The contrarian word on Day 4 at Royal Ascot....

Last Updated: 21.06.2018

Thursday, 21st June 2018

The contrarian word on Day 4 at Royal Ascot….

Tomorrow afternoon’s Sandringham Stakes (5.00) doesn’t have the gloss of some of the other handicaps runs at the Royal Ascot meeting – but it is an excellent target race for our purposes nevertheless....

The market has a better record of calling this race than it does with some of the other weight-oriented events – but there are still good bets at nice prices to be snapped-up....

A field of 24-runners goes to post for the 2018 renewal. And plenty of these lightly-raced 3yo fillies are open to mounds of improvement that can’t be accurately measured or guessed-at in advance. It’s part of what make the race so difficult....

But no matter. One that really interest me at this morning’s 14s is the Sir Michael Stoute trained DESERT DIAMOND....

Stoute has had a nice meeting so far – bagging the winner of the Jersey Stakes and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes from just half a dozen runners in total – and I reckon this one is another live one for him....

This smart little filly will certainly be staying on strong at the end of tomorrow’s contest. Last time at York she ran out a very straightforward winner of a 10f handicap having won over the extended 8f on the AW at Wolverhampton tomorrow....

Danny Tudhope rode her at York and marked her out as a horse with a future afterwards. However quick they go off tomorrow, I can see her being one that is ticking on at the end under Oisin Murphy.

She’s gone up 7lb for the York win – her first run on grass and her first in a handicap – but I can’t see that putting the lid on her. She’s a live one at a reasonable price.

The other one I like is Ed Walker’s AGROTERA – also at 14s with Betstars and 12s generally....

I just think she could be well-handicapped on an opening mark of just 88. It could prove a real generous gift from the handicapper.

The time before last she ran a 101-rated and much-more experienced rival (who re-opposes tomorrow) to within a length....

Next time at Windsor, she produced a ready win over 11 rivals. The one she beat into 2nd has already come out and won....

Handicaps are about weight and weight is allotted based on ratings. I think this one is carrying less weight than her true level of ability says she should. And in Jamie Spencer, she has the right man on her back to capitalize up the Ascot straight....

  • In the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes....

In the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (5.35) I am drawn to the chances of Charlie Appleby’s EYNHALLOW at 12s.....

He was touted as a nice prospect for this season ahead of his Meydan campaign where he ran twice – both times with credit – without managing to get his head in front....

The fact that he hasn’t been seen yet this season in Britain might represent a concern in some quarters....

But I think connections have been protecting his mark for this very assignment and I note that he produced a good performance both times he’s been asked to run off a break – winning on his seasonal debut for Roger Charlton last term and then running within a length of the winner on his debut for Appleby and Godolphin in Meydan in February....

I am also minded that his best turf performance to date was produced on his final run for Roger Charlton – where he was 2nd in last season’s edition of the valuable Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket in October....

That was over 12f on decent ground for that time of year and he was up against 15 opponents. He’s quite a light horse and in tomorrow’s big field he could bounce around on tomorrow’s quick surface.

I’m taking his fitness on trust to a large degree, but connections are not going to get many opportunities to win a handicap pot like this off his current mark and I suspect they will have him primed to give a strong showing with James McDonald an interesting booking in the plate....

Appleby knows exactly what type of horse is required to win this race. He did it last term with Rare Rhythm – that one winning off the exact same mark Eynhallow runs off tomorrow. The 12s is a fair price that lightning can strike twice.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Sandringham Stakes (5.00 @ Ascot).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – DESERT DIAMOND (14s generally) & AGROTERA (14s Betstars & 12s generally)

Get the latest odds here >>

In the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (5.35 @ Ascot).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – EYNHALLOW (12s 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 today.

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

I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow with my contrarian take on Day 5 at Royal Ascot....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd