Our contrarian pick for the Greatwood Gold Cup...

Last Updated: 04.03.2016

Friday, 4th March 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Laser Hawk for the Greatwood Gold Cup….

Laser Hawk for the Greatwood Gold Cup….

Monday to Thursday our intention is to bring you our specific Against the Crowd brand of insight, analysis and angles. But at the business end of the week (and during the big week-day Festivals) we step beyond theory and contemplation and into the realms of practice.

At such times I strap on the old tin hat, stick my head above the parapet, put my money where my mouth is (so to speak) and highlight our contrarian selections for the big races – my idea of the best value-for-money bets at the prices….

Our feature target races this weekend is the Greatwood Gold Cup (Newbury, Saturday 3.25) and a swift glance at our Indicator on the website (you’ll find it behind the Next Race button) reveals that the layers are most wary of Art Mauresque.

The relatively unexposed 6yo runs out of Paul Nicholls’s in-form yard, comes out top on the adjusted Racing Post ratings and was fit and in-form enough last time out to post the most respectable Topspeed rating of this bunch. The layers are also respectful of the unexposed Sametegal (also running for Nicholls) and Colin Tizzard’s last time out winner, Ultragold.

It’s tight at the top end though – half a dozen horses can be backed at single-figure prices this morning. There won’t be much volume of ante-post money for this race and the layers are in cautious mood – no doubt watching and waiting to see which way the money goes before committing further than they need to at this stage.

My own money will be riding with LASER HAWK at the generally-available 16s.

Evan Williams’s charge is very lightly raced for a 9yo. He’d done quite a bit on the Point-to-Point fields before heading to Williams. He only ran 3 times over hurdles last term and has run just 3 times over fences this term.

On his last but one run he was pulled-up at Warwick. He was turned around quickly and sent to Taunton where he went well but seemed not to get home on the heavy ground.

Those two efforts might have served to put the layers off the scent. But I’m more interested in the effort he produced at Newbury on his pro-debut on soft ground – where he was keen but finished his race off with a lot of promise.

He had no chance with the two in front of him that day - they are now rated 150 and 145 respectively – but he showed enough to suggest that he could be very nicely weighted tomorrow on a mark of 127.

He obviously likes the track, the ground will not be as heavy as it was for his last two runs, he carries a featherweight and whilst he’s inexperienced he jumps well having had plenty of experience in the point to points. I can’t buy the idea that his stamina is an issue given that he performed perfectly adequately over trips of 3 miles in those point-to-point races.

Paul Moloney is back onboard for the first time since that Newbury race and I expect him to better than his 16/1 price tag. He’s a nice each-way prospect.

This horse is well-thought-of at home – so much so he was considered last term for the valuable Betfair Hurdle. At the time Evan Williams referred to the horse as one worth keeping an eye on because he ‘has a nice future’. At 16s I’m prepared to bet the horse can put some polish on that statement tomorrow afternoon.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap where the value is in tomorrow’s Greatwood Gold Cup....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – LASER HAWK each-way (16s generally)

That is my take on tomorrow’s target race. You will no doubt have your own ideas – and that’s exactly as it should be. You can watch the action unfold live on C4 & RUK.


That’s all from me for today. Stay tuned for more contrarian big-race insight & analysis next week.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd