I'm backing a proper dark horse at prices in tomorrow's 1000 Guineas....

Last Updated: 06.06.2020

Saturday, 6th June 2020

I’m backing a proper dark horse at prices in tomorrow’s 1000 Guineas….

I’m not 100% into these 9-, 10- and 11-runner handicaps that we’re being presented with during these early stages of resumption.....

There’s nothing wrong with them per se. A race is a race is a race, after all. And I understand why we’re easing back towards bigger fields – it’s a one step at a time thing....

But as betting mediums, the smaller handicap fields lack a few bits of something....

Runners are one thing, of course....

A 4th and 5th place pay-out for each-way players is another....

Proper value betting opportunities are another thing still....

The bookies still want to push the envelope on the over-round with these smaller fields....

Granted, they don’t bet to as big a percentage as they might in a 20-runner handicap....

But it’s big enough and most of the horses in the smaller fields are as short as you’d want them to be – often quite a bit shorter....

That’s my take. That’s how I’m finding it....

  • Smaller field markets are just more efficient?

You can call the markets for such races more efficient markets, if you like....

You could make that case too – that the market finds it easier to get the prices right in an 11-runner handicaps than it does in a 20-runner equivalent. There’s something in the argument....

But the upshot is the same. Markets that don’t produce the value prices I like to target in this column....

Right now, I’m prepared to sit back and let these early-stage races go ahead without my money riding in them....

Meanwhile, horses are getting the opportunity to have a run on the track....

.... the form book is back in motion and developing day-by-day....

.... and better betting opportunities – where you can make judgments based on what you’ve seen rather than on speculation about fitness – will present themselves on the road ahead....

I know a lot of people are caught up in a frenzy of punting activity after the lockdown-enforced break from proceedings....

But, I don’t feel honour-bound to get sucked into all that. I’m in no rush. I’m not going to back horses at poor value prices just to tick a box and conform to the general spirit....

That’s not my way. The lockdown changes nothing. There’s still plenty of the summer in front of us and there will be plenty of handicap betting opportunities to come....

  • And then there’s the 1000 Guineas....

Meanwhile, the 2000 Guineas and the 1000 Guineas serve to give us a bigger-field betting focus in these early stages of the new season....

The former will be run later today. If you missed my selection for the race, you can pick that up here. The 1000 Guineas will be run at Newmarket tomorrow afternoon and I’ll be having a few quid on that race too....

Here’s a stat for your consideration: 6 winners and 12 additional placed finishes from 30 runners in total....

That’s a cracking record. I’m sure you’ll agree. And it is Galileo’s record with his progeny in the 2000 Guineas and the 1000 Guineas....

He’s another cracking record. It is Ryan Moore’s performance record in the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas. He’s produced 5 winners and 4 placers from 22 rides. That’s head and shoulders above most....

Galileo is clearly a finer producer of early-season 3yo types for these classic events. Ryan Moore knows how to ride exactly that type of horse to best effect....

And, if I were a man to play it safe, I would bet with those dual records onside tomorrow and get my money down on the Aiden O’Brien-trained Love....

But at 4s that one – a rare instance of a single runner in the race for O’Brien – has been well-found by the market. And nobody joins this service for directions to horses that one look at the prices alerts you too....

  • The contrarian pick....

Love clearly has a big chance tomorrow. But she’s not an ATC horse. My role at ATC is to try and pinpoint the horse the market has got wrong at the prices – the horse trading at a price that underestimates its true chances of winning....

The one I want to be on is John Gosden’s SHIMMERING at the general 18s and 16s available this morning – with Frankie Dettori up top....

You don’t tend to get too many opportunities to back the Gosden/Dettori combo at the top level at such exotic prices – and it has to be said that this one is an unusual 1000 Guineas runner....

Beaten on debut in C5 novice before winning comfortably over a mile at Kempton on her only other start, this one could be anything...

She goes into the race on a mark of just 80. They don’t usually get in off that type of rating. But the race didn’t fill up and she’s made it in....

The mark accurately reflects what she’s done to date. But my contention is that she’ll prove a hell of a lot better than that going forward. And I want to back her at a price before she proves my assessment of her to be correct out on the track....

She’s one of the horses in the race who just might be suited by the delayed start to the season. Perhaps she wouldn’t have made the Guineas in an ordinary year, but she’s here and I’d suggest she’s showing an in-form Gosden something at home. She wouldn’t be here to simply make up the numbers....

I’m basically betting that she’s a hell of a lot better than we’ve seen so far – and that the price will be seen as wrong in hindsight. Dettori was down to ride Mark Johnston’s Raffle Prize who is up at 10s this morning, but he’s got off her to ride this one....

I don’t know if he would be contractually or morally obliged to make the switch, but you can’t imagine he’d get off one with half a chance to ride one with no chance. I think this one is a proper dark horse and I’m backing it each-way....

Nick’s contrarian picks….

To recap on where my idea of the value lies tomorrow afternoon….

In the 1000 Guineas (3.35 Sunday @ Newmarket).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – SHIMMERING each-way (18s & 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.

  • The final word….

That’s all from me for now....

I’ll be back on Monday with more. Stay tuned....

All the best.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd