The contrarian word on Day 5 at Goodwood....

Last Updated: 03.08.2018

Friday, 3rd August 2018

The contrarian word on Day 5 at Goodwood….

There’s no rain forecast down at Goodwood for either today or tomorrow. It’s going to be hot and the ground is only going to get quicker....

That will be prefect for GUNMETAL in tomorrow afternoon’s Stewards Cup (3.40) – and David Barron’s horse rates a bet in my book at the general 16s....

The 5yo has done absolutely nothing wrong since switching to Barron from Charles Hills in the spring. He won his first two for the yard - at Thirsk and Newmarket – rising from 88 to 98 in the process.

Next time – a fortnight back – he was sent across the Irish Sea for a shot at the decent money in the Scurry Stakes at the Curragh. He ran with credit there too – finishing 3rd and beaten 2-lengths.

Ben Curtis – who rode the horse in his first two goes for Barron – didn’t make the trip to the Curragh. Barron used the services of an Irish 5lb claimer instead – a rider who wouldn’t have known the horse and these things can make a big difference....

Curtis is back in the driving seat tomorrow and he’ll be relishing the prospect of this horse on rattling-fast ground. Earlier in the season, Curtis told race reporters that the faster the ground the better the horse goes.

This horse has improved. He can continue to improve. And a handicap mark of 98 is not a bad place to be in the context of this race. The price is on the generous side in my book.

  • Two-against-the-field....

I want to be two-against-the-field in a 28-runner handicap. That means I’m foregoing the opportunity to play for place money and backing both of my selections win only....

The other one I like is Peter Hedger’s 4yo SILENT ECHO at a general 14s....

This is another sprinter that has done very little you can criticise since switching yards. He moved to Hedger’s place from Roger Charlton back in February and put in a coupe of decent efforts early-doors on the all-weather before posting a nice sequence on turf between May and June....

He won two at Windsor – rising from 91 to 101 in rankings – and topped-out that spell with a commendable 5th-placed finish in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot....

That’s form not be sniffed at. Quite a few horses – as you might expect – have come out of that race to post subsequent wins. Back down to 99 and having had a break to recover, Hedger’s charge can add further burnish to that post-Wokingham record....

One little negative is that regular pilot Tom Marquand is at Newmarket on Saturday. Joe Fanning is the replacement.

It will be his first time on the horse. But he’s got previous form first-time up on a Hedger horse in a decent handicap – winning on Medburn Cutler at Newbury at a big price in May. That’s the kind of thing that builds confidence and Fanning’s rewards is this big chance tomorrow....

  • Back Soldier to produce a repeat performance....

A little earlier on the Goodwood card at 2.25, a field of 14 runners go to post for the Qatar Summer Handicap over the 1m6f trip....

Mark Johnston is having another good week at Goodwood’s showcase meeting and he runs a total of four in this one....

The jockey bookings are interesting. Silvestre De Sousa is up on SOLDIER IN ACTION and given how he’s been performing for Johnston over the last few days – his rides for the yard this week produce form figures that read 31112 – it’s reasonable to assume that De Sousa has had some hand in picking the one he wants to be on....

Last time he rode the horse was when winning this race last year. The horse has been out of form all this year, but he seems to come alive at Goodwood – he’s won two from three races at the venue – and you’d imagine connections are anticipating the same effect again....

If it happens, then the horse is certainly weighted to win better than he did last year on soft ground. He won by a head at the post off a mark of 106....

This year he goes to post on a mark of just 97. If a defence of this race has been the intended target for the horse, they’ve certainly done a good job of getting him down the weights for it....

He will have to bounce back from a sequence of under-whelming efforts. But he wouldn’t be the first Johnston handicapper to pull that trick off. And, like I say, De Sousa in the plate on the back of the last few days suggests it isn’t entirely unexpected.

The 14s with Betfred and the general 12s are fair enough.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Stewards’ Cup (3.30 @ Goodwood).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – GUNMETAL (16s generally) & SILENT ECHO (14s generally)

Get the latest odds here >>

In the Qatar Summer Handicap (2.25 @ Goodwood).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SOLDIER IN ACTION (14s @ Betfred & 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 a little later today with ATC Extra....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd