MARRACUDJA (13/2 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 inbox a little later today with ATC Extra.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd

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