Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 16.09.2016

Friday, 16th September 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Poyle Vinnie to strike Gold….
  • Flying Pursuit to take Silver….
  • Lord Ben Stack in the Dubai Duty Free at Newbury….

Poyle Vinnie to strike Gold….

The Gold Cup (3.45) is the feature at Ayr tomorrow and I’m struggling to find horses in that race that I can’t make a case for. It’s really competitive.

That said the market is very sweet on Growl and has backed the 4yo into 6s. The horse made the frame in the Bunbury Cup and the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood – and he’s gone up a stone in the weights since the beginning of June. He goes on any ground and there’s plenty to like about him….

But I’m with his trainer Richard Fahey. I don’t think any horse should be as short as 6s for a race of this nature – a big-field handicap sprint where you can make a solid case for 16 runners.

I certainly couldn’t back him at that price but if you wanted him in your book then you might want to think about taking the enhanced price of 22s that 888sport. The enhanced part of the bet gets paid out in free bets and the maximum you can get on is £10.00 – but a value price is a value price and, if you want it, you can get it here….

Sometimes you can understand why some punters say that the sensible option is to leave races like this alone. But I’ve never been accused of being sensible and it is in tough races like this that you get rewarded at a big price if you can solve the problem. I can’t leave races like this alone if the truth be known.

After a great deal of deliberation and heartache I whittled the Gold Cup field down to a quartet that I liked at the prices. But you can’t back them all and at some point you have to make a decision.

The first one of the quartet I jettisoned was Teruntum Star at 16s. The price about him has crashed a little over the last 48 hours. I know he’s been held back for an autumn campaign, I know they want it on the soft side for him and I know that the booking of Pat Smullen is significant. But the horse hasn’t run for 139 days and at the price that’s enough to turn me away.

Aeolus has been highly tried in quality races – albeit falling short – and drops back to handicap level for the first time in a long time. Hector Crouch takes 5lb off. And Ed Walker’s horse is very interesting. So too is Hillbilly Boy. He was 3rd in last season’s Silver Cup off 96 but he’s 10lb higher now thanks to a string of wins this term and that is a negative.

The one I’m going with each-way is last year’s 2nd placed runner, POYLE VINNIE who gets to go again this time round off a mark 4lb lower. He’s been building up a head of steam over the last few weeks and his last time out effort at Chester suggests he’s approaching full fitness and is ready to put in a big one.

He hasn’t won for a while and is still ahead of his last winning mark but connections have managed to get him down 6lbs since the start of the season and into this race at the bottom of the weights.  It would be no surprise at all, given how well he went last season off a higher mark, if this has been earmarked all season as his big day.  

He’s got a good draw in stall 23 and ground with some cut certainly won’t be a bother to him. At prices as big as 25s – with some of the bookies already up with place terms of 1/4 1-2-3-4-5 – he’s a fair bet to go one better than last year.

Flying Pursuit to take Silver….

Earlier on the card in Silver Cup (2.35) I’m taking it on the trust that first-time blinkers will do the trick for Tim Easterby’s FLYING PURSUIT and backing the 3yo each-way at the generally available 16s.

The gelding has put in a hat-trick of decent performances since mid-summer – without managing to get his head in front and going down twice having been sent off favourite. The first-time headgear might just encourage him to focus a little better and to discover that extra bit of resolution required to land a decent pot for connections.

The yard is in reasonable form – sending out winners over the last fortnight. And the benefit of not coming into this type of race off a string of wins is that it is hard for the handicapper to raise you too high in the weights.

Priceless and Kadrizzi – two of just 4 horses to beat Flying Pursuit home in three races since mid-July are now rated 105 and 103 respectively. Flying Pursuit’s mark of 93 should offer margin to work with.

He’s versatile in terms of ground. He’s run with credit on fast surfaces this summer but cut won’t bother him – he comes from a family that appreciates plenty of juice in the underfoot surface. He can go well again from his high stall under favoured partner David Allan.

Lord Ben Stack in the Duty Free at Newbury….

Down at Newbury they’ve had a fortnight’s worth of rain overnight – changing the going from good to firm to heavy. Cue chaos and lots of non-runners on this afternoon’s card.

As far as tomorrow goes, conditions ought to have improved a bit. There’s no more rain forecast between now and the start of racing.

The big race down there for me is the Dubai Duty Free Handicap (2.50) over the 10f trip. The top of the market is dominated by horses running out of the yards on a run of decent form.

The one that might have been missed at the prices and the one I want to be with each-way is Karl Burke’s LORD BEN STACK at 14s.

It isn’t just the form of the yard either – which is just a bonus. The horse runs under a 5lb penalty owing to his win at Haydock a fortnight back. He’s due to run subsequently off 94 – so he’s a couple of pounds to the good and I doubt very much that’s the full extent of his scope going forward. Clifford Lee taking off 7lbs does his chances no harm whatsoever either.

Straight after Haydock, Burke was talking about going to the Curragh last weekend and then going for the Cambridgeshire. That last target tells me Burke sees his charge improving up to 10lbs –which he’d need to do to have a chance of winning an average renewal of that race. 

In the meantime plans appear to have changed. He didn’t go to Ireland and he’s not in the Newmarket race either. But he shows up here and if he makes that improvement I was talking about then he has to go close.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Gold Cup (3.45 Ayr)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Pick – POYLE VINNIE each-way (25s generally)

In the Silver Cup (2.35 Ayr)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Pick – FLYING PURSUIT each-way (16s generally)

In the Dubai Duty Free Handicap (2.50 Newbury)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Pick – LORD BEN STACK each-way (14s 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 next week.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd