Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 08.07.2016

Friday, 8th July 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Going for Glory in the July Cup (4.35, Newmarket)….
  • Deryck has claims at the John Smith’s Cup trip (4.15, York)….
  • Reading between the lines in the Bunbury Cup (5.10 Newmarket)….

Going for Glory in the July Cup….

We have a trio of excellent betting heats to shoot at Newmarket and York tomorrow afternoon….

First up is the G1 July Cup over the 6f trip at Newmarket (4.35) and I’m minded to support the Charlie-Hills-trained COTAI GLORY each-way at a general 33s.

For sure he looks like the second-string runner for the yard, but he’s a smart sprinter in his own right and in these kinds of races, which very much depend on fine margins, I can happily ignore those kinds of hierarchical considerations.

Last time out over 5f in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot Cotai Glory ran an absolute cracker in 2nd behind sprinter of the season to date, Profitable. He was beaten just 0.25 lengths that afternoon on a surface with cut – which his yard thought gave him no chance.

He steps up to 6f for the first time since his juvenile tomorrow and there’s no reason he can’t get and improve for the trip now he’s a bit older and stronger. He certainly challenged very strongly up the rising finish at Ascot. And tomorrow’s fast ground will be very much in his favour.

I can’t resist having another crack at Kevin Ryan’s GOKEN at 33s – another big each-way price.

I was on him each-way when he finished 3rd behind Profitable and Cotai Glory in the King’s Stand Stakes at a big price. The change in tactics – bringing him into the race late from the back – appeared to help him and he was finishing better than anything. Had they gone another furlong – as they do tomorrow – he might well have won.

Was it a one-off? Will he miss Jamie Spencer who is at Belmont Park in America riding for Aidan O’Brien? Possibly so on both counts.

Does he have the form in the book that some of the others do? Undoubtedly no. But he showed me enough at Ascot to suggest he can bridge the gap. And, at the price, I consider him a fair bet.

Deryck has claims at the John Smith’s Cup trip….

In the John Smith’s Cup at York (4.15) I’ll be backing Saeed Bin Suroor’s CARRY ON DERYCK each-way at the general 12s.

He appears very much to have plateaued at the mile trip and I reckon he will improve again for tomorrow’s step up to 10f.

Saeed Bin Suroor has only had the horse for two runs. In February he sent him to Meydan where the horse won over the mile. David Probert rode and his post-race comments hinted that this step-up in trip was on the cards. He said: ‘If it was over a mile and a quarter he´s probably a better horse.’

He was kept at a mile last time at Royal Ascot where he finished down the field in the Royal Hunt Cup. But he was sticking on well without being able to close up on the principals – offering another indication that a lengthier assignment would suit.

Connections take the plunge tomorrow and I expect him to improve. He could develop into a Pattern class runner at the 10f trip. If so then a mark of 106 (whilst relatively lofty) shouldn’t be beyond him – particularly in a race where the weights are pretty compressed.

Eleven of the last 14 winners of the John Smith’s Cup were drawn in stall 9 or higher. So, with a berth in stall 13, Carry On Deryck has that going for him. He’s versatile in terms of underfoot conditions too – but the good ground should suit perfectly.

For my money he’s the potential big improver in the field with conditions and circumstances to suit. On that basis the 12s is fair enough.

I’ll also be backing Mark Johnston’s REVOLUTIONIST at 16s. He’s been running to the standard of a horse capable of winning this.

Last time at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton Handicap where he was 3rd, he was undone by a combination of softer-than-ideal ground, a wide draw and getting into a battle with a rival too soon.

Afterwards his trainer reckoned the outcome of the race might have been different had the chips fallen differently. We’ll never know. But Johnston also intimated that his charge will be heading into pattern races at some point – and that assessment renders him of interest in this handicap contest tomorrow.

The ground at York tomorrow will suit and if he holds the form he’s been producing of late then he has every chance of out-running his price and being involved at the business end.

Reading between the lines in the Bunbury Cup….

Landing bets at big prices sometimes depends on being prepared to put the money down when others are on a ‘wait-and-see’ assignment. SQUATS is a prime example in tomorrow’s Bunbury Cup at Newmarket (5.10).

William Haggas’s 4yo has mixed it with some pretty decent company in his short career and has not been disgraced. He beat subsequent G1 winner Profitable twice as a juvenile over 5f. For sure, that one has improved markedly in the meantime but other races suggest Squats is pretty smart nevertheless.

Take last year’s 888 Charity Sprint at York – a top sprint handicap for the 3yos. Five horses pulled well clear of the other 11 runners. Squats was one of them. Magical Memory and Twilight Son were two of the others – now rated 114 and 117 respectively and very much in the first division of sprinters. And that day Squats had the disadvantage of being closer to the stands rail than those two….

Now I’m not saying Squats is a G1 horse. But I do think he’s pretty good and at the end of last season at Ascot in a decent handicap over 6f he finished 4th of 17 – finishing off his race in a fashion that suggested a step up to 7f would see him to even better effect.

Haggas stepped him up in the Victoria Cup at Ascot in May. Haggas warned beforehand that his horse was not fully fit. So it proved. Squats finished well down the field. But it was lack of match-fitness that did for him – and not the step up in trip.

He’s not been seen since. And he’s 25s for tomorrow’s race. I guess that performance at Royal Ascot and the subsequent break have the market wondering exactly how warm or cold the water is.

For me little has changed. The price is there and I’m prepared to plunge in and take my chances. I believe Squats will improve for the step-up to 7f. Of course, I’m taking fitness on trust – but Haggas is in decent form and that doubt is factored into the price.

Joe Fanning is an interesting booking – he has form on the horse. Haggas and Fanning don’t get together too frequently. But it is a noteworthy combination nonetheless. Fanning has won on 10 of the last 29 horses he’s ridden for Haggas and hit the front 3 on 7 more.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the July Cup (4.35 Newmarket)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – COTAI GLORY each-way (33s generally) & GOKEN each-way (33s generally)

In the John Smith’s Cup (4.15 York)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – CARRY ON DERYCK each-way (12s generally) & REVOLUTIONIST each-way (16s generally)

In the Bunbury Cup (5.10 Newmarket)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SQUATS each-way (25s 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 in your inbox a little later today with ATC Extra – we’ll be targeting the prices in the ToteScoop6 Heritage Handicap at Ascot.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd