The contrarian perspective on Day 3 at the Festival....

Last Updated: 13.03.2019

Wednesday, 13th March 2019

The contrarian perspective on Day 3 at the Festival….

So, the high winds fail to blow the Festival meeting off-course and Day 2 goes ahead. That’s great news....

If you haven’t already seen it, you’ll find my advice for this afternoon’s Coral Cup right here....

Things liven-up for us tomorrow on Day 3. The action switches to the New Course. And there are three big handicap events set to be run – with plenty of value bets to be struck....

The Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10) over the 3-mile trip....

The Brown Plate (4.10) over 2m5f and 17 fences....

And the Kim Muir (5.30) over 3m2f and 21 fences....

There’s no time to waste. Let’s get on with it....

  • Two for the Pertemps (2.10)

I cannot resist having a go on CHAMPERS ON ICE for this one tomorrow at the prevailing and generally available 20s (22s @ Unibet)....

He’s dropped all the way down to a potentially generous mark of 135 over hurdles. Part of the reason for that is that he was off 428-days ahead of his return at Haydock last month....

There was plenty of expectation ahead of him contesting that qualifier for this. But, on the day, he couldn’t justify co-favouritism. But he was able to finish 4th and showed enough in the process to suggest that he will be a dangerous proposition going forward....

He loves Cheltenham, he’s got a bit of Festival form in the bag (3rd in the 2016 edition of the Albert Bartlett), he’s getting weight off almost everything and he won’t mind cut in the ground. If he puts it altogether on the day – and he is more than capable – then he has a massive chance off his current low mark....

The other one I want to be with for this is Dr Richard Newland’s AARON LAD at the general 14s (16s with Unibet)....

The good doctor is a fantastic target trainer and this will have been the target ever since the horse ran out an impressive winner of a decent-enough handicap over course and distance back in December. You can expect him to be spot-on to give the very best account of himself....

Had Storm Rising won the Imperial Cup for the yard at Sandown on Saturday (and he would have gone a lot closer on better ground) Charlie Hammond would not be taking 5lbs off tomorrow. Instead, he’d have been taking 3lbs off. As it is, the extra couple of pounds will prove useful....

I think the cut in the ground will suit this horse to a tee. We know he stays up the hill. He’s tough, he’s genuine, he wants to do it. And he can prove himself a real live contender at a nice price tomorrow....

  • Two for the Brown Plate (4.10)….

EAMON AN CNOIC ran a big race for a long way in last year’s Ultima at the Festival – but found the 3m trip a bridge too far....

That was his first go at 3m+ and he hasn’t been sent over it again since. And he will be a real live contender over this more suitable shorter trip tomorrow....

He hasn’t done a great deal in-between times putting in a few below-par efforts before having his wind done in December....

But that procedure appears to have done the horse some good. He came out and won at Chepstow in February off a mark of 130 and you’d expect that run to have put him spot-on for tomorrow when he will run off the same mark of 137 that he ran off last year....

The Pipe yard know how to win this race. They’ve done it five times since 2000. And at the general 18s & 16s (20s @ William Hill), this horse is a nice bet to improve on that record....

Another trainer with a solid record of finding a horse for this race is Venetia Williams. Her DIDERO VALLIS sneaks into the race at the bottom of the weights and is interesting at the general 25s....

He didn’t get home over 3-miles last time at Kempton. Prior to that he’d been progressive over shorter trips and this step-back in trip tomorrow will enable him to continue along his upward curve....

He gets weight from everything in the race and the underfoot conditions will be no problem to him whatsoever. He’s a horse that can move on again from his current mark and a horse that can outrun the market’s assessment of his chance....

  • In the Kim Muir (5.30)....

Henry Oliver has got his string in a nice vein of form right now and it is his KILFILUM CROSS who catches the eye at 18s with Unibet and the general 16s for this one....

The 8yo has only had three starts over fences and just one for new handler Mr. Oliver. But the change in surroundings appears to have done the horse nothing but good....

He caught light at Ludlow last month (landing a gamble) and produced a much-improved performance – despite jumping left....

He lacks experience but handled the hurly-burly of a 16-runner maiden at Uttoxeter in December okay. And that’s a race that has produced plenty of winners in the meantime, so it’s not like he was in amongst a load of rags and produced as a matter of default....

This is a decent horse in the making. And, if he takes to the challenge tomorrow, he can go on again.  He can prove to be well in advance of his current mark....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Pertemps Final (2.10 @ Cheltenham).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks - CHAMPERS ON ICE (22s @ Unibet & 20s generally) & AARON LAD (16s @ Unibet & 14s generally)

In the Brown Plate (4.10 @ Cheltenham).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks - EAMON AN CNOIC (20s @ William Hill & 18s & 16s generally) & DIDERO VALLIS (25s generally)

In the Kim Muir (5.30 @ Cheltenham).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks - KILFILUM CROSS (18s @ Unibet & 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 tomorrow with my contrarian take on Day 4 at the Festival....

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

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd