My contrarian picks for the Victoria Cup....

Last Updated: 06.05.2016

Friday, 6th May 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Never a dull day on the racing beat….
  • Where the Tricast Indicator points….
  • The value in the Victoria Cup (3.45 Ascot)….

Never a dull day on the racing beat….

If US Army Ranger didn’t succeed in completely fluffing his lines in yesterday’s Chester Vase yesterday then he certainly wasn’t word perfect. He won but made desperate hard work of it. He was a long way from winning it in the style of a horse priced up at 4s for the Derby.

He’s only gone out a point or so in the betting though – Midterm is the new favourite – mainly as a result of Hugo Palmer announcing that after genetic testing connections have decided to keep 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold at a mile.

Equinome testing concluded that there was less than a 1% chance that 12f would prove to be the horse’s optimum trip. So he won’t be going to the Epsom for the Derby…. He will head to Ireland for the Irish 2000 Guineas and then on to Ascot for the St James’ Palace Stakes….

In other news Grand National winning jockey Jason Maguire announced his retirement from the saddle. We wish him well. There’s never a dull day on the racing beat….

The Victoria Cup at Ascot (3.45) is the race I’m focused on this weekend. A field of 29 runners goes to post for the 7f event on ground described this morning as good to firm. There’s no rain forecast over the next 24 hours.

We’ll get on to my contrarian selections – my idea of where the value lies – in a moment.

First, there’s no harm in having a Hollywood bet. A Combination Tricast offers a tilt at a potentially big prize. Playing for a few pennies means the downside is low. We play for fun. Let’s see where the Tricast Indicator points….

Where the Tricast Indicator points….

Our Indicator tool 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’….

Multiple horses in tomorrow’s Victoria Cup ‘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 Tricast Indicator data suggests the finishing order in tomorrow’s race will be as follows….

  • Hold Tight
  • Predominance
  • Buckstay

Find out more about Combination Tricast bets….


The value in the Victoria Cup….

Moving on to where the value lies in tomorrow’s race, I like the 20s available about FORT BASTION.

David O’Meara’s charge blew away the close-season cobwebs at Thirsk last week – where he finished 3rd in the Hunt Cup. He held every chance in the final furlong and was only beaten close to home.

He finished his race off very nicely and, if he comes on for the run and handles the 7-day turnaround, he can be very competitive tomorrow afternoon.

He’s stepping back to 7f but he’s nailed on to get the fast pace he needs at the shorter trip. He’s got some useful form in multiple big-field handicpas at Ascot – so we know he handles the idiosyncratic aspects of the track.

Last week at Thirsk he was running off his last winning mark. The official handicapper has put him up 2lbs for that performance. But the presence of 5lb claimer Josh Doyle in the plate means he’s effectively running off a mark of 92.

He’s only had the opportunity to run off 92 or lower twice in his career and he’s produced competitive performances at this level off higher marks on multiple occasions. He’s got a big opportunity tomorrow. The yard is in decent form and I anticipate a big run. 

John Best produced MULLIONHEIR to win on his seasonal return last year and at the generally available 20s I’m prepared to take a tilt on him having the 4yo ready first-time-up this time round too.

The 4yo was a real star for his yard last season winning 5 of his 7 races. On his last performance of the season at Newbury he won over 7f for the first time.
He remains unexposed and progressive at tomorrow’s trip and on the pick of his form last term – and anticipating physical progression over the winter – a mark of 94 has the look of something very workable.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going in tomorrow’s Victoria Cup….

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – FORT BASTION each-way (20s generally) & MULLIONHEIR each-way (20s 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 today. I’ll be back on Monday.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd

P.S. I’ll be back in your in-box a little later today with ATC Extra. I’ll be targeting the value in the Swinton Hurdle up at Haydock so keep an eye out for that….