Where my contrarian money is going this weekend....

Last Updated: 30.09.2016

Friday, 30th September 2016

Good morning, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Left Hand is value in the Arc….
  • Spank the bookie….
  • Two-against-the-field-in the Abbaye….

Left Hand is value in the Arc….

Only last week the European Pattern Committee published a revised weight-for-age scale that will come into force across Europe next season.

The first changes to the scale in a generation are designed to remedy a situation which has seen the 3yo population enjoy a distinct advantage over their elders in the top Pattern races contested over 10f+ in the second half of the season. From next year the 3yos will carry more weight in such races.

But the rules remain as they were for now. And the 3yos going to post in this weekend’s Arc De Triomphe at Chantilly (Sunday 3.05) will continue to enjoy the old advantage – an advantage which has seen the 3yos win 15 of the last 20 Arc renewals.

The fillies also have a fine record in this race – producing 5 winners and 4 placed finishers since the turn of the century. The 3lb allowance they get is clearly also a useful concession.

The bottom line is that 3yo fillies are particularly well treated going into the Arc – and are always dangerous as a result. Which is why I will be backing the French filly LEFT HAND each-way at prices as big as 20s this morning.  

She’s a little shy of the ideal rating. Last time out – winning a G1 over Sunday’s course and distance – she produced a winning performance worth 113 on the Racing Post rating scale. But she did it readily. It was her first go at the mile and a half trip and she’s clearly quite a bit better than the bare figure.

Earlier in the season Left Hand went down a half-length to La Cressonniere in the Prix De Diane. That one was due to line up in the Arc but has been rerouted to Ascot for Champions Day. But before her withdrawal she was a hell of a lot shorter than Left Hand despite the proximity between the two in that June race. The 20s about Left Hand is value in my book.

Spank the bookie….

It is the fashion for bookies to ‘buy’ new customers by offering big enhanced prices on fancied horses. They consider new customers worth the cost if the horse wins.

Take advantage by opening new accounts and taking the big prices if you genuinely want to back the horse concerned. You don’t owe the bookmaker any loyalty or any additional business subsequently. It’s mercenary but this is war – and mother didn’t raise no choir boys….

This week Postponed is the focus of 888sport’s generosity. Roger Varian’s charge is the favourite for Sunday’s Arc De Triomphe at Chantilly – priced up at 2s generally. But open a new account with 888sport and you can get on at 10s. T&Cs apply.

Fancy Postponed? Get the big value price here.


Two-against-the-field in the Abbaye….

A little later on the card at Chantilly on Sunday a field of 18 heads to post in the Abbaye De Longchamp (Sunday 4.35) over the minimum 5f trip.

Meccas Angel tops the figures and she heads the market at a best price of 7/4. The two-time G1 winner is a top-drawer horse – but I have no qualms about taking her on.

Her whole season was targeted at her successful defence of the Nunthorpe and, whilst she’ll be fit and firing, that York race was the one she was peaked for. The ground might not be ideal for her either on Sunday. All in all the 7/4 is short in a very competitive race.

I want to be with COTAI GLORY at the general 16s. I think that’s a solid each-way price about a 4yo who has produced some very promising performances at a high level without actually managing to win.

Back in June he was 2nd in the King’s Stand Stakes at York – beaten 0.25 lengths on unsuitable soft ground. He was 4th in the Nunthorpe. And last time out at Newbury he beat a very tough and determined progressive horse in Alpha Delphini – again on ground that wouldn’t be ideal.

He heads to Chantilly fit, in good form and with a good chance of getting the quick surface he needs. I think he’s proved he belongs at G1 level. He’s certainly up there in the mix with the best of them on the block. Sunday offers an excellent opportunity to really put his name up in lights.

Another one who looks over-priced is Aidan O’Brien’s WASHINGTON DC at the generals 25s. Look at his profile and it swiftly becomes apparent that he’s not managed to win anything better than a listed race to date.

But that is something of a false impression. He’s shown up strongly in the G1 Commonwealth Cup, the G1 July Cup and the G2 King George Stakes at Goodwood.

For sure he flopped in the Nunthorpe at York but he bounced back with another solid effort at G2 level at the Curragh next time.

He’s certainly not out of his depth at G1 level and 25s is a big price about a maturing 3yo who has finished not too far behind some very good horses and who will be favoured by ground conditions on Sunday afternoon. He can outrun the price and I’ll be backing him each-way.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going this weekend….

In the Arc De Triomphe (Sunday 3.05 Chantilly)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – LEFT HAND each-way (20s generally)

In the Abbaye De Longchamp (Sunday 4.35 Chantilly)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – COTAI GLORY each-way (16s generally) & WASHINGTON DC each-way (25s 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’ll be targeting the prices in Saturday’s Challenge Cup at Ascot. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd