The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 23.11.2018

Friday, 23rd November 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

Saturday has turned into something of a disappointment for handicap fans this week….

There are several handicaps with decent money up for grabs at Haydock. But those races have not been particularly well supported with entries….

Small-fields make for more efficient markets. And more efficient markets make the search for value a thankless task. It’s not an ideal situation. But it happens….

Races I would have hoped to take an interest in must be by-passed. There’s no point playing if nothing particularly appeals at the price. And I’m not a big fan of reaching for bets just to tick a box. Better to keep the powder dry for best with more meat on the bone further down the road….

All that said, Saturday afternoon’s cards at Haydock and Ascot do at least provide a coupe of bets worth placing….

  • Up at Haydock….

Donald McCain and Will Kennedy generally combine to good effect up at Haydock and the 10s about CHTI BALKO with bet365, William Hill and Unibet is worth taking for tomorrow’s Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Handicap Hurdle at 1.50….

Most of the 6yo’s best efforts have been produced on winter ground but there was nothing wrong with his performance on a decent-enough surface at Ayr last time and he is worth a crack on the Haydock surface tomorrow….

He likes the Merseyside track and if he can act on quicker ground than you’d usually get at Haydock at this time of year then he can add to the good figures he’s produced there….

That Ayr run was his first for 7-months and it was a decent effort to finish 2nd and not beaten far under topweight to a heavily-supported and progressive La Patriote. He is entitled to improve again for the run….

He steps back up in trip for tomorrow’s assignment. But I’m not concerned about that. On slightly quicker ground than he’s had for this type of trip in the past I expect him to get the trip better….

  • Down at Ascot

Paul Nicholls and CYRNAME could be the answer at 15/2 with William Hill for tomorrow’s Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase at 3.15….

He’s one of the more lightly-raced and progressive horses in the field and at home he’s a highly-though-of individual – considered among the likely future stars for Ditcheat….

He could well turn out to be Grade horse. He certainly performed well enough in G2 and G1 races as a novice last season. And this assignment tomorrow off a mark of 150 looks like an attempt by the yard to land a big handicap prize before moving on to better things….

His return under Harry Cobden in a Listed race at Carlisle earlier this month would have been nothing more than a pipe-opener and was a fair-enough effort that you’d expect him to step up from tomorrow….

Regular rider Sean Bowen returns in the saddle, the ground will be fine, and he will enjoy going right-handed….

He’s a big player on his best novice form and the 15/2 is fair enough in a race where quite a few must answer a fair few questions….

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Handicap Hurdle (1.50 @ Haydock).

In the Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase (3.15 @ Ascot).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – CYRNAME (15/2 @ William Hill)

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

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

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd