The contrarian perspective on Day 1 at York....

Last Updated: 14.05.2019

Tuesday, 14th May 2019

The contrarian perspective on Day 1 at York….

This year’s Jorvik Handicap at York (Wednesday 1.50) has a different flavour to it this year with the winner getting a guaranteed run in the £1 million Ebor back at the same track in August....

It’s the kind of development that can change the tone of a race. And we’re already seeing evidence of that....

There’s no more money up for grabs this time around but we’ve got more runners going to post than we’ve had in recent years and six of the 18 starters are rated 100+.

In other words, the quality is well-up on previous years. This is not the same race as it was....

That’s something the trends-based backers in the market need to factor into their deliberations. But you can bet your bottom dollar that plenty of them won’t....

  • A bit of value in the Jorvik....

The layers see the same racing the rest of us see – and they know what they are looking at....

They’ve built the top of the market for tomorrow’s race around a couple of horses that have produced very progressive early-season performances – Fujaira Prince and Crystal King – and the highly-regarded First Eleven who will have to do it first-time-up....

The layers see progression as the key to this race – siding with the younger and less-experienced horses over the more-exposed veterans. The top 8 in the morning’s market have all had less than 10 runs and are open to improving leaps and bounds. It makes perfect sense....

You’re going to need to be 10 to 12 pounds well-in to win this race and the veterans simply don’t have the scope and are always going to be vulnerable to something the handicapper hasn’t got to grips with yet....

On this column, we don’t play the shorties. And I won’t be backing any of the top 3 I scratch them summarily. The job of this column is to find horses that can go better than the market believes – horses we can get a value price about.....

The big guns are trained by Roger Varian, Sir Michael Stoute and John Gosden – big yards, well-known yards, highly-regarded yards and yards with a record of success at this track and in handicaps at this meeting....

Jedd O’Keefe is not quite so highly regarded but he can get one ready for a decent race as a record of 9 wins from 37 at C1 or C2 level testifies to – and I think his RARE GROOVE is a fair price at 12s & 11s for tomorrow’s race....

He’s had two goes already this season – acquitting himself well at Leicester first-time-out and then stepping it up again and winning last time at Hamilton....

The 4yo simply must be 100% in terms of fitness and will be sharper than some....

He carries a 5lb penalty for the Hamilton win. But I’m not concerned about that.... 

He was a ready winner that day under regular rider P J McDonald and he was idling a little at the close. He gave the impression there is more to come....

York was the venue of the horse’s big target last-term (a big handicap in October) and, though he was fancied at home, he bombed-out on the day....

Connections have come back to York again. And I reckon he is set-up to do a much better job this time around....

  • An O’Meara pair in the Infinity....

David O’Meara has won the Infinity Tyres Handicap (2.25) a couple of times in the past with horses that eluded the market pre-race....

He arrives at this week’s York meeting having been in amongst the winners over the last fortnight and I am very interested to see that Daniel Tudhope will be riding the 25s shot ARECIBO – despite Intisaab being back on a winning mark and having proved a potent force in big-field races at York....

Arecibo was well-beaten at Ripon on his debut for the yard. And the handicapper kindly dropped him 3lb on the back of it to today’s mark of 97....

But I don’t believe that was the 4yo’s true showing. That drop was very generous. And the market has this horse wrong. He will prove better when his new connections learn  to turn the key – and he could prove a lot better than his price suggests tomorrow....

Tudhope sticking with the horse is a positive sign and so too could the switching of headgear....

He wore a first-time visor at Ripon but they connections must have learnt something last-time-out and tomorrow he will sport first-time cheekpieces instead....

If there’s one down the list who could make a mockery of his price, it is this French import. I want to be on....

I want to be two-against-the-field and O’Meara trains the other one I want to back too – GULLIVER at 20s....

Last time this horse appeared on turf it was running for Hugo Palmer and was rated 106. He went to O’Meara in November. He was given a campaign on the All-Weather – running well in multiple C2 handicaps without managing to win....

The upshot is that he’s down to run tomorrow off 98 – and that gives him every chance. Adam Kirby did plenty of the riding on the All-Weather over the winter and retains the ride tomorrow....

I just think he’s potentially well-handicapped. And I’m not concerned about this being his first run off a break. O’Meara has got horses ready for a big run in this race off a break in the past....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

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

In the Jorvik Handicap (1.50 @ York).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – RARE GROOVE (12s & 11s generally)

In the Infinity Tyres Handicap (2.25 @ York).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ARECIBO (25s generally) & GULLIVER (20s 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 last word….

That’s all from me for now.

I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow with my contrarian take on the action on Day 2 at York....

Win lose or draw – enjoy the racing tomorrow....

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd