My contrarian play on day 1 at Goodwood....

Last Updated: 25.07.2016

Monday, 25th July 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Close but not close enough….
  • Glorious Goodwood takes center stage….
  • Boom to produce the right tune….

Close but not close enough….

Sometimes the margins that separate a good day from a so-so day don’t amount to very much….

Saturday was just such a day….

Pirouette – advised at 10s on Friday – couldn’t quite get up to head Mustashry in the Woodford Reserve Handicap at Ascot and ended up getting beaten just 0.25 lengths.

Had she managed to bridge that gap then Saturday would have been a good day. As it was she only delivered on the place side of the bet. And, of course, it is these things that make the overall difference.

Elsewhere, Nuno Tristan (advised on Friday at 20s) grabbed 5th place in the 24-runner International Stakes – highlighting (again) the importance of betting with firms that offer Enhanced Place Terms in these big handicaps.

I didn’t quite manage to bag the winner that makes the weekend – or the profit. I was denied by fine margins. Hard to take sometimes – but part and parcel of playing the big races.

Perhaps most disappointing of all on Saturday was the ride given to Judicial in the Skybet Dash Stakes at York. What was that all about?

If you watched the race then you’ll know he raced alone up the stands side rail. And racing solo is seldom a winning policy in sprints. Judicial had virtually no chance as soon as that decision was made.

I hesitate to criticise jockeys. As a punter you don’t always have all the knowledge you need to understand a particular situation or set of instructions. But when you’ve got the money down and you know your fate so early in a race, you do find yourself throwing your hands in the air. At least I do. 

Glorious Goodwood takes center-stage….

The Glorious Goodwood meeting gets underway tomorrow afternoon….

Its 5-days of top-quality racing on the roof-top of Sussex and, as per usual at the track, you can expect plenty of trouble in-running around the bend and plenty of argy-bargy up the straight….

Goodwood is a funny track. Some people hate it and consider it unfair – and there might be some truth in that view. But I love the place.

I’ve spent many a happy hour at Goodwood and some of my best-ever wins and fondest betting memories have come at this particular meeting.

You won’t find me sitting out Glorious Goodwood and I’ll be there on each of the next 5 days – seeking to identify the value as and where I find it….

I don’t intend to go crackers – but there are a few races this week that represent clear-cut betting targets for me.

Not least tomorrow afternoon’s Weatherby’s Private Bank Stakes (4.20)….

Boom to produce the right tune….

With a couple of Group races and a couple of more valuable handicaps on tomorrow’s card, this won’t be a race all the pundits are playing in. But a sprint up a straight is my kind of fare and I like BOOM THE GROOM at 16s. You have to take the value as and where you find it….

Tony Carrol’s charge is not an obvious type. He’s done much better on all-weather surfaces than he has on turf where he’s produced just a single win in 18 efforts. But he’s always had the look of a sprinter with a big prize in his grasp as and when things fall right.

He’s run some cracking races in defeat – notably in last season’s editions of the Dash at Epsom off 100 and the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh next-time-out off the same mark. Both those performances suggest he has sufficient ability to win a big one on turf.

The 5yo’s last two outings have produced a couple of duck-eggs which will put some off him. But the fact is that at Ascot he was going over 6f on ground with cut – whereas 5f on quick is the optimum for him. And last time he only finished as far down the field as he did because he was heavily eased when squeezed out of things as he made his challenge in the final furlong.

Perhaps his seasonal debut is the best indication of his potential. Back in the Dash at Epsom off a mark of 101 he finished 7th of 17 – but he was on the wrong side that day and the bare form figure doesn’t highlight the fact that he beat everything home that started in the low stalls.

Adam Kirby was on the horse at Epsom. He was also on the horse for this race last year when 4th off a mark 101. Not much got into the race from the rear that day.

Boom The Groom was the exception and would probably have been closer still had he not been blocked when Kirby initially wanted to get the horse into the race. Kirby rides the Goodwood straight as well as anybody and this looks like a redemption mission.

The handicapper has given the horse a sporting chance by dropping him to a mark of 98. The quick surface should suit. And given that the horse seems to enjoy Epsom, Goodwood’s undulations should meet with approval.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Weatherby’s Private Bank Stakes (4.20 Goodwood)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – BOOM THE GROOM 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 today. I’ll be back tomorrow.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd