The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 29.06.2018

Friday, 29th June 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

The party gets started early this weekend....

We’re up at Newcastle tonight for a crack at the Gosforth Park Cup Handicap (7.30) over the fast 5f trip....

A field of 14 horses turns out and the one I like at the prices is the Michael Dods-trained DAKOTA GOLD at a general 8s....

At the back-end of last term, he looked like a sprinter who was going places – producing a sequence of decent efforts and climbing up the rankings to a career-high mark of 100....

Excepting a half-decent effort in defeat at Thirsk in May, he hasn’t managed to recapture that form this term – but he has had excuses. At York last time out, for instance, he was well down the field, but the race had developed well away from him....

It’s way too early to start thinking this horse has gone at the game. He just needs things to fall right. And tonight could be the night.

On what is an AW debut, the in-form Michael Dods reaches for the first-time hood and for the first time with this horse calls on the services of 3lb claimer Callum Rodriguez.

He takes a bit of weight off but he’s also a good man to have onboard in the handicaps at this track and he has a good record at the venue when riding for Dods....

  • Be Brave in the feature at Newcastle tomorrow....

In tomorrow’s feature race at Newcastle – the Northumberland Plate (2.05) – ISLAND BRAVE can give a good account of himself at a big 25s....

Heather Main’s horse is drawn on the high-side, but he wouldn’t be the first to defy that perceived disadvantage and run a big race....

In his favour, the 4yo is sure to appreciate the Tapeta surface at Newcastle. He’s unbeaten when racing on it – having won on all four occasions he’s encountered it.

He hasn’t won over this far. Most of his racing has been done at trips around 12f. But when he was sent 2-miles at Lingfield in December he finished close-up. It wasn’t the strongest run race that day, but the omens are good nevertheless....

The bottom line is that after his last win – over the 12f trip at Newcastle in a 55k contest – connections were not only excited but talking about future assignments at Royal Ascot and in the Ebor at York later in the season....

Those are the assignments you expect for a very good stayer – a top-level handicapper. He didn’t go to Ascot as it transpired but serious consideration of that kind of target suggests the 25s for tomorrow’s contest underplays him to a significant degree....

Last time in mid-May on turf at York, he was competitive. But the fast ground may have done for him that day. If nothing else that run – his first since March – would have helped sharpen him up....

He’s only had three goes on turf and it would be premature to conclude that he prefers being on the AW. But back on this surface tomorrow – at a galloping track that he seems to appreciate – there is every chance he can resume his progress....

At the price he is an each-way bet for me and I expect a bigger run than the market is anticipating....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In tonight’s Gosforth Park Cup Handicap (7.30 @ Newcastle).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – DAKOTA GOLD (8s generally)

In tomorrow’s Northumberland Plate (2.05 @ Newcastle).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ISLAND BRAVE each-way (25s 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.

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today.

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

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

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd