Newbury 3-45

Cyflymder 6/4 7/2
Swift Gift 7/2 7/2
Classic Descent 12 14 bet 16/1 early
Saucy Brown 14 8
Masai Moon 16 14

These are Ladbrokes prices first thing, Corals not being up at that time.

My first reaction was that this is another ‘no value’ race with both market leaders strong on conventional factors. I might have taken Dave Nevison’s comment to heart somewhat, that value is harder to get since Betfair’s ‘hive mind’ is too accurate for dicrepancies and I was going to give it a miss but then thought contrarian thinking might thrive in such an environment where conventional assessment is ineffective and started looking again at the ones who had hinted at something during the assessment.

Masai Moon seemed of interest, backed to win in it’s run before last (it didn’t) and upped in class last time out. The forecast prices suggested marginal value.

This was before I checked the actual odds on offer and saw 4 points difference at BetFred about Classic descent: 16/1 when I go 11/1. There is a possible fitness issue, 59 days since a run, and he has only won a maiden last year.

On the plus side though, he is lightly raced, just 7 runs in all as a 4 year old. Two of those this season, an understandable 9/11 first time out then 6/9 on the all-weather, a surface which either suits or not. In other words, these runs are not as bad as they look. Furthermore, Topspeed has him top rated on a run at Doncaster last year and the trainer P J Makin is not only 4 wins from 13 runs in the last 2 weeks (= approx 28%) but has won this previously. Other trends also fit well, favourites being just 1 from 10 in the last decade, with winners up to 25/1.

I have felt confident often enough in the past only to see the horse disappear without a trace, nevertheless this looks good and I was happy to take Fred’s 16/1 offer, with the ‘best odds’ guarantee. Will this be a triumph for contrarian thinking? (cue theme from ‘Jaws’….)
After all that, Classic descent is a non-runner! That makes Masai Moon marginally better off but I am inclined to pass.