The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 05.10.2018

Friday, 5th October 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

Before we get started today, a quick note to advise you to check your email tomorrow morning....

G1 races are not the normal fare for this column, but Sunday’s Arc De Triomphe is one of my favourite races.

I always like to be involved and I’ll be betting on Sunday. That being the case, I’ll be sharing my analysis and picks....

As I say, look out for that on Saturday morning....

Now, onto the big race that provides our betting target tomorrow afternoon – the Challenge Cup over the straight 7f at 3.35 down at Ascot....

  • Dangerous off 97....

RAISING SAND is a dangerous proposition on a mark of 97 and is worth a bet at this morning’s 12s in the ante post market....

The 6yo is one of those horses that takes to the Ascot surface. He’s had 20 races and each of his best five performances – on my figures at least – have been registered at the Berkshire track....

The best of those came in this event last year when he was third off a mark 98. He made most of the running that day only to be overwhelmed in the last 150 yards by a couple of horses that went on to record a 1-2 in this season’s edition of the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot....

He’s a pound lower tomorrow and Nicola Currie takes off another useful 3lbs. He’s set-up to run a big one....

You can look at his form figures coming into this race and make the case that he’s not in the form this term that he was in last term. That’s fair enough. But I’m not so sure....

His 7th place finish in the Royal Hunt Cup is better than it looks at first glance. He missed the break that day and raced on the wrong side. He wasn’t beaten a mile in the Cunard. And he caught the eye in last week’s Cambridgeshire – finishing off well in 8th and overhauling plenty of horses late on....

He looked well ahead of last week’s assignment and they’ve turned him around quickly for this. Back on his favourite track, on ground that’s a little slower than he’s been running on this term and from a high stall, there’s no reason he can’t run another big race tomorrow....

  • Two-against-the-field....

The other one I’m going to play is Richard Fahey’s GROWL at 20s....

He was running in G1 races last term but hasn’t managed to finish in front since 2016. That’s a long losing spell....

But he’s been dropping down the weights as a result and he’s been knocking on the door frequently this term off a sub-100 mark over the 6f trip....

He’s been finishing off well without quite having the pace to be there with a chance of winning. Maybe this step up to the 7f trip is what he needs to find that extra competitivity at the death....

He’s never won over 7f, but he has put up a couple of decent showings in big-field handicaps at the trip– one of those in the 2016 edition of this race....

It’s not as though this horse is out of form. Forget his last time effort at Ayr on heavy ground. Prior to that he’d been 4th in the Dash at York, 3rd in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, 3rd in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon, and 3rd at Chester – albeit in a lesser event.

He’s running well. He just needs something to give him that extra bit required to win. The handicapper has done his bit this term.

If the extra yardage is what the horse needs these days, then the 20s is a massive price about a still-very-smart operator....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Challenge Cup (3.35 @ Ascot).

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 now....

No ATC Extra this afternoon – but just another reminder to check your inbox tomorrow morning when I’ll bring you my contrarian take on Sunday’s Arc De Triomphe in Paris....

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

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

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd