My contrarian plays on day 3 at York....

Last Updated: 18.08.2016

Thursday, 18th August 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Two-against-the-field in the Nunthorpe Stakes (Friday 3.40)….

Two-against-the-field in the Nunthorpe….

It wouldn’t be a proper Ebor meeting without a crack at the Nunthorpe Stakes (3.40) – and that G1 provides the feature attraction on Friday afternoon….

The race is unusual in that it offers the speediest juveniles on the block a potentially lucrative and reputation-setting opportunity to take on their elders over the 5f trip.

It is, of course, a big ask for such a young horse to beat its older counterparts – even with a massive pull at the weights.

Just 10 juveniles have gone to post across the last 16 years and only one of those managed to win – Kingsgate Native in 2007. Acapulco placed last year and Radiohead placed in 2009.

We have two juveniles taking the plunge this time round. Mark Johnston’s Yalta and Robert Cowell’s Prince of Lir. The former is fancied by the market – 4th in the betting. The latter not so much.

The key thing tomorrow is going to be the weather and how much that affects the ground.

A front of persistent rain is forecast over the track from midday tomorrow and throughout the afternoon.

It’s hard to know exactly what effect the rain will have on the underfoot conditions – more than 24 hours in advance of its arrival. It’s a guessing game. But I study Met Office reports and the detail of the forecast quite closely – because I want to make my guesswork as informed and educated as I can.

The chances of rain arriving are rated at 90%. So they’re pretty sure it’s coming. And some of that rain is predicted to be ‘heavy’.

By 3.40 there might well have been enough precipitation to take the word ‘firm’ out of the going description. At the very least there will have been enough to take the sting out of the track. The horses who want it rattling hard are probably going to see things go against them to some degree. 

It won’t make much difference to SILVER RAINBOW. She’s pretty versatile having won on good, good to soft & good to firm ground already this term.

She arrives on the back of those three straight wins – all achieved whilst being in foal to Cable Bay – and she is progressing rapidly. She must improve again, for sure. But there’s no reason she won’t. And over the fast 5f, if things fall right, she has every chance.

It might be the pregnancy that has been the making of her. She’s on the crest of a wave, she deserves to take her chance and connections are clearly prepared to back her and to make hay whilst the sun shines. She’s been supplemented for this at a cost of £30,000.

The Charles Hills yard is in tip-top fettle too with 11 winners across the last fortnight. I expect the 4yo daughter of Starspangledbanner – who himself placed 2nd in this race in 2010 – to put up a big run under William Buick. The general 25s is a fair price about a fast-progressing filly.

She runs out of stall 16 and I want one over on the low side and GOKEN is my pick at a big 40s.

We were on Kevin Ryan’s horse in the King’s Stand Stakes at a big price when he placed. Since then he’s run with great credit – and no luck – in the July Cup. Then last time the ground was a bit too quick for him at Goodwood.

He was sent off at 14s for that Goodwood race – the King George Stakes – but the market appears to have written him off again. But not me.

I’ve nailed my flag to this horse this summer – at least to some extent – and I won’t desert him now on a track where his yard loves to win and on ground that should be more up his street. Especially at the price.

His King’s Stand performance showed that he is capable of striking at this level. Nothing finished that race off better. Things haven’t fallen for him since. But that happens in sprints. He’s a big price tomorrow as a result of that bad luck. I’ll be snapping it up.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Nunthorpe Stakes (3.40 York)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SILVER RAINBOW each-way (25s generally) & GOKEN each-way (40s generally)


That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with my idea of the value on Saturday’s card at York.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd