Where my contrarian money is going at Doncaster on Saturday....

Last Updated: 10.09.2021

Friday, 10th September 2021

Where my contrarian money is going at Doncaster on Saturday….

A maximum field of 22 goes to post for tomorrow’s Portland at Doncaster (1.45)….

There’s a big case for saying that where you start has a big bearing on where you finish….

When it comes to actually winning the raceover the last decade  – as opposed to hitting the frame or just getting competitive – the place you haven’t wanted to be is in a single-figure stall….

Nothing has managed to win the race from a stall on that side of the track in the last 10-years….

Of course, what happened before is no guarantee it will happen again. Racing isn’t as simple as that. Nor is life. The last thing you expect to happen is sometimes the very thing that does. There are no certainties. There is little or nothing that you can rely on 100%....

But given the evidence of the last decade, I would rather be on one in the high numbers than the low numbers – and the one I’m backing tomorrow is JAWWAAL at the general 11s….

  • Primed for the contest….

Michael Dods has had a very good season with his horses in the C2 handicaps – my primary focus….

His 24 qualifying runners produced 6 winners and another 6 placers. More got competitive without quite managing to get into the money….

Not many trainers have had a better season in our niche than Mr. Dods. He’s not the biggest name. He’s not saddled the most winners, won the most money or fired the winners in at the highest strike rate. There are one or two handlers that have posted superior figures in all those areas. But Dods is a fine target trainer and I reckon Jawwaal has been primed for tomorrow’s contest….

He’s got plenty going for him. He loves the straight track at Doncaster – where his form figures read 321011. He’ll appreciate the quick ground. And he’s drawn up in stall 21….

In other words, if he’s going to have a big day and land a major handicap pot then he couldn’t really ask for much more to land in his favour….

If there is a negative, then perhaps James Doyle in the saddle is it. Not the jockey himself – but the fact that this will be a first-time ride on the horse and only his 4th ride for Dods in the last decade….

But I’m not going to let that put me off. Riders win on first-time rides and for trainers they don’t regularly ride for every single day of the week. The 11s is fair and I’m going in….

Each-way backers take note: Sky Bet are 1/5 the first 7. William Hill are 1/5 the first 6. You can get 1/5 the first 5 and 1/4 the first 4 generally….

  • In the St Leger....

The figures, the form, the vibes, and the jungle drums all suggest that Hurricane Lane will need to have an off-day tomorrow if he is to avoid winning the St Leger (3.35)….

He’s a proven G1 horse. He’s won big races against quality opposition. The only time he was beaten in five runs was at Epsom in the Derby – and the winner of that looks half-decent (?). He’s rated a good 10lb (and more) better than most of tomorrow’s opponents and he meets them all at levels….

He’s 8/11 across the board. He’s expected. And I can’t really argue with the consensus opinion – or where it’s coming from. I understand it. But that doesn’t mean I won’t oppose it from abetting perspective….

The horse hasn’t run at tomorrow’s trip. Let alone proved that he can replicate his form over the additional two and a quarter furlongs….

One horse in the race that is proven at the trip is Aiden O’Brien’s INTERPRETATION ridden by Hollie Doyle – and I’m backing the duo at the general 14s….

The colt was a late starter as a juvenile – losing on debut at the Curragh in heavy ground last November. He’s not been beaten since – winning all three races this term – and he’s interesting stepped up to G1 level for the first time tomorrow….

He’s got plenty to find on the book and whatever rating scale you want to refer to. But he’s progressing fast, improving in leaps and bounds and we don’t know what the bottom of him is. I expect him to improve again tomorrow – and he will stay….

Perhaps he won’t be good enough. Perhaps he’s the sacrificial lamb – there to cut out the running and to cut his own throat in the process. Perhaps his attendance is an after-thought. Who knows?

But a proven stayer that is improving into the back end of the season is not a bad horse to go to war with in the St Leger – and at 14s at least there’s a bit of something in it for the each-way merchants….

Each-way backers take note: It is 1/5 the first 3 generally….

Nick’s contrarian picks….

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

In the Portland Handicap (1.45 @ Doncaster).

In the St Leger (3.35 @ Doncaster).

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 today. I’ll be back next week. Meanwhile….

Anything to report? Anything to say? Anything to share? Contact me at: nick.pullen@oxonpress.co.uk

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd