The pick of the prices in the mile handicap at Haydock....

Last Updated: 27.05.2016

27th May 2016

Good afternoon, friends,

In today’s ATC Extra bulletin….

  • This really irritates me….
  • Playing the prices in the Group races….
  • This week’s ATC Extra selections….

This really irritates me….

Across the summer we get to play in a load of prestigious big-field handicaps with instantly recognizable names that contribute to the tradition and the romance of the game.

Think the Wokingham, or the Bunbury Cup or the Ebor. Those words conjure up images, feelings and anticipatory sensations. They are part of the race-fan’s lexicon. They mean nothing to the wider public. But to race fans they tell a rich and immediate story.

Unfortunately, there’s no race that matches that billing tomorrow. But there is a decent handicap up at Haydock. It’s just a pity about the name of it….

It looks more like a password for an online account than a genuine race title….

This weekend our target race is the £25 Free Bet At Handicap….

What a dreadful name for race…. I know racecourses needs sponsorship. I know bookmakers want to maximize brand-awareness in return for their money. But surely some compromise might be reached so that races get names punters can connect with and fit into the overall narrative….

Look at that race title in isolation and who would know what won the race last year or even where the damned race was run?

It’s probably been called 10 different names by ten different sponsors across the last decade….

And it could put me off betting the race.

With a title like that who cares what wins it? With a name like that it clearly doesn’t matter. The title cheapens the event. And it’s a common occurrence. Like chip wrappers blowing up the High Street, races with titles like these are like litter on the race programme….

Am I armed only with problems and no solutions? Or do I have a plan – a suggestion on how the rules for naming of races might be improved to suit everybody’s requirements?

I do. But I’ll have to come back to it another time – because I can only take up so much space in this column with bad-tempered grumbling about things that irritate me.

The £25 Free Bet At Handicap is a Class 3 event for horses aged 4yo+ and rated 0-90. It is contested over the mile trip at Haydock tomorrow afternoon at 2.00. You can watch the race live on C4 and RUK.

A field of 14 runners goes to post on ground currently described as good to soft. The weather forecast is for a dry Friday and Saturday up to the off. The surface is more likely to quicken than soften.

We’ll get on to my selections in just a moment. First a quick spin through my game plan for the big Group races run at Haydock tomorrow afternoon….

Playing the prices in the Group races...

Over on my paid Against the Crowd service this afternoon I’ve highlighted my idea of the value in the G2 Sandy Lane Stakes and the G3 Timeform Jury Stakes….

  • Hugo Palmer’s Gifted Master heads the betting in the Sandy Lane Stakes– but he’s short enough for a horse stepping up in Grade in a competitive event against opponents more seasoned at G2 level and above….
  • The place terms don’t set the pulse racing so I’ve taken him on with two on the nose at attractive prices….
  • In the Timeform Jury Stakes I’m supporting a fit horse in good form who will appreciate the 7f trip – and I’m on him at a decent price….

If you’re looking for a couple more bets for tomorrow afternoon you can access those picks free of charge right now by taking a FREE test-drive of my Against the Crowd service….

Get instant access to my selections here….

This week’s ATC Extra selections….

Back to our target race with a tongue-twister of a race title….

If you were to ask me to nominate horses for a Reverse Forecast, I’d be pointing at Clotilde and Rousayan. Both tick boxes on my sheet – but at 4s and 7s respectively they don’t tick the box on price.

On this service we figure you can find the fancied horses without our help – they are at the top of the market after all….

What we try to do is to look for horses flying under the market radar – horses trading at bigger prices but ticking boxes that suggest they can get competitive….

GHINIA is first-up for me this week at 12s.

Quite a few in this field have already been to the well a couple of times this season. Pam Sly’s 5yo is one of the few to appear just once and he’s entitled to come on for his seasonal reappearance at Nottingham last month.

He found one too good that day but his conqueror had a fitness edge in her favour having already reappeared. Ghinia would have needed the run. He was driven in the final furlong but he performed well enough to leave the rest of the field 2.25 lengths in his wake. Take the winner out and he’d have been hoisted up the weights.

As it is he runs off the same mark of 84 and can do business from that rating. He should strip fitter tomorrow, he’s got enough form in the book at the track to suggest he likes the place and Adam Kirby is back in the plate. He can go well at the price. 

The other one I like is SKI BLAST at 12s.

He’s another candidate for improvement off the back of a seasonal reappearance. His came up at Thirsk where he produced a placed finish from a wide stall – a performance that can be marked up a shade on that basis.

That was his first go at the mile trip. His performance suggests that the trip suits. And, if that’s the case, he is well-set to improve on his current mark of 75.

Running off that mark tomorrow puts him a pound out of the handicap. But I can overlook that. On the plus side Oisin Murphy has been booked in the saddle – and I like the intent that suggests.

When Murphy and trainer Ivan Furtado have combined over the last couple of years they’ve produced a record of 4 wins and two places from 9 runs. Murphy is clearly earmarked for assignments with a little expectation attached to them.

I’m hoping the ground dries out a bit for the horse. But with good weather prevailing, there’s a good chance it will be fast enough for him. I can take that chance at the price.

How I’ll be playing….

Remember, we don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A spend of a few quid is plenty to be going on with….

In the £25 Free Bet At Handicap (Haydock 2.00)....

Note: The bookies will be up with standard place-terms of ¼ 1-2-3. I wouldn’t put you off backing the selections each-way if that’s the way you like to play.

That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Until next time, be lucky.


Until next time, be lucky.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd Extra