The contrarian word on this evening's action....

Last Updated: 25.04.2018

Wednesday, 25th April 2018

The contrarian word on this evening’s action….

We have a nice handicap to target this evening in the shape of the Guinness Handicap Chase at Punchestown....

A field of 18 runners goes to post at 6.40 on ground described this morning as yielding to soft....

Colin Tizzard fielded the first two home in this last year and his Shanahan’s Turn makes a worthy favourite this time around....

He had a wind-op in January and he produced evidence last time out – 2nd in the Topham Chase at Aintree – that the procedure has worked the magic....

He was rated 153 over fences at one time. This evening he runs off 136 and given that he’s proved his well-being, he’s the one to beat....

But the market has found him at 5s. This column is about opposing shorties rather than backing them – and I am happy to take on the short price....

I’m doing my usual trick and going two-against-the-field – backing both selections to win and foregoing the opportunity to play for place money....

  • Take this one to continue his progression....

First up is Seamus Spillane’s GOULANE CHOSEN at a general 20s.....

He produced a clear-cut career best on his third run over fences for his new handler at Gowran Park in March – winning comfortably....

Next time out over hurdles he bombed-out but back over fences he can continue his progression – which has seen him produce form figures of 14121 in his last 5 goes over the bigger obstacles....

He’s gone up 7lb for that Gowran Park victory – and will need to go on. But the manner of his latest win suggested there’s every chance he isn’t finished on 137. And he’s up against quite a few horses this evening that have been well off their best of late....

The heavy ground at Gowran Park certainly played to his strengths. He won’t be getting that tonight. But his connections reckon he can handle a bit better ground than that.

He has produced decent performances – albeit in lower grade races – on a half-decent surface. If he can translate that to this level of race, then he can out-run his price....

  • Weighted to go well....

The other one I’m going to go with is the apparent Colin Tizzard second-stringer VICONTE DU NOYER....

He was second in this race last term off a mark 148. This evening he goes off 143 and if he can replicate last season’s performance then he must have every chance....

He can be backed this morning at a general 20s. Part of that price is based on his last-time-out effort at Cheltenham where he pulled-up – never getting into the race....

But I can forgive that. The horse did almost the exact same thing at Cheltenham in his prep-run for this race last year. The race comments for each race are almost exact replicas of one another.

The 9yo had wind surgery ahead of his last assignment. It didn’t work out for him at Cheltenham, but sometimes the effects of these procedures don’t translate into performances until a little later down the line....

He’s well-handicapped on his best form and he’s racing 5lbs below his last winning mark – when he produced his one good performance from six goes at Cheltenham. He’ll certainly appreciate better ground than he’s seen of late.

I’m taking a little on trust with him. But if he can put it together he’s certainly weighted to go very well.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going this evening….

In the Guinness Handicap Chase (6.40 @ Punchestown).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – GOULANE CHOSEN (20s generally) & VICONTE DU NOYER (20s 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.

Get the latest odds here >>

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today.

Win, lose or draw – enjoy the racing....

I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd