Good morning to all fair punters of this land from what looks outside to be another dary and murky Worcestershire Saturday.
The coffee has been bubbling away for hours and the Major is prepared.
Let us be inspired to take the fight to the enemy with some words from our greatest naval leader, Horatio.
If a man consults whether he is to fight, when he has the power in his own hands, it is certain that his opinion is against fighting – The Major trusts that his followers understand this sentiment and bet with stakes that befit men of valour such as we.
We have some fine sport this weekend. The Six Nations kicked off last night with a fine English win in Cardiff, Torres begins his Chelsea career with a match up against his old team and on track, Nicky Henderson unleashes the full power of his champion hurdle contenders to pick up the big graded hurdles. Tasty morsels that make me happy to be alive feeling blood coursing through veins and arteries, sinew tissue tenses as each event unfolds on the unwritten pages. Look in the eyes of those vacuous souls around you – get involved.
It is a great card at Ffos Las and while the Major has yet to visit that particular corner of Wales, I am reliably informed that this fledgling track is a great addition. It certainly would not exist without Dai Walters and so it is fitting that he gets to run Oscar Whisky, who served the Majors followers well on New Years Day when tipped up and winning well at Cheltenham at 4/1. He goes in the Welsh Champion Hurdle today and I am sure he will be fully tuned up for connections.
Let us start on the track.
The 2.25 at Sandown is a great novice event. Great because is throws up a quandry. Medermit undoubtedly showed the best form of these when hurdling but seemingly has unconvinced as a chaser. Captain Chris is still unexposed in the Majors view as a chaser and we may see the best of him today. The penny seems to be dropping for Rock Noir too who comes with impressive french form which has thus failed to fully translate. After two outings over fences, the Henderson Nadiya de la Vega may settle better and complete a hat-trick but Mr Gardner is another from this stable which could be anything.
With 9 runners this is a nice contest for each way punters, four bookmakers – Bet365, Skybet, 888sport and Blue Square go quarter odds the places, credit where it is due.
The Major sees it like this. Jonjo and Alan King don’t seem to have their string in the most sparkling form and so lines go through Medermit and Rock Noir, ruling out two nearer the top of the market.
The two I really like that could go on to better things are Captain Chris and Nadiya de la Vega. The former has smart form behind Arkle contender Ghizao, the later gets a handy mares allowance of 7lb. Reading the trainers comments the latter seems to the main stable hope in the race with Mr Gardner having to a fair bit more stepping up. Take Captain Chris each way at 9/2 with Bluesq and take a win bet on Nadiya at the same price. For those who like a reverse forecast, have a slice and thank me later. These unexposed sorts put the dinner on the table. Wimping out? Certainly but profits are profits. Push come to shove, if you just want just the one, then Hobbs seems to have some riches in the Novice Chasers category and so the Captain for me.
The Major tries to bring you the key races but always looks into the dark corners of a weekends depths to uncover the elusive value – quite rightly, not many people woke up this morning wondering about the Blue Square Sprint Series (Class 6) going at 2.55 at Lingfield, it certainly won’t worry the terrestrial TV producers!
This is where the Major sees a nice bit of value in the ten year old Misaro, Now OK, this one holds absolutely no sectrets from the handicapper but it has dropped 9lbs to below previous winning marks and seemed in fine fettle when chasing home the winner at Wolverhampton last time out. Probert (a fine young jockey) takes the ride again and at 9/1 with Skybet (again good work) and William Hill, an each way slice is advised – These are the only two markets open at the moment, as a Ron Harris horse, we could some price movement.
The big race at Sandown should be a penalty kick for Binocular who will go off at a 1/12 sort of price. On ratings, it is two stone ahead of anything else so why would it not win. If you need an interest, Blue Square go 10/11 that Binocular wins by less than 12 lengths. I cannot imagine Henderson wants to give the horse a hard ride and fully extend him. Plus on goodish ground with a horse that doesn’t like to hit the front too soon, I would take less than 12 lengths as an OK bet.
The Welsh Champion Hurdle stars Oscar Whisky who is likely to go off at 1/6, again not a casual punters bet. I have to say that I think the horse is good but I am unsure that this good ground is ideal. It should not stop him winning, no bet advised but I think Barizan if the rain holds off could steal a march and out-run 20/1.
I am more interested in some of the other Henderson sorts. He certainly has an embarrasment of riches in the stable this year. Loose Performer is available with value at 5/4 with Skybet (4.15 Ffos Las). At that price, even in a maiden hurdle I would have a chunky one.
To the sports fields of Britain….
Marvelous stuff in the rugby last night. No advised six nations tips today but the Major has a number of people better equipped to review the first weekends action and offer better value advices – Watch out for a post mid week from ‘Gentleman Jim’ and ‘The Frisky Gardener’…… don’t ask. I also have a couple of people watching the golf markets who are promising to offer some pearls, guest bloggers are always welcome. If you want an interest in the six nations then Italy in the -12 handicap at 10/11 with Bet365 is of interest.
Hull have spent well bringing experienced league striker Matty Fryatt to Humberside and I would take them to win at Scunthorpe comfortably at 7/5 with Blue Square, Hills and Ladbrokes.
Tottenham should have little problem with Bolton but Spurs have two ways of playing and no bet advised.
Wigan are not doomed yet but throwing the lead at West Brom will not have helped their cause. 10/11 is the price in the draw no bet market for Blackburn and it is strongly advised.
Man City play with huge caution when away at top teams. At home to West Brom they will be far more open and attacking. This will also suit West Brom who are utterly undaunted by such encounters – a recipe for goals? 15/2 is probably OK for West Brom but the Major prefers 3.5 goals or more at 17/11 with Red32 – Get stuck into that it is a price of utter beauty cast in the furnaces of the turf accountants foolishness and insanity.
I also like the chances of Villa at evens against a Fulham team that look less comfortable on the road. I have been impressed with Fulham who the Major read as a relegation possibility. With players returning and some interesting squad additions, they look set to climb the table. I do feel that Villa are in the same boat though and with a probable stronger back end to the season, the Major tips Villa to beat Fulham today.
Although Stoke are strong at home and Sunderland are missing Bent and Cattermole, I still like the 14/5 about a Sunderland win in the potteries. Gyan is a class act and Sunderland are well organised. Load the light gun.
Cricket paid well with one bet and one win in January and let us hope that strike rate can be kept up as the Major advises the finale of the one day series going to England. 11/10 looks skinny on the surface given the current 5-1 status of the series but Australia rest key players (Watson and Clarke) and England played well with the bat in defeat.
The Major has a sizzling date with a fine flame haired Welsh hotpot so it is fitting that the nap goes at Ffos Las (Blue Ditch is the translation) – I trust Loose Performer to hack up at 4.15 affording luxury truffles, caviar, champagne and other delights on my lady companion……. that said, a value meal will probably suffice if the Majors experiences of South Wales are anything to go by.
I trust your flask will be charged with the good brandy. If you are also entertaining an earthy sort from the valleys then my advice is to allow your wallet to drop to the table with a thud, the mere sight of the red notes will be enough for the desired effect, with her eyes like saucers, call the man over and let him know that ‘Bydd y dyn hwn yn talu am bopeth’ – I am sure the rest will take care of itself.