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

Last Updated: 14.12.2017

Thursday, 14th December 2017

Where my contrarian money is going on Friday….

Seeking value isn’t always about big prices. And that’s the case for tomorrow’s feature at Cheltenham – the Unicorn Group Handicap Chase (2.30).

Harry Fry’s Wotzisname heads the market. The 7yo chaser looked like a good prospect in the making when winning a C3 novice event at Exeter last time – but this is a step-up.

He’s only had 3 goes over fences and whilst a small field of six runners will make things a little easier on him than a bigger field would have done, he might find this test proves tougher than market sentiment suggests – particularly on a softer surface than he’s previously encountered over fences....

  • An attractive enough price in race context....

The 3s available about Colin Tizzard’s ROBINSFIRTH isn’t a price you would ordinarily associate with this column.

But in a 6-runner field it is an attractive enough assessment about a horse that connections have spoken very highly of.

They’ve had to be patient. This horse is fragile and has had a couple of leg injuries. They’ve been waiting for the winter ground to come and tomorrow he gets what he needs.

I expect him to be spot on for this. He’s already had a couple of runs this term to blow away the cobwebs.

He showed up well enough when 4th in a decent handicap at Cheltenham back at the end of October on his first run since the previous January.

Last time at Haydock in a first-time tongue tie he was challenging and well in the mix when making an error at the 3rd last. He’d been interfered with by a faller in the early stages of the race and he’d had to creep his way back into contention. There was much to like about his run and for me he’s capable off a mark of 142.

Last year Joe Tizzard was talking about this horse as a top horse and one of the more exciting inmates in the Tizzard camp – if he could be kept right. He’s not exposed, he’s capable of progression, he already has valuable experience at the track, he’ll go on the ground and the yard is in form....

Now is the time to catch him – before he delivers on expectation. The 3s isn’t a massive price but in the context of the race I’m happy enough to go in.

  • Sticking with this well-handicapped sort....

I’m sticking with Tizzard and backing him to do a double on the card with THE DUTCHMAN in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle (3.40).

Once again, the price is well below that of my average pick. But I think the 11/2 is fair enough about a horse I believe to be a long way better than his current mark of 137.

He got well-beaten last time at Haydock. But so was everything else. Sam Spinner was a different class to everything else and Tizzard’s horse did easily the best of the rest.

That was is first run for the yard, his first run of the season and his first in a tongue-ties. I expect him to come on again for it.

The big attraction for me is his mark. He’s only gone up 2lbs for the Haydock run. And I’m mindful that he got himself up to that level he’s at despite not being able to breath properly.

He had a wind-op before that run at Haydock. His performance suggests it has done the trick. And if he can rank 135 before – what can he go on to, now that he’s able to properly take in the air he needs in his races?

I think he’s well-handicapped and I want to stick with him because he’s going to win something nice. Tomorrow could be the day and I’d rather take the 11/2 about him than scratch about looking for a price about a horse I don’t think is as well treated at the weights.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Unicorn Group Handicap Chase (2.30 @ Cheltenham)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ROBINSFIRTH (3s generally)

In the Citipost Handicap Hurdle (3.40 @ Cheltenham)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – THE DUTCHMAN (11/2 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 today.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my take on the weekend action.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd