The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 30.03.2018

Friday, 30th March 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

It’s Challenger Series Finals Day up at Haydock tomorrow....

There are six Series Finals to choose from. I imagine some folk will want to play in them all. And I imagine some tipping services will pander to that requirement....

But I like to take my time on a couple of races rather than make a rushed job of analysing half-a-dozen....

The handicap chase events interest me more than the handicap hurdle races – excepting the top-drawer handicap hurdle races – and it is the Challenger Series handicap chase events that have occupied my attention in the build-up to the weekend....

  • Not a typical ATC price....

Just 8 runners go to post for the Middle Distance Chase Series Final at 2.05....

That probably represents a disappointing turnout for officials. Plenty of horses qualified for this. Few have shown-up.

And I wonder how a race with a £50k prize-pot for horses rated in the 130s and under can be so under-subscribed at a time when trainers and owners regularly carp on about how little prize money there is in the game and how hard it is to survive....

But we must work with what we have and the one I like at the prices is Ben Pauling’s CREEP DESBOIS at 9/2. Anything you can get better later is a bonus....

That’s not a typical price for this column. But it’s a price I’m happy enough with. And I don’t want to go reaching for the sakes of it.

At the prices I prefer the 6yo to the favourite Crievehill. That one must overcome a 9lb rise in the weights after running out a wide-margin winner at Sandown earlier this month....

I’m always suspicious of wide-margin wins. They can both flatter and deceive. And on a different day and a 9lb higher mark, it can prove difficult to replicate that kind of superiority....

I’m not saying the Twiston-Davies horse can’t win – just that I would prefer to oppose him to do it than back him to do it at the 9/4s....

Creep Debois probably should have won last time – his first run since being freshened-up at home following some progressive efforts in the early part of the winter....

He got mugged at the death at Leicester last time. The upside of that is that he’s only gone up 2lbs and he can find compensation tomorrow off the revised mark of 131....

  • Back the Legend....

In the Staying Chase Series Final at 3.15 POTTERS LEGEND can make amends for a fall when looking poised to win last time out at Fakenham....

He was well-supported that day – suggesting there was some expectation about him. He looks potentially very well handicapped on a mark of 130. William Hill are up early at 7s and that is a fair-enough price about him. If you can get better later, better still....

It’s getting on for 18-months since he troubled the scorers, but he was well thought of as a novice and ran off a mark of 140 at Aintree last year – following a very good 4th in last year’s edition of the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival....

Earlier this term he was considered good enough to run in the high-quality Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury – where he finished 7th – and he was sent to Cheltenham for a decent handicap in January....

If his trainer’s targets are any indication, this horse could still be pretty good. It may be that his tumble down the weights over the last 12 months has been the result of running on surfaces a little softer than ideal.

He’ll get a bit of better ground tomorrow. It certainly won’t be heavy. And off his current mark this horse should be able to get competitive under Aidan Coleman – who rode him last time....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Middle Distance Chase Series Final (2.05 @ Haydock)....

In the Staying Chase Series Final (3.15 @ Haydock)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – POTTERS LEGEND (7s William Hill)

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....

I’ll be back in your inbox on Sunday with my take on Monday’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd