The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 07.12.2018

Friday, 7th December 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action….

A field of 18 goes to post for tomorrow’s Becher Chase at Aintree (1.30).

There are plenty you could make a case for – as you’d expect in a competitive valuable handicap. The one I can’t let go unbacked at the prices is ULTRAGOLD at the 12s with Ladbrokes & Coral and 11s with Betfred & William Hill….

Colin Tizzard’s charge might be a 10-year-old now but he’s one of those horses that absolutely comes alive over the idiosyncratic challenge presented by the Grand National fences….

He’s won the Topham Chase twice in 2017 and 2018. And he was 2nd in between times he was 2nd in the Grand Sefton - career-best performances….

Of course, the Topham and the Grand Sefton are run over the 2m5f trip whilst tomorrow’s Becher is a 3m2f assignment. Ultragold is going to have to do it over further than he gone before. But he really does love these fences, he was staying on strong in April’s Topham and it would be no surprise to see him run another huge race….

The ground has turned up heavy at Aintree. But I’m not concerned about that. This horse has jumped well out of heavy ground around the Grand National track twice before and the underfoot conditions won’t bother him as much as some of the horses he is up against tomorrow afternoon….

Tom O’Brien comes in for the ride. That’s no issue. The pair combined well over these fences in the 2018 Grand Sefton. I can’t see the absence of Harry Cobham making as a huge negative that being the case….

  • Two-against-the-field….

I want to be two-against-the-field in this one and 11yo REGAL FLOW strikes as one that could be underestimated at 33s with bet365 and 25s generally – and I would be backing him each-way….

He’s not getting any younger, but it cannot be denied that he had the season of his life last term – winning three races and producing a career-best in victory at Uttoxeter in the Midlands Grand National….

Bob Buckler has highlighted the Grand National a primary option for him this season. He’s up to 140 in the rankings now. But if he’s going to get a race in the big one come April, he is going to have to rise through the rankings a little further yet. He really needs to get a decent win under his belt….

Why not tomorrow? He jumps well, he’s the sort you’d expect to take to these big fences and he also gets his ground. He goes well on a heavy surface and he’ll be better suited to tomorrow’s conditions than plenty of his rivals….

He’s already had a couple of race this term. So, he’s been building towards fitness whilst some of those he faces tomorrow will have to do it at the first time of asking – some of very long layoffs….

And it’s worth noting that this horse won on his third appearance in each of the last two seasons….

The booking of James Bowen is interesting. He rode he horse at Bangor for the first-time last time out and will have learnt a little….

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Becher Chase (1.30 @ Aintree).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ULTRAGOLD (12s @ Ladbrokes & Coral & 11s with Betfred & William Hill) & REGAL FLOW each-way (33s @ bet365 & 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 now.

I’ll be back a little later with ATC Extra….

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

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd