The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 19.01.2018

Friday, 19th January 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

I’m two-against-the-field in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock tomorrow (3.15).

First up is Lucinda Russell’s FOREST DES AIGLES who can be backed this afternoon at 10s....

He’s 4 wins from his last 5 runs over fences (3 from 3 this term) and has been shooting up the weights like a firework this term.

He started this season rated just 112 and he’s now up to 133 for tomorrow’s race – but I don’t think the handicapper has the lid on him yet....

The 7yo is still unexposed at trips of 3m+. He went 3m perfectly well-enough at Bangor last time and he tries the 3m2f trip for the first time tomorrow. He could improve again for it.

He travels well, he jumps well, and he handles soft and heavy ground with aplomb – and he’s improving almost by the hour....

The ground is key to his chances. That’s why Russell also has him entered in tomorrow’s bet365 Handicap Chase at Ascot (3.00). She wants to keep her options open and go where the ground is worst....

Right now, Ascot is described as soft. Haydock is described as heavy. I expect Haydock to offer the best (worst) ground. But, if the horse were to show up at Ascot for the other race, I’d be happy to back him there for that one....

  • Two-against-the-field....

The other one I want to be with in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase is James Moffatt’s 12yo HIGHLAND LODGE – available at general quotes of 14s and 16s....

He’s been specializing over the Grand National fences for a while now – where’s he’s done very well in the Becher Chase over the last 3 seasons....

This is his first go back over conventional fences for two years. Whether he consents to go over them as well as he does the Aintree fences remains to be seen, but there are positive omens....

Like Aintree, Haydock is a flat left-hander and the ground is soft – so the horse shouldn’t be too inconvenienced feel at home.

He’s carrying a nice weight, he’s been prepared to produce a proper account of himself and whilst you wouldn’t say he’s necessarily well-handicapped on 138, he did run a nice Becher Chase off the same mark in December off a long break and is entitled to strip fitter for that....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (3.15 @ Haydock)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – FOREST DES AIGLES (10s generally) & HIGHLAND LODGE (14s & 16s 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 a little later today with ATC Extra....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd

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