3 minute read
Timeform Australia handicapper Adam Blencowe says facts and figures point to enigmatic sprinter Nature Strip being the way to play Saturday's Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
Last week, Blencowe told Racenet readers that Sir Dragonet was a false favourite in the CF Orr Stakes before the Cox Plate winner failed miserably, beaten almost 10 lengths as the $2.70 punters elect.
This week the astute form student has his sights in the weight-for-age sprint and says while public opinion differs, the numbers say there isn't a great deal between the reigning Champion Australian Horse of the Year and Australia's highest rating galloper.
"I understand why the market has Bivouac favourite because he's low volatility but you don't get paid out on being solid and you lose just as much if Nature Strip flames up and he can flame up, we know that," Blencowe said.
"Nature Strip has a reputation of being something of a Jekyll and Hyde but old mate Bivouac has a bit of Hyde about him as well.
"In the last 12 months Nature Strip is two (wins) from seven (starts) and Bivouac is two from eight.
"For all of Nature Strip's spectacular fails, Bivouac has not been head shaking Bivouac at the furlong every time he steps out either."
Blencowe believes the two star sprinters are set to fight out the 1000m dash, declaring "the best of either or, Nature Strip or Bivouac is too good for the rest of these".
"There's some good horses in there – Fabergino and Pippie are fast and because it's a fast 1000, they're not going to get beaten a long way," he said.
"September Run and Elite Street are Newmarket horses and I think they will get outpaced.
"We can assume Nature Strip and Bivouac are too good for the rest."
Back to Nature Strip and Bivouac and how we play the race.
In each of his three first-up performances under Chris Waller Nature Strip has been beaten, at Starting Price odds of $2.30, $1.45 in this race last year as well the Concorde Stakes last spring.
Bivouac on the other hand recorded his only first-up win in five campaigns when claiming the Group 3 Vain Stakes in August 2019.
Bookmakers have Bivouac atop the market at less than $3 while as much as $4.20 is available for Nature Strip.
"There's nothing between their best," Blencowe said.
"Individually they're probably about as likely as one another.
"If you ignore the fact that Bivouac is more consistent and we just treat it like hits and misses, like a binary thing – they're both 50/50 to produce their best. It's probably an incorrect assumption but I think it's a fair to jump to that conclusion.
"We don't need to be perfect, we just need to win and if that's the case they win three out of four between them and leave one out of four to the rest.
"If that's the case they win 75 percent between them – I know I'm making some sort of mistake here but at least I can generally be right by splitting them straight down the middle and say they're both $2.66 chances.
"If I do that Nature Strip is a great bet at better than $4.
"The market's probably more right than me there but the gap is too big.
"I don't need to be exact, I just need to know where the edge is and the edge is Nature Strip."
Online article taken from racenet.