Contrarian picks for the weekend's big races...

Last Updated: 05.02.2016

Friday, 5th February 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • San Benedeto – the Champion value at 12s….
  • Possible Road to profit with Riches….
  • The value at 9s in the Irish Gold Cup….

San Benedeto – the Champion value at 12s….

Silsol won last year’s renewal of the Welsh Champion Hurdle (Ffos Las 2.05) with Kayf Moss in behind. Those two   go again this time round and sit second and third in the market respectively. The jolly is Deputy Dan – a horse who has had this race earmarked as a target for a while by trainer Oliver Sherwood.

It is easy enough to make a case for any of those horses – but the market has gotten there first. I’m much more interested in what the market might be overlooking and for me that horse is SAN BENEDETO at 12s with Paddy Power.

He’s put in a series of decent enough efforts this term – without setting the world alight – and has clearly learnt to settle better than he did earlier in his career. Last time out he produced a career personal-best on my figures and there should be more to come yet from a young hurdler who is still very much unexposed.

One thing you can rely on at Ffos Las is testing ground. He won’t be disadvantaged on that kind of surface – as illustrated by his win at Wincanton on similar ground back in November.

Some of tomorrow’s opponents look priced-up on older form. San Benedeto arrives on the crest of a personal peak. We know he is fit and we are not having to rely on a return to former lustre. I think the 12s represents a decent enough each-way price in the context of the race.

Possible Road to profit with Riches

Road To Riches arrives for tomorrow’s Irish Gold Cup (Leopardstown 3.40) off the back of a lay-off but he’s the one with the form in the book – had the ground been a bit better last spring he might well have won a Gold Cup – and that accounts for his short price at the head of the market this afternoon.

Connections are said to be happy with his work at home and – if he’s on-song he should have too much for this field – but I wonder how finely tuned he will be for tomorrow’s assignment and – given the short price – I am more than happy to take him on.

If you did want to make something out of Noel Meade’s charge you might consider betting him at his current quotes of 12s to win the Gold Cup at the Festival.

If he wins tomorrow he will contract in price for that race and you’ll be sitting on a bit of value.

If he loses then he might well be rerouted to the Ryanair Chase instead – Gigginstown have other Gold Cup options in the form of Don Poli and Don Cossack. In that scenario you would trigger the Non-Runner-No-Bet concession most of the bookies are offering on Gold Cup bets – getting your money back….

And even if Road To Riches were to lose tomorrow and be sent on to the Gold Cup, he will come on for the run and improve for better ground – so it wouldn’t be the end of the world to be on last year’s 3rd place finisher at 12s….

Just a thought. Your call….

The value at 9s in the Irish Gold Cup….

Getting back to tomorrow’s race I think there might be a bit of value in opposing market sentiment about Enda Bolger’s GILGAMBOA.

Last time out in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown the 8yo was trying the 3 mile trip for the first time.  He went well for a long way – looking like the winner at one point – but fell away after a mistake at the last fence and the visual impression – at least at first sight – might be that he didn’t get home. Race reports compounded that view – offering the opinion that the horse would be better back at trips around two and a half miles.

But I’m not sure the race-readers (whose comments shape the general market’s perceptions) got it right – and at 9s I am prepared to put my money where my mouth is….

It was Gilgamboa’s first go at 3 miles; he was running against more experienced horses in the biggest field he’d ever encountered; he was giving weight to everything; and the ground was heavier than ideal for him.

I think, all things considered, he ran a cracker of a race. And given conditions on the day – which were very testing indeed – I think I can forgive an inexperienced chaser a bit of tiredness under a big weight.

Trainer Enda Bolger considers his horse a strong stayer and with Barry Geraghty back onboard for tomorrow’s mission, and with more suitable soft ground playing to the horse’s strengths, I think the son of Westerner can go on again and prove unexposed at 3 miles rather than unsuited to 3 miles.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap where the value is tomorrow afternoon….

In the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las...

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SAN BENEDETO each-way (12s Paddy Power)

In the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Pick – GILGAMBOA each-way (9s generally)

That is my take on tomorrow’s target races. You will no doubt have your own ideas – and that’s exactly as it should be. You can watch the action at Ffos Las unfold live on C4 & ATR. The Leopardstown card can be viewed on ATR.

That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back on Monday. Enjoy your weekend.


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