The contrarian take on day 5 at Royal Ascot....

Last Updated: 22.06.2018

Friday, 22nd June 2018

The contrarian take on Day 5 at Royal Ascot….

LIBRISA BREEZE thrives at Ascot. Six appearances at the track have yielded three wins and a place – and over half-a-million-quid in prize money....

Those three wins include a win in the G1 Champions Sprint Stake at the back-end of last season – a win achieved on soft ground that is thought to suit best....

But this is a versatile horse in terms of ground. He’s won plenty of money on a good to firm surface too and he was unlucky in the latest season’s edition of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – which was run on a quick surface....

Dean Ivory’s 6yo was 4th of the 19 runners and beaten just 2.25 lengths despite getting badly hampered when gearing up for his effort....

He could and should have been closer. And his exploits a little later in the year served to confirm that his run was no fluke. He’s a genuine G1 operator....

He turns out again in tomorrow’s renewal of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (4.20) and is nicely-enough priced at 12s to extract compensation for last season’s bad luck....

He hasn’t been seen since March in Meydan. He had been entered to run in the Lockinge at Newbury last month but was pulled out of that because he was off-colour....

But I’m not going to concern myself about the lack of a run. He turned up for this last season without a prep-race. He was solid enough in the market that day. And his on-track performance suggested he was ready to rock and roll....

I think it will be the same story tomorrow. And this track really does serve to ignite this horse. I think he’s a fair runner at a nice price.

  • In the Wokingham....

Kevin Ryan’s MAJOR JUMBO has been in cracking form this term producing four solid efforts on the bounce – winning at Newmarket on seasonal debut, placing twice at York in good handicaps and then placing behind Caspian Prince last time in the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh....

You could make the case that the handicapper has his measure on a mark of 101 – but I don’t buy into that idea....

I think the horse has shown enough to suggest he is capable of scoring again off his current perch and I think he is massively overpriced at the general 33s for tomorrow afternoon’s Wokingham Stakes (5.00)....

Detractors will point out that all the good work done by the horse this term has been done over 5f and that the horse is vulnerable tomorrow to stronger stayers over the stiff 6f trip at Ascot....

Fair enough. I see the logic. But this horse stayed 6f well on his one and only go at it at York at the back end of last season when he won a 3yo handicap in tenacious style. And he did it on soft ground – so it was a proper test and no easy extra furlong....

I think it was significant that Kevin Ryan chose to go 6f on the horse’s final appearance last term. He maybe just wanted to check it out before pulling up stumps....

Tomorrow will be the first time since then that the horse has travelled the extra furlong. Rather than it being a negative, I think there’s just as strong a chance it will prove a plus. The horse could well improve for it....

It is surely significant that Ryan has not gone for the services of a claimer as he has done all season. Instead he has turned to Jamie Spencer....

The latter’s prowess on the straight course is no secret. On the right horse he is probably worth a good 7lbs. Nobody knows that better than Ryan. The pair have combined to good effect in numerous big races up the Ascot straight....

The last 20 times they have done so in races worth more than £20k they have only finished outside the first six on seven occasions. In other words, they are frequently competitive. The win figure is four from that 20 and had you backed all the qualifiers you’d be 14 points to the good.

I think Spencer is a significant booking. And this morning’s 33s is big enough for me to stick to the one selection and go in each-way. I anticipate a big run.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (4.20 @ Ascot).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – LIBRISA BREEZE (12s generally)

Get the latest odds here >>

In the Wokingham Stakes (5.00 @ Ascot).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – MAJOR JUMBO each-way (33s 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….

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

That’s all from me for today.

No ATC Extra today.

I’ll be back in your inbox next week....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd