Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow afternoon....

Last Updated: 29.04.2016

Friday, 29th April 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • A big weekend….
  • Where the Indicator points in the 2000 Guineas….
  • The value in the 2000 Guineas (3.45)….
  • In the Suffolk Stakes (2.00)….

A big weekend….

Sometimes you wonder who writes the script….

When your pick falls at the first fence – just as Sykes did in yesterday’s target race at Punchestown – you know you’re having one of those days….

You can’t predict such things. You can’t legislate for them. All you can do is accept them, pick yourself up and move on….

It’s a big weekend for race fans with the first classics of the 2016 season – the 2000 Guineas (Saturday) and the 1000 Guineas (Sunday) – set to be decided at Newmarket….

We’ll get on to my contrarian selections – my idea of where the value lies – in a moment…. First, let’s see where the indicator stats point in tomorrow’s 2000 Guineas….

Where the Indicator points….

Our Indicator tool on our website seeks to establish which horses in our target race rank as ‘win’ and ‘place’ finishers on a series of scales relating to ratings, strike-rates and other measures that we think of as numerical expressions of an assortment of ‘opinions’….

We don’t necessarily expect the Indicator to call the exact finishing order in every race we target. Instead we are looking for a quick and dirty indication of which horses are the dominant finishers in the ‘opinion’ of most measures….

Multiple horses in tomorrow’s 200 Guineas ‘win’ (yellow) or ‘place’ (blue) on at least one opinion scale. But some horses are more dominant than others (scoring more ‘wins’ and more ‘places’ than others)….

Taken as a whole, the Indicator data suggests the finishing order in tomorrow’s race will be as follows….

  • Air Force Blue
  • Marcel
  • Buratino

I’ll be having a small stakes Combination Tricast to that effect…. Just for fun….


The value in the 2000 Guineas….

My Indicator is a number-cruncher – nothing more and nothing less. As a mechanical producer of selections for low downside/maximum upside bets like Combination Tricasts, it does what it says on the tin.

Value-seeking requires a bit more nuance and a bit more subtlety. It requires you to pay attention to the detail, the specific circumstances surrounding the races and the conditions it will be run in – something the bare numbers don’t/can’t do. 

On all known form Air Force Blue is the one to beat in tomorrow’s 2000 Guineas (3.45). And the odds-on price reflects that. But the son of War Front was a late foal and is by no means a certain stayer at the mile trip – a stiff mile trip. Trainer Aidan O’ Brien voiced just such concerns last weekend. At the price I have to take him on.

Mark Johnston’s BURATINO is the one horse who had the necessary zip to nail Air Force Blue last season – in the Coventry Stakes albeit with more experience under his belt at the time.

He was beaten the next two times he met the O’Brien horse and was beaten by the very smart Shalaa in the Middle Park Stakes – but those defeats came over 6f and I’m mindful that Buratino is more stoutly bred than Air Force Blue and should improve for this step up to a mile.

If Air Force One does prove to be all speed and less about stamina then the Johnston horse is one who should still be on the premises approaching the final quarter of the race and one he will be vulnerable to at the death.

Galileo Gold has seen money this week – and plenty of it.

He’d been expected to skip Newmarket in favour of a tilt at the French version of the 2000 Guineas in a fortnight’s time. But a racecourse gallop under Frankie Dettori at Newmarket’s Craven meeting has encouraged connections to change their plans and head for tomorrow’s race instead.

The horse is clearly highly thought-of (in the close season Frankie Dettori nominated him as a potential star-ride this term), he’s said to be spot-on for tomorrow afternoon and Hugo Palmer’s yard is going well.

I toyed long and hard with going two against the favourite. But in the end I’ve decided to stick to just Buratino and support him each-way at the general 14s.

When Galileo Gold got beaten in France at the back end of last season it was on good ground that was said to be a little quick for him afterwards. There’s not much rain about over Newmarket over the next 24 hours according to the forecasters – and a stiff breeze will help dry the ground out.

I’m reckoning that the ground will be good tomorrow afternoon rather than the good to soft I think Palmer was hoping for earlier in the week. 

In the Suffolk Stakes….

The 4yo’s have had the whip-hand over the years in tomorrow’s opening handicap at Newmarket– the Suffolk Stakes (2.00) over the straight 9f.

The market has found Sir Michael Stoute’s Intimation – a filly with Group entries for later in the season….

But one it might have missed at an each-way price is William Jarvis’s bottom-weight – DEMONSTRATION at 16s.

He didn’t achieve much on the turf last season. But over the winter he stepped things up on the all-weather having been gelded, having moved from James Toller’s yard and having the cheekpieces applied – breaking the track record over 9.5 furlongs at Wolverhampton and not disgracing himself when stepped up to class 2 level.

He likes to lead and I’m mindful that there’s not a tremendous amount of early pace in tomorrow’s race. He might well get things his own way up top and there’s no better man to capitalise on that than Joe Fanning.

He got a fair tune out of the horse at Wolverhampton in November. The horse is tough and stuck on well for him from the front and a similar scenario tomorrow afternoon can see the horse in the frame.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the 2000 Guineas (3.45 Newmarket)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – BURATINO each-way (14s generally)

In the Suffolk Stakes (2.00 Newmarket)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – DEMONSTRATION 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.


That’s all from me for now. I’ll be back a little later today with ATC Extra and my selections in the Thirsk Hunt Cup.

And I’ll be back in your inbox Saturday night with my contrarian take on Sunday afternoon’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket….

Stay tuned.


Place your 2000 Guineas bets with Racebets and if your pick finishes 2nd or 3rd then they’ll give you a free bet (matching your stake up to £25.00) for Sunday’s 1000 Guineas. No Racebets account? Put that right and qualify for the concession right here….

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd