The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 04.05.2018

Friday, 4th May 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

Charlie Appleby’s got his string in excellent form and I want to be with his OASIS CHARM at 11s for tomorrow’s Spring Lodge Stakes at Newmarket. They go to post for that at 1.50.

The lightly-raced 4yo was unlucky not to land a first handicap prize over 10f at Newmarket’s July meeting last term – he got beaten less than a length. That was a clear career-best performance and connections pulled up stumps for the season afterwards....

He returned to action on the all-weather at Chelmsford last month – winning a 6-runner race and 9k in prize money in decent fashion. He’s clearly fit and firing.

He’s up to a turf mark of 96 now. But you’d expect more to follow. I can’t imagine the Chelmsford run was anything more than a prep for some bigger and better prize. Tomorrow is that race and I expect a big performance.

He gets a bit of juice in the ground – something connections reckon will suit – for the first time tomorrow. And, despite this horse being talked-up as a future mile-and-a-half contender last term, I reckon the step back to 9f will suit.

Sired by Oasis Dream, there’s plenty of pace in this lad’s make-up and he’s at his best when given his head and allowed to bowl along at pace. A strong-run 9f should play to his strengths.

With William Buick in the plate, he’s got the perfect partner for the straight 9f strip at Newmarket  – as we highlighted in yesterday’s column....

  • Two-against-the-field....

The 11s about Oasis Charm is not an each-way price for me and I’m going to go two-against-the-field – backing both horses to win and foregoing the opportunity to play for place money....

I’m winging it a little with my second selection – BAYDAR at 25s with Ladbrokes, 22s with bet365 and 20s generally – but my antenna is twitching....

He was well off-the-boil last term – you see nothing but duck eggs if you look at his most recent form figures – after running up a 4-timer and rising from 82 to 105 in the official ratings the season before as a 3yo....

After multiple disappointing efforts last term – and a bit of bad luck on occasion – he left Hugo Palmer’s yard and went to Ian Williams. Drawn wide on his yard debut in a big handicap at Newbury, he never figured. And he hasn’t been seen since....

Tomorrow he goes for Williams for the second time. He’s down 5lbs to a mark of 95 – 4lbs below his last winning mark – and he’s been gelded.

There’s no knowing how that procedure might improve him. There’s no knowing for sure how fit he will be first time up. But Luke Morris is nothing if not an interesting booking. He’s won on four and placed on another four of the 18 handicap rides he’s taken for Williams over the last 5-years....

And there’s juice in the ground. And that is right up this 5yo’s street. He hasn’t encountered ground with cut since putting together that four-timer back in 2016.

Williams has had a few months to get into this horse and I can’t see him being as bad now as he was last year. If I’m right, then he is dangerously well-handicapped animal. And if Williams has got him forward then he can outrun his big price – and by a fair margin. 

  • Down at Goodwood....

I’m backing Ralph Beckett’s TAUREAN STAR down at Goodwood for the Matchbook Handicap over 7f (2.40).

I’m going to take the 10s generally available about the horse despite him being drawn out in stall 12....

On the turning right-hand 7f track, a wide draw might be considered a disadvantage but in each of the last 3 renewals horses drawn in double-figure stalls have made the frame. Last year one of them won. And I’m not going to let the stall number put me off a well-handicapped horse....

When with Michael Bell the 5yo was rated as high as 92. He goes off 87 tomorrow – 2lbs below his last winning mark – having been dropped 2lbs by the handicapper for his last-time-out performance at Newmarket.

That was his first run for new trainer Ralph Beckett and the reduction in the rating is a bit of a gift. Taurean Star finished 6th of 14 over 7f beaten just over 6-lengths. But he didn’t get a clear run and he was hampered late on. The horse shaped better than the bare form suggests.

The horse looked well ahead of racing, Beckett’s clearly got him going and he’s a nice price to go in off a mark he can do business from.

For sure, in addition to the double-figure stall, he’s going right-handed for the first time. But whose to say he won’t thrive on it? For me, it’s about advantage at the weights and Taurean Star makes appeal on that basis.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Spring Lodge Stakes (1.50 @ Newmarket).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – OASIS CHARM (11s generally) & BAYDAR (25s @ Ladbrokes, 22s @ bet365 & 20s generally)

Get the latest odds here >>

In the Matchbook Handicap (2.40 @ Goodwood).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – TAUREAN STAR (10s generally)

Get the latest odds here >>

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 in your inbox a little today with ATC Extra....

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

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd