The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 20.07.2018

Friday, 20th July 2018 

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

It's a relatively quiet weekend this week. They can't all be super Saturday. But we do have a couple of races to shoot at...

First up is the Weatherby’s Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury (3.35) for the juveniles....

A big-field of 25 runners goes to post for the 5f dash and a chance to scoop a big pot. The winner will waltz off with a six-figure sum….

Juvenile races are not staple fare for this column. But with this race, we always make an exception.

It’s not an easy contest to solve. These young horses are developing fast, improving in leaps and bounds and the handicap marks many of them possess cannot be relied upon as an accurate gauge of their true ability….

The race is restricted to horses bought at public auction. And weight carried in the race is related to the price the horse was bought for rather than its official mark (along with allowances for sex and penalties on a sliding scale for previous wins).

I think that’s the first stop for most punters looking at this. They seek-out a horse the handicapper considers one of the best (with a relatively lofty mark) but which carries a low weight based on its auction price, allowances and penalties….

  • An each-way filly in the Super Sprint....

Robert Cowell’s BLAME ROBERTA – his first runner in the race – is the one that appeals to me at an each-way price of 25s....

She only cost $27,000 as a yearling and as such she gets in here towards the bottom of the weights and I am attracted by the booking of lightweight specialist Jimmy Quinn in the plate....

He doesn’t do so much riding these days and only has the one assignment at Newbury tomorrow and I think Robert Cowell has gone to the trouble of booking him to give his filly the best possible chance....

She’s only raced twice and there’s not much for to go on but the form of her Yarmouth debut in April is working out well with the 2nd 3rd and 7th that day posting subsequent wins. And she ran well in her reappearance at Windsor where she was only beaten 1.25 lengths and travelled sweetly into the race....

The top half of the draw has been the place to be in the last six renewals of this race, she goes out of stall 25 and there’s plenty of early pace around her to latch onto....

She’ll have the rail close at hand which could help and given that she ran a bit keen last time, this big field might enable her to settle better and produce a much-improved performance....

There’s always a lot of ifs, buts and maybe involved in an appraisal of this type of race, but at the price she makes plenty of appeal as one that can prove better than market sentiment suggests....

Cowell has been a little out of form of late. But there are signs this week that his horses are working their way back. I think the filly makes for a nice each-way bet....

  • Overpriced in the JLT Cup....

A little earlier on the Newbury card (2.25) 18 go to post for the JLT Cup – a handicap over the extended 2-mile trip....

ISLAND BRAVE strikes me as hugely over-priced at the 40s available with Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power. And I’d still be backing him each-way at the 33s and 25s generally available elsewhere....

He ran a cracker for us when we backed him each-way in the Northumberland Plate – doing his best work late on having met with quite a bit of interference....

That was on the all-weather off a mark of 100. His turf mark tomorrow is 7lbs lower. He’s considered a potential Ebor runner at home and if they’ve got that right then he should be ahead of 93....

At Newcastle his replacement rider Ben Curtis got a bit of criticism from some ATC readers for not working him into the race sooner. Luke Morris is back on duty in the saddle tomorrow and that must be considered a plus....

He’s totally unexposed on turf. To date his best work has come on artificial surfaces. But connections have turf plans for him and he is poised to take a big step forward. At the prices he rates a solid each-way play in my book....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Weatherby’s Super Sprint Stakes (3.35 @ Newbury):

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – BLAME ROBERTA each-way (25s generally)

In the JLT Cup (2.25 @ Newbury):

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ISLAND BRAVE each-way (40s @ Betfair Sportsbook & Paddy Power & 33s and 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....

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

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd