The contrarian word on Day 3 at York....

Last Updated: 23.08.2018

Thursday, 23rd August 2018

The contrarian word on Day 3 at York….

The Sky Bet Handicap (1.55) over 12f is the race of interest to me tomorrow at York....

Another big field of 20 runners goes to post and barring one or two small anomalies it is the top-weights who dominate the market....

Fair enough but one that appeals to me at a price is the Declan Carroll trained TITUS at 18s & 20s. The first-time step-up to the 12f trip could well be the factor that enables him to deliver a pot for connections....

He’s been in decent heart for most of the summer – producing a series of promising performances over the 10f trip but not quite managing to get his head in front....

He’s placed the last three times over 10f off tomorrow’s mark – finding a couple too good but finishing his races off well....

His last time out performance over course and distance in the John Smith’s Cup – where he finished 4th of the 19 runners – was probably the pick of those efforts. That’s good form and tells us that he’s a horse who appreciates the Knavesmire....

And let’s not forget that he placed in another York handicap over the 10f trip back in May....

If the extra couple of furlongs does indeed do the trick for him tomorrow – with 5lbs claimer back in the saddle – then he is going to be there or thereabouts....

Watching brief....

Caliburn – the only 3yo in the field – has just his 6th run on turf in tomorrow’s target race....

I considered him as a bet at this morning’s 20s, but the quick ground put me off. His trainer thinks he needs it on the soft side of good....

They obviously rate this horse at home. They put him in a Group 3 race earlier in the summer. He got well beaten and it probably came too soon in his development, but it tells you they think he could turn out to be pretty good.... 

He’s one to watch out for tomorrow. Later in the season, when the ground turns for him, he is one to be on the right side of. And tomorrow’s race will provide him with some vital big-field experience....

  • Two-against-the-field....

The Michael Dods trained Mister Belvedere make some appeal at this morning’s 16s....

Michael Dods rates this horse and his assessment carries weight given that the horse has gone well in each of his 3 races to date this term. He’s won two of them – including one over tomorrow’s course and distance....

He’s up 3lbs for his last success at Haydock. But that’s not an unreasonable hike given that the 4yo and the second-place horse pulled a good 9-lengths clear of the rest....

But he’s never encountered a field this size and both times he’s encountered more than 9 opponents he’s flopped. That’s not just a worry. It puts me off....

Preference is for Kevin Ryan’s ERIK THE RED at 14s....

He placed in this race last year off a mark of 100. The year before at this meeting, he placed in a 10f handicap off 96. The track and this time of year appear to suit him down to the ground....

His season looks like it has been designed around another serious crack at this race – and other late-season targets. He’s only had the one race this term – at Doncaster earlier this month – and showed up very nicely....

He was well-backed for that race and ran competitively without justifying the price. But he is entitled to improve for the run and could be cherry-ripe for tomorrow’s assignment....

He’s handicapped to be competitive on a mark of 98 and I reckon he is primed to produce another big run....

He ran without the usual cheekpieces up at Doncaster. It didn’t appear to bother the market. But it was a sign that maybe he was up there prepping for this. The headgear is back on tomorrow and must be considered a positive....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Sky Bet Handicap (1.55 @ York).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – TITUS (18s & 20s generally) & ERIK THE RED (14s 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 tomorrow with my contrarian take on the action on Day 4 at York....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd