Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 02.09.2016

Friday, 2nd September 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Two against the field in the Sprint Cup (4.30)….
  • Fred is the value in the 5f spring handicap (4.00)….

Two against the field in the Sprint Cup….

The G1 Sprint Cup Stakes over the 6f trip is the headline feature up at Haydock tomorrow (4.30)….

A field of 17 runners is slated to go to post. And it is worth being mindful that while the forecast for the rest of today is dry, there is quite a bit of rain expected tomorrow afternoon – some of it before the card gets underway and the rest of it throughout the afternoon.

By the time they go in the Sprint Cup the ground could be on the easier side of good….

Regular readers will know how much I like the sprints – the big handicaps and the big patterns contests like this one. The big fields and the nature of these races tend to create markets where you can back live contenders at big prices – a scenario that’s right up my street.

To be fair, all the big G1 sprints run to date this term – there have been 5 of them – have been won by won by horses in one of the top 3 markets slots. Four were won by horses occupying one of the top 2 berths. The backers of consensus horses have had things fall their way….

But I don’t worry too much about that. I won’t be changing my tactics. I always take the short horses on and support contenders at prices.

In any case, I’m happy to take Limato on at 2s. I’m not sure he’ll get the outright good ground he needs. Nor has he had much of a break by his own standards.

There are plenty to pick from to oppose him and I could make a case for quite a few at double-figure prices.

The one I like is David O’Meara’s SUEDOIS at 14s.

He’s put in some cracking efforts this term without getting his head in front. The 2nd behind Limato in the July Cup on ground that would have suited the winner more was a particularly eye-catching effort and prompted his handler – who won this race with G Force two years ago – to express the opinion that his horse was improving.

Forget the run in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last time. The extra yardage proved a half furlong too far for him and back to 6f he can pick up and resume where he left off at Newmarket in July. Versatile as the 5yo undoubtedly is, the rain will certainly assist his chances and might well be the factor that enables him to pop his G1 cherry.

The other one I’ll be backing is Joe Murphy’s ONLY MINE at prices as big as 66s.

Connections have always really liked this filly and she went some way towards illustrating why when she had Washington DC behind her in a G3 at Naas in May on good ground.

That one has gone on to show up very well in the top sprints – 3rd in the Commonwealth Cup for 3yos, and then 5th in the July Cup and 2nd in the King George Stakes against the older horses. Those performances pay something of a compliment to Murphy’s filly.

She hasn’t been seen since early June. Midsummer fast ground isn’t her thing. She likes cut and that’s why she’ll be in the field tomorrow. It’s another reason I want to back her. Unlike some of the others, she’ll be getting her ground and if she improves for it – as I expect her to – then she could run a massive race at a massive price.

For sure, it’s a big step-up. And a big ask. But the price factors that in. The 3yos are still improving and have a good record in this race. I think she’s priced up on what she’s done and not what she is more likely to turn out to be.

Fred is the value in the 5f sprint handicap….

I’ve had a look at the race that was the Old Borough Cup (3.30) but I’ve decided to give that race the swerve. All the horses I like for that one are short enough in the market and I’m not going to reach for one for the sake of it. If there’s nothing at a value price, the race is best left alone.

Earlier on the card another big field goes to post in the 32 Red Be Friendly Handicap over the 5f trip (4.00)….

This one’s a pretty competitive contest at the prices – with 11 of the 17 runners trading at prices between 10s and 12s early doors. The layers can’t split them. They’re going to wait for the money to give them a bit more information.

My money will be going on BOWSON FRED at 16s – which is a nice each-way price about a horse that hasn’t done much wrong this term.

He’s been very consistent throughout the summer and in 4 of his last 5 races he’s given the impression that a mark of 100 is one he can strike from under the right circumstances.

I can only assume he’s priced up bigger than many of the others owing to his last-time-out down-the-field finish at York. But I can ignore that. Both times the horse has been asked to race over the extended 5f trip – both times at York – he’s flopped and fallen away at the end.

At the prices and back down to the bare 5f trip, I’m prepared to give the horse a chance to rediscover the level of form he’s been showing for the rest of the season. If he produces that then he won’t be far away – to-weight or not.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Sprint Cup Stakes (4.30 Haydock)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SUEDOIS each-way (14s generally) & ONLY MINE each-way (66s Betway & 50s generally)

In the 32 Red Be Friendly Handicap (4.00 Haydock)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – BOWSON FRED 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 for now. I’ll be back a little later today with ATC Extra – where we’re targeting the prices in the Albert Bartlett Handicap at Ascot.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd