Where my contrarian money is going tomorrow....

Last Updated: 07.10.2016

Friday, 7th October 2016

Good afternoon, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Two against the field in the Cesarewitch (4.10 Newmarket)….
  • Spank the bookie….
  • Weight advantage to count in the Sprint Trophy (3.45 York)….

Two against the field in the Cesarewitch….

With a field of 36 going to post, the Cesarewitch at Newmarket tomorrow afternoon (4.10) is a bit like two big handicaps being run simultaneously.

Picking the bones out of a 16-runner handicap is a tough enough proposition. Tomorrow’s challenge borders on, if not the impossible, then certainly the improbable.

But, if we pickers find it tough, then so do the layers and the wider market we are betting against. If it presents a tough challenge to us, it presents a tough challenge for them – exactly the scenario in which they are prone to making mistakes.

So this is exactly the kind of scenario I want to be getting involved with. I back myself to capitalise on their errors – as and where I believe they exist.

I don’t tend to look at these races with the intention of finding the winner. I leave that job to the crystal-ball merchants. My objective is merely to identify horses I think are competitive runners but which are under-valued by the market’s assessment of them – represented by the price.

My view is that if you support enough of the right horses when they are available to back at the wrong prices, the bottom-line will eventually take care of itself. That’s the theory.

The practice is often less than straightforward. Some would no doubt argue with the game-plan – and that’s fair enough (this is a game of opinions after all). But that’s the way I play. Always have. Always will. And I won’t be changing any time soon.

Iain Jardine’s NAKEETA appeals as an each-way bet at the generals 20s. He’s run a succession of big races this summer.

He was quite well fancied for the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle when trouble-in-running halted his progress. He ran well in the John Smith’s Stayers Stakes at York in early July – despite meeting with an interrupted passage once again.

At Ascot in the Jack Stakes he was touched off into 2nd. And he found just one too good last time out at York.

The upshot is that he is probably lucky to be coming into tomorrow’s event still on a mark of 99. Had he won one of his last two races he’d be higher up the weights.

This race has been the target for a while, the autumn is very much his time of year and, though the ground is quick, he has shown he can handle that type of surface in his last two races.

He gives every impression of a horse that can land a valuable big-field pot off his current perch if everything falls right on the day. I expect a bigger run than the odds suggest.

On the face of it ENNISTOWN doesn’t look to be particularly well-handicapped on a mark of 100 – at least based on his form from two years ago when he last ran on the flat.

That said he has never been tried over extreme distances on the flat – and that’s the factor that could bring about the improvement he will need to find to figure here.

But the omens are good. He moved to the Pipe yard 3 runs back and last time at Cartmel over hurdles he won in very straightforward fashion over a trip of 3 miles and a furlong.

The key consideration is the booking of Ryan Moore – worth a few pounds of lead in anybody’s book.

It is inconceivable that he was short of offers for rides in tomorrow’s race and the fact that he’s opted for the apparent Pipe second-string suggests a big run is expected. Certainly a run bigger than the current odds of 25s suggest. On that basis and at that price he’s worth supporting on an each-way basis tomorrow.

Plenty of the bookies will be offering enhanced place terms of 1/4 1-2-3-4-5 on this race. One or two might even go 6 places tomorrow morning. That’s something to think about. You might want to hang fire until you can get those deals.

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 St Michel in the Cesarewitch is the focus of 888sport’s generosity. Sir Mark Prescott’s hotpot is the ante-post favourite for the race at 6s generally. But new account holders can get on at 25s to the tune of £10.00.

Fancy the horse? Get the big value price here….


Weight advantage to count in the Sprint Trophy….

A little earlier tomorrow afternoon they go to post in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York (3.45)….

This is a typically competitive sprint event with plenty of the 20-runner field arriving in decent heart and showing form of a similar level.

The one I like at the prices is Nigel Tinkler’s NORMANDY BARRIERE at 9s with Coral.

The 4yo has improved for every race he’s run since midsummer and his last time out performance at Doncaster suggests he is still on an upward curve and can still be ahead of the handicapper on his current mark of 96.

The key thing for me is that the standard of that last performance at Doncaster ranks alongside the form shown by higher-rated horses coming into tomorrow’s race. And the booking of a 7lb claimer only serves to compound what I believe will be a useful advantage at the weights.

Fast ground is important for the 4yo – and he gets that tomorrow. He’s also shown up well at the track in the past – albeit over an extra furlong. In the meantime though he’s shown enough improvement at the 6f trip to suggest that’s his ideal racing trip for the moment.

At the price, I’ll be backing win only. If you fancy playing for the place at 9s – that’s your call.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Cesarewitch (4.10 Newmarket)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – NAKEETA each-way (20s generally) & ENNISTOWN each-way (25s Betway, William Hill, Coral)

In the Coral Sprint Trophy (3.45 York)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – NORMANDY BARRIERE (9s 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 now. I’ll be back in your inbox a little later with ATC Extra and my take on the 10f handicap at York tomorrow afternoon.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd