Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 09.09.2016

Friday, 9th September 2016

Good morning, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Put them to the Sword in the St Leger….
  • Blinkers can help Adaay in the Park Stakes….

Put them to the Sword in the St Leger….

It is business as usual in tomorrow’s St Leger at Doncaster (3.45) with Aiden O’Brien responsible for a good proportion of the live contenders and each of them sired by the current king of the sires, Galileo.

Ante-post favourite is Idaho – 3rd in the English Derby, 2nd in the Irish version of the race and winner of the Great Voltigeur at York. He looks the most likely on paper and is certainly not short of support – he’s no bigger than 4/6 this morning.

But races aren’t run on paper. Nor do prices win races. And punters steaming into that odds-on quote about Idaho would do well to remember that a short price has been a long way from a guarantee with O’Brien runners in this race over the last decade.

Honolulu in 2007, Frozen Fire in 2008, Camelot in 2012 & Bondi Beach last year all got turned over when heavily backed by the market.

The formbook says that Idaho is the one to beat. I can’t argue with that. What he’s produced is better than what has been produced so far by those he is up against.

But he’s short enough for me given that he’s not certain to stay and that both his career wins have required genuine fast ground. I want to take him on.

Rain is forecast tomorrow. That will be a boost to the chances of John Gosden’s Muntahaa. Gosden has a very good record in this race and some confident noises have emerged from the camp this week. The son of Dansili is expected to run a big race but the best of the prices about him are long gone now.

At general quotes of 14s O’Brien’s SWORD FIGHTER is the one I want to be with on an each-way basis.

We know this one will stay the 14f trip – the Galileo colt won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot over 2 miles before winning a G2 at the Curragh over tomorrow’s trip later that same month.

He’s only been seen once since – in the Goodwood Cup at the end of July. He was 5th of 14 that day. That 5 in his form figures might put some punters off but he ran a much better race than the bare placing suggests. He certainly didn’t disgrace himself and he was up against older, more seasoned and more battle-hardened stayers with plenty of experience I the top distance races.

Tomorrow he’s back against his own age group where the experience should serve him well. The rain is good for him. And he hasn’t got masses to find on the figures. He’s a bigger price than he warrants in my books and some of the bookies are advertising place terms of 1/4 1-2-3. He’s the value at the prices for me.

Blinkers can help Adaay in the Park Stakes….

A little earlier on the card in the G2 Park Stakes (3.10) first-time blinkers can eek out more improvement from the William Haggas trained ADAAY who is worth a bet at general odds of 7s this morning.

They’ve been looking for the key to him this summer. A couple of runs back first time cheekpieces saw him produce a solid effort behind Breton Rock at Newmarket on heavy ground he hadn’t previously encountered.

In the same headgear the 4yo could only finish 4th at the Curragh next time out. But that was a creditable enough run on my figures – an incremental step up the performance curve. Now they’ve reached for the blinkers in a bid to extract that bit more which would see him go very close tomorrow.

He’s had a bit of a break since his last run. He came back off a similar break to win at Newbury in mid-August last year. Rain softened ground won’t bother him. He can run a big race and the 7s is fair enough in the context of the race.

It’s not an each-way price for me. I’ll be backing the straight win. But don’t let me put you off playing for the place if that’s your game. That’s your call.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the St Leger (3.45 Doncaster)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SWORD FIGHTER each-way (14s generally)

In the Park Stakes (3.10 Doncaster)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ADAAY (7s 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 with ATC Extra when I’ll be targeting the value in tomorrow’s big handicap – the Portland at Doncaster. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd