The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 08.06.2018

Friday, 8th June 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

ORION’S BOW is a horse that is weighted to win again. And I’m going to take the general 14s with Skybet (12s generally) about him doing so in tomorrow afternoon’s Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh at 2.30....

At his peak in the 2016 season, when racing for David Nicholls and after producing five wins on the bounce, he was rated as high as 106....

The move to Tim Easterby’s yard at the end of that season corresponded with a drop-off in his form. Ten runs for the yard in the 2017 season produced not a single win and multiple drubbings at 5f and 6f....

His mark had dropped to 89 for the start of this season – a good 8lb lower than his last winning mark – and he went to Pontefract on his seasonal debut in April as a horse with something to prove....

  • Turning the corner?

In the event, he ran well – finishing third and perhaps unlucky not to do better having been trapped in a pocket inside the last furlong....

The two horses that beat him home that afternoon – he was just a length in arrears at the line – were Foolaad and El Astronaute. The former was subsequently 2nd at York in a good handicap won by El Astronaute. And that last one also showed-up well to finish 2nd in the Dash at Epsom....

Orion’s Bow also contested the York race won by El Astronaute. He was expected to go well, and he was well-backed. But he finished down the field – well-beaten again....

You might take the view that the Pontefract effort was a flash in the pan. And that the York race is a case of back to reality....

But I’m going to ignore the York run. Orion’s Bow has run at the track three times and been well-beaten each time. He just doesn’t seem to like the place....

I’m going to take the view that the Pontefract run was a turning of the corner – interrupted by a run at an unsuitable track....

The form of the Pontefract race is good, his mark is more than workable, and his yard is going well now. The price is acceptable....

  • Two-against-the-field....

The 12s about Orion’s Bow is not an each-way price for me, so I’m doing my usual trick and going two-against-the-field – backing both horses to win and foregoing the chance to play for place money....

My second selection is the David-Griffiths-trained ORNATE at 20s with William Hill and 16s generally....

This one – who had a wind-op in March – was previously with William Haggas and Robert Cowell. He bought out of the latter’s yard for 110,000 guineas – so he’s not been passed on as a clunker.  And he’s only had two runs for his new handler....

Both those runs came in Group contests this term and both times the horse was outclassed....

But those runs have succeeded in getting the horsed dropped to a more workable mark of 100 – he was 110 this time last year – and he drops in class tomorrow to run in what will be just his second start in a handicap....

The only other time he appeared in a handicap was as a 3yo. He ran off 100 that day and was only narrowly pipped in a 6f race at Ascot....

Griffiths excels with sprinters and he will know where he is at with this one. The hood is removed for the first time in a while. The drop back to 5f will suit. So too the ground. The bottom line is that this horse is a big price for one that was competitive with Group-class sprinters just 12-months ago....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Scottish Sprint Cup (2.30 @ Musselburgh).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ORION’S BOW (14s @ Skybet & 12s generally) & ORNATE 20s @ William Hill & 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.

Get the latest odds here >>

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today.

No ATC Extra today. I’ll be back in your inbox next week.

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

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd