Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 15.12.2017

Friday, 15th December 2017

Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow….

Last month’s BetVictor Gold Cup (run over 2m4f on the Old chase course at Cheltenham) is the first port of call for many punters looking for pointers into tomorrow’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (1.55) – which is run over half-a-furlong further on the new chasse course....

It is not uncommon for horses that showed-up well in the first race to return for a crack the following month at the second....

Splash of Ginge won last month’s race. He shows up tomorrow – but is now 5lbs higher in the weights.

Runner-up Starchitect is 4lbs higher. Third-placed Le Prezien is up 2lbs to 152 – and not many have won tomorrow’s race off a mark north of 150.

The horses that finished 4th and 5th – Ballyalton and Romain De Senam – both reattend. They each run off the same mark but will need to find improvement.

  • Siding with a cracking little horse....

Of the principals in last month’s race STARCHITECT is the one that appeals most at 6s.

Splash of Ginge put in a cracking performance but he can be in and out and I wonder if he’s had his day in the sun – at least for the time being....

In any case I think David Pipe’s horse would have beaten him had the post been 50 yards further up the track.

He was travelling better than the Twiston-Davies horse turning for home and but for mistakes at the final two fences – the first of those a real momentum staller – I think he’d have been called the winner.

The extra yardage, the slightly-stiffer nature of the New chase course and the slightly better ground might all serve to assist Starchitect in overcoming his 4lbs rise. That still leaves him on a mark 2lbs shy of the 150-level and gives solid claims of gaining compensation tomorrow afternoon.

He’s a cracking little horse – one of those that always seems to run his heart out, be it on the flat, over hurdles or over fences. He’s run some stellar races in big-race defeats and deserves to land a big pot.

It would be nice to be with him when he does and tomorrow represents a big opportunity for him. I think he’s the one to beat and the price is acceptable in that context.

  • Two-against-the-field....

The horse lining up tomorrow that could improve well beyond his price is the Nicky-Richards-trained GUITAR PETE at 14s....

Up at Wetherby at the start of last month, he broke a losing sequence over fences – producing a career-best performance in beating the likes of Sametegal, Royal Vacation and Splash of Ginge in a listed-class chase....

Following that performance his trainer nominated tomorrow’s race as the horse’s next target. But instead – perhaps Richards hoped to strike while the iron was hot – the 7yo showed up for the BetVictor Gold Cup.

On the day, the horse he’d beaten at Wetherby – Splash of Ginge – came out on top and Guitar Pete finished 25-legnths in arrears. But you can draw a line through that. He was badly hampered by the first-fence fall of Theinval and he was left out the back playing catch-up. His race was effectively over from that point.

The BetVictor Gold Cup was run at a strong pace on heavy ground and Guitar Pete did very well to finish where he did under 3lb claimer Ryan Day. At the time, given that tomorrow’s race had been the intended target, I thought Ryan Day might have pulled him up.

He didn’t. They plugged on, making a bit of late ground but never got into a position to get into the race. But the horse did get a spin over the fences and he got another run under his belt – good experience.

This horse was a G1 performer over hurdles – winning two and placing in a Triumph. He’s got ability. He hasn’t yet earned a mark over fences that tallies with the best he achieved over hurdles. But he’s going that way.

He’s improved over the bigger obstacles since moving to the Richards yard and there can be more progression yet. He goes off the bottom weight tomorrow, his yard is in decent form and the horse is reported to be in fine fettle. He could prove underestimated at the price.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (1.55 @ Cheltenham)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – STARCHITECT (6s generally) & GUITAR PETE (14s 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. The Caspian is the only race I feel inclined to play in tomorrow.

I’ll be back next week.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd