The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Last Updated: 21.12.2018

Friday, 21st December 2018

The contrarian word on the weekend action....

Before we begin today, just a quick reminder about what to expect over Christmas….

I’ll be targeting the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow and the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown on Thursday 27th December….

I’ll have my thoughts and selections with you prior to 10.00am on race-day….

Hopefully we can bag ourselves a post-Christmas return. As ever, I’ll be doing my best to try and make that happen….

Moving on to this weekend’s bets….

  • A target trainer takes aim….

Back in January at Plumpton, Gary Moore’s 108-rated NOT NEVER was winning a class 4 handicap hurdle on heavy ground off the back of a 215-day lay-off….

Subsequent events tell us that wasn’t a bad performance. The form has worked out well with the eight horses that went to post producing seven wins between them in the meantime….

Not Never himself was one of those winners. He went in easily next time off a revised mark of 113….

The 5lb raise was woefully inadequate. He put another Plumpton field to the sword – thrashing them by 16-lengths….

The handicapper wasn’t so lenient this time – putting the horse up almost a stone to his current mark of 126….

We haven’t seen him again since. But he turns out for the first time in 299 days to contest tomorrow’s G3 Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot (3.35).

There is more to come yet from this horse. Gary Moore has a cracking record in top 2-mile big-field handicaps with the likes of Wingman, Numide, Violet Dancer (and others) flying the flag with distinction for the yard. And I suspect Not Never is another developing hurdler for whom Moore will have those kinds of lofty ambitions….

I think there’s some significance to the fact that this tough handicap is selected as a first-time-back test. Moore must be well-convinced of his horse’s fitness and soundness to give him such a stiff assignment first-time-up. I suspect this has been a long-range target, and Gary Moore is one of those trainers who can target with aplomb. The horse will be tuned to the minute….

The horse has a history of going very well first-time-up, the soft Ascot ground shouldn’t bother him, and all things taken together this morning’s general 16s is a nice each-way price….

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Betfair Exchange Trophy (3.35 @ Ascot).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – NOT NEVER each-way (16s 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...

Until next time. Stay tuned. Enjoy your Christmas….

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd