Where my contrarian money is going on Day 2 at York...

Last Updated: 12.05.2016

Thursday, 12th May 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Close but not close enough….
  • Two against the field in the opener….
  • Going low in the mile handicap….

Close but not close enough….

Getting the favourite turned over is at the very heart of my race-betting strategy but I didn’t get that job done in yesterday afternoon’s Duke of York Stakes.

Magical Memory built on his performance in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket and confirmed his status as an up-and-coming talent at the top level of the sprint game. He scored under Frankie Dettori sent off at 5/2.

One of my picks, David O’Meara’s Suedois, proved pretty good himself just a half-length behind in 2nd.

He did what I expected and built on his debut for O’Meara at Doncaster. But it was ultimately a clear-cut case of close but not close enough. Advised at 20s with Sportingbet and 16s generally he was sent off 12s. I hope you got the best of the prices.

Eastern Impact went the way of all good each-way bets. He went very well, out-running his early-morning price, but contrived to finish one place out of the frame. Had he just got past Danzeno, I’d have been laughing.

I made a small profit on the race. If you followed me in I imagine, depending on the prices you took, that a neutral outcome was the worst case scenario.

We move on to today’s action and a couple of handicaps….

Two against the field in the opener….

The class 2 Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Stakes opens the card at 2.10 and NORMAL EQUILIBRIUM strikes me as a reasonable bet at a general 18s this morning.

He was rated 100 as recently as last May and had dropped to 84 before winning at Epsom on his seasonal reappearance for Robert Cowell. He’s up to 89 now but that still leaves plenty of margin to work with and he can go well this afternoon.

Forget his last time out performance at Goodwood where he was soon beaten and looked to have taken a step backwards. For sure he would have disappointed his supporters at 9/2 but he has frequently run below his mark at the Sussex track and York is much more up his street.

He’s produced some decent efforts over the fast 5f at York off today’s kind of mark and he’s perfectly positioned in stall 2 to grab the rail – which he likes to do – under Silvestre De Sousa.

MEADWAY is the other one I want to be with at 28s generally this morning. He’s the rag of the field and I’m surprised. His yard sent out two placers in the sprint handicap yesterday and the 5yo can also go well for Bryan Smart. He’s got a lot going for him….

He’s a course and distance winner, he goes well fresh and a mark of 92 is just 4lbs higher than when producing his career-best performance (on my figures at least) at Musselburgh on his seasonal debut last term. I just think he’s too big at the price.

Going low in the mile handicap….

They go to post in the Hambleton Stakes at 3.45 over the mile.

Around the turning 7f and 8f trip at York I generally prefer to be with horses drawn in the low half of the field….

MASTER THE WORLD is an acceptable price at a general 12s this morning. David Elsworth’s 5yo likes the big handicaps – he got pipped in the Cambridgeshire last year before hitting the frame in the Balmoral at Ascot a little later in the autumn – and he has a big pot in him.

That latter effort was produced off a mark of 104 and he goes off the same mark this afternoon. It’s a mark he can surely do business off.

He gets the sound surface he needs this afternoon and his effort at Newmarket in the Suffolk Stakes on seasonal debut just a fortnight back will have served to put him spot-on for this afternoon’s assignment. He was 5th that day behind Knight Owl – giving weight to everything in the field – and he finished his race off well enough and should build on that today.

David O’Meara’s BIRDMAN is the other one I want to be with at general quotes of 20s.

Forget his last time out effort at Haydock – which looks poor on paper. He was badly hampered that day and heavily eased by his rider as a result. You can draw a line through it.

Look instead to his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster where he demonstrated his well-being in the Lincoln – hitting the frame behind Secret Brief – and looking very much like he has improved over the winter and still has something to offer on his current mark.

He’s up just a pound for that Doncaster performance and just 6lbs in advance of the mark he won off at York last year in a very decent mile handicap from a low-half draw. Philip Makin was aboard that day and he partners again this afternoon.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going at York this afternoon….

In the Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Stakes (2.10)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – NORMAL EQUILIBRIUM each-way (18s generally) & MEADWAY each-way (28s generally)

In the Hambleton Stakes (3.45)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – MASTER THE WORLD each-way (12s generally) & BIRDMAN 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. Stay tuned for more contrarian big-race coverage tomorrow.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd