Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Majors Saturday Service – Stratford, Newbury, Lingfield Winter Derby, Dubai World Cup – The Hatty Special!

Good morning fair punters of Britain and welcome back to the Majors Saturday Service.  No mid-week posts due to alternate priorities I am afraid – I have also have no chance to update the stats in the menu bar either – I will get round to this and it will make the numbers look a little less rosy.  That said, we are having a good March and we shall continue today.

Tragic scenes from the electrical accident which struck Newbury earlier in the season

I was asked to have a look at the Stratford card and so I have a couple I fancy there.  Newbury has some decent jumps action but Lingfields winter derby card and the action from Meydan is where the best racing is to be had.

There is also competitive international football and cricket, a trove of riches to be plundered.

The Major is relentless in quest, never shaken by the multitude of misfortunes that befall a brave punter warrior of this tribe.  Sharpen that pin-like needle spear young man, daub paint, wide-eyed, we stare into the possible, it is an echoing chasm of expectation and dashed fears of fallen gamblers.  To the sports and hold that steeley gaze.

Stratford ground is good and this could be quite significant.  We are definitely looking for horses with a bit of pace who can take advantages of firmer conditions around this flat track.

The first race to catch the eye is the 3.30.  Himrayn has a nice win at Market Rasen under his belt but a 10lb rise might be a bit steep although third that day has gone on to perform well.  The favourite Piment D’Estruval has a 3lb rise for a recent win to contend with too but if anything that seems harsher.

It leaves for me Phoenix des Mottes who is one of three who has won on the ground. It needs to put in a clean round.  Putting a line through the last run which was on unsuitably boggy ground, the february form of 4th is not bad, that was a 3l defeat to Handtheprizeover who went down to Meet the Critics in a better race at Newbury next time out. 

Have a win bet on the Phoenix at 9/2 with Skybet.

Happy Birthday to Charlie Wheelwright whose family have sponsored the race! 

2.55 Stratford – The Seller

As always the Major brings you the big races and the seller at Stratford!

Claimant makes the most appeal in a decidedly trappy event.  Only Hypnotic Gaze has any winning form in this seller but at 2/1 it makes little solid appeal.  I am hoping the headgear can have some positive impact and we see a better run – 10/1 Betfred, have an each way piece if there are no drop-outs resulting in a 2 place payout.

Newbury 3.25 Handicap Chase

Some decent horses are looking for a return to form in this race.  At Newbury I am often looking for a sound jumper and most here fith the bill.  Possibly Scots Dragoon is an exception and is overlooked. although he is one of a few that will like the good ground 

The others are Maktu, Ogee, Briery Fox, Winterwood and possibly Rey Nacardo. 

The only risk outside of these is Theatre Dance whose trainer is sizzling hot at the minute and this is a classic falling through the handicap horse – A revival could mean a big run for the money – not for the Major though.

Winterwood gets the line because he ran 48 hours ago!  This is probably a bit of a big ask for Rey Nacardo who fits many of the other criteria I was looking at.  That said 6/1 Boylesports is a fair price and he is taken as the tentative selection over a disappointing Maktu and Ogee who might find the fences a bit stiff.

5.35 Meydan – Dubai World Cup

Classy stuff.  Twice Over has had the misfortune of a shocking draw which is a shame because surely Cecil has the preparation nailed this year.  Twice Over has been in Dubai for some time…. shame but overlooked (good luck Martin!)

The Major gives another chance to Gio Ponti who is no doubt high quality and although the synthetic surface record is not great, it disguises some very good runs.  The lack of a prep race is not a concern at this level.  12/1 with Corals is a huge price – Get stuck in.

On the sports fields.

The Major is a big fan of 10/3 for Charlton to get a win at Bournemouth.  Both of these teams are suffering a dive in form.  It is well publicised that Chris Powell had a classic honeymoon period after which he lost 8 on the bounce for Charlton.  Bournemouth are missing Eddie Howe though and I fancy Bradley Wright Phillips a real danger at this level.  With the cherries having lost their last 3 too, 10/3 seems massive for Charlton to pick up the points – Get stuck right in.

At the prices I would back England in the cricket (7/4) and leave them in the football for Wales (8/1).  Football – Wales will make it a tight game and the move to appoint a new young captain could prove inspirational.  Cricket – England have been disrupted by injury this tournament but seem to play at their best when the pressure is off.  Not many are expecting anything other than a loss and I think Strauss may surprise a few.

The Hatty Special, named in honour of a new follower on Twitter (@tdl123) is a lucky 15 for Phonex Des Mottes, Claimant, Rey Nacardo and Charlton.

Tonight, dinner will be pasta, nice and simple.  Cook it with a little fish.  A sancerre to accompany.  Eat out, entertain that haughty sort you have had your eye on.  Two bottles in you will break the guard, the Major is sure.

Good luck followers.  Courage and shuffle the cards.

The Major On Sunday – Cheltenham Results are up – Carlisle Tips – Curragh Flat Season Starts

The Major has posted his Cheltenham results and they are bigger than expected.  Largely thanks to a couple of placed efforts on Friday and a non runner in Snap Tie, we scored a 60% profit on the week.

The flat is back! The Curragh kicks off today.

That is the past.  The Major is now in build up mood for 2012.

My best ante post bet for 2012 right now would be Weapons Amnesty to win the Gold Cup.  At 25/1 I think if he is fit, he could well be a major threat to Long Run whose 3/1 price is abourt fair.  Let us not forget Diamond Harry either whose Hennessy form would not have been enough to expect him to have beaten Long Run but certainly he is a chaser on the up.  If this year was sentimentally incredible because we could watch the two old timers brawling it out down the hill joined at the last by the young pretender who went on to claim his spot in history…… next year could be an almighty punch up between some great up and comers.  Will Time for Rupert come back to form (absence since December was probably the reason for his loss).  A question swirling in the Majors mind is whether Nicholls if bereft of a better option, will send Big Bucks for another pop over the bigger obstacles.

The Curragh – Flat Racing is Back!  Lodge Park 4.05pm

The sun is out, it is light when you leave work.  It is time to dust off the flat form book as the trainers of the big stables start playing their hands towards this years classic prizes.

Today we have some Group 3 action at the Curragh and the Major is willing to flex his muscle.

The Lodge Park goes off at 4.05 and is an all age mile event with 52k (Euros) for the winner. 

None of these have been running since last year and so the trick at this stage is to pick the trainers likely to get off to a flyer with a string of horses well prepped for their seasonal openers.

Often it helps to find a horse where winning the Lodge Park is the big target.

For the Major lines go through the entries of Banimpire (Ground), Mid Mon Lady (Not good first time up), Burn the Floor (Complete Outsider, shown nothing only start).

The remaining 6 are all running for trainers yet to unleash any runners.  This is with the exception of Enchanted Evening.  Dermot Weld has run three in the last fortnight all be it over hurdles and they have performed well, notably Unaccompanied at the festival. 

This one will handle conditions well and if she has progressed at all from 4 to 5 , she could go well. 

Gemstone could show a lot of improvement.  At just 5/1 though, this Galileo filly is too short, that one is for another day.

Enchanted Evening for the Major at 10/1.

The Irish Lincolnshire – 4.35pm, The Curragh

The Irish Lincolnshire has attracted a decent field of handicappers and one catches the Majors eye.

By all accounts, Steed for the Kevin Ryan team is a bit of a handful.  Since the stable applied the headgear though, the change in the horses fortunes has been significant.  14/1 but the Major thinks further improvement could be to come and it looks telling that Kevin Ryan has come across the Irish Sea to have a pop at this 36k contest.

Irish racing seems to carry much better prize money and it is has been noteworthy that more and more UK trainers are taking their chances in Ireland (or France) to steal decent prizes.

Hawkhill is of interest with the superb G F Carroll, he still has a 3lb claim but that will not last for long.  14/1 too, perhaps a saver.

Clearly the favourite Photo Opportunity has a great chance.  The Major takes experience to beat him in the hustle of this competitive field on only his third start.

4.30 Carlisles Betfair Novice Handicap Hurdle

Of all of the jumps racing on offer, Carlisles 4.30 is where the Major smells blood.

It is hard to believe that Carlisles course is still Heavy given the beautiful weather we are experiencing south of Birmingham!  IT just shows that it is cold up north.

Douglas Julian dodged a booking at the festival to keep in a sphere he can win in and at 10/3, this is a fair price indeed.  Particularly when you consider he is 3 from 3 in Heavy conditions and 1 from 1 in Soft. 

Paul Gallacher is terrific value for a 5lb claim which could be great benefit for What’s up Woody.  He is the only other horse that escapes a question about the ground.

Get stuck into Douglas Julian and thank me later.

The Big Game

Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge and neither team looked in inspired touch.  Chelsea have won the last two in the league.  Man City have an excellent recent record against Chelsea. 

All cannot be well in the Man City camp with the manager and the stroppy new striker Ballotelli having to be separated after going out of Europe in the week. 

The Major fancies a tight game.  Man City were happy to show little adventure at Arsenal when 0-0 sounds more exciting than the game itself. 

Less than 1.5 goals is 23/10 with Sportingbet and I am happy to sup from that cup.

The Major had the Gold Cup Winner – Well Done Long Run – Saturday Service

Friday at Cheltenham is what our great sport is about.

Denman was at his courageous best and a deserved winner, if only the rain had come.  Kauto jumped beautifully, his artistic sometimes flamboyant leaps carrying him to the front and looking the likely winner.

Long Run settlers down to business - What the great sport is all about

Yet Long Run, ridden by an amateur and with the burden of the stats for 6 year olds, beat them both recording a record time in the process.  Denman is brave but so was Long Run who had to pick up at two out and did the job admirably.

For the Major, I was most pleased that it was a fair fight.  As they free wheeled down the hill, with Long Run having been a bit scruffy three out, it became obvious we were watching the Gold Cup of our generation.  Thrilling, thrilling stuff.

Well done Long Run, well done to all connections.  Well done Paul Nicholls who filled all of the places.  If a new racegoer attended Prestbury Park yesterday, surely they must have been bitten by the bug.

The Majors Saturday Service is curtailed.  I plan on doing a post tomorrow for the 2012 festival.  I want to review some of the key races from 2011 and pick out some of the better bets for next year.

Aah the battle is complete.  The Major saw the enemy off this year.  I hope you were on some of the same winners, Cheltenian, Albertas Run, Divers, Long Run and Big Bucks amongst them.  I have not had chance to update the data in the top menu but it looks like a 35% profit from the festival.  The battle din may have dulled yet there is another noise replacing it, the sound of the feint drum, the enemy regroups, the war rolls on relentlessly.  To the sports, for a brief rundown of the Saturday action.

On track it is the Uttoxeter raceday of the season as they host the Midlands National.  I am going to give another chance to Belon Gale at 33/1 who flopped in the slop at Newcastle in a race that perhaps should have been called off.  Watching a handful of finishers out on their feet is not that tasteful.  On todays genuine soft, I take Belon Gale to go well at a huge price, each way.

In the next, the novice hurdle(3.35), I like Zarrafact at 13/2 with Hills.  Emma Lavelle is a good trainer and I like Jack Doyle whose tall frame is not condusive to being a jockey but he is a reliable and well balanced individual.

On the football fields there are two bets I like.  The first is West Ham at 5/1 to win at Spurs.  They are not as good a team but the motivation is high and West Ham look booked to get out of trouble with influential players Hitzlesperger and Ba joining the fray.

I also like Birmingham to win at Wigan, who looked booked for the last three.  I think Birmingham are more organised, with Wigan seeking a victory, I would back Blues at 13/5 (VC) to pick off Wigan.

Tonight, keep the fayre simple.  Chicken Tikka Masala, pilau rice, peshwari naan, Tiger beer.  Good friends are recommended.

Short and sweet this week, I am sure you understand.  We draw breath ahead of the battles to come.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips – BOOOMMM! Three Profit Days From Three for the Major – We are through the looking glass….

Punters of Britain the Major is on a high, another profit day on Thursday, with Albertas Run returning 6/1 and Big Bucks at evens.

Important news.  Regular readers will know the Major resides in the village of Defford, outside of Pershore in rolling Worcestershire countryside.  This is 20 miles north of the course and I can report some important news…. The rain has come.  The amount of rain tonight could be crucial and it makes the job tomorrow more difficult.  I have no idea what the ground will be like first thing.  I shall risk it and offer my advices but I warn all punters to freestyle if the Major was off.  For the record I am going to expect enough for good to soft, soft in places.  Perhaps dead, perhaps tacky.  Makes life tougher.

The Major does not need to be told that he rants.  For a very special and abusive friend, I have agreed to start highlighting the advices in bold for those with less time to read the analysis or reasoning.  This is a concession that may not last.

It is the day of the reckoning and the Major, though be art weighed in the balance will not be found wanting

75% of the battle is done.  We have wounded the enemy and he seems unsteady on his feet.  He has a nasty looking gash where we took his cut on the near side and then caught him with our own defensive slice.  His guard is still up though and his mind devious; in this injured state he is dangerous, on guard young man and keep a steady eye, his rapier slashes may be crude but we need dedication to the end to see this enemy dispatched to meet his reckoning.

Yet the Major is wearied from battle too.  Three days of analysis of some of the trickiest handicaps, snow blind from reading form lines, vigilance as we approach the last dear friends.  We are almost triumphant, yet ’tis many a slip between the crouch and the leap.

The Triumph

Grandouet has been put away since the defeat of Two Kisses in January.  Two Kisses is a reliable yardstick, the form is unspectacular but good.  Henderson always has a good sort for the Triumph and the jockey booking suggests this is it.

I hate to make strong statements as they can be wrong and this may mislead but I just cannot believe Smad Place is good enough, it looks over rated to me.

A Media Luz was beaten by stablemate Grandouet and although the assistance of AP McCoy will help, I cannot see it turning the tables.  At this age, the mares allowance is influential but I just do not think it will be enough in the case of A Media Luz.

Unaccompanied, another of the fairer sex and thus 7lb in, is the Irish leading fancy for the powerful Weld / Smullen team – Dangerous to ignore, particularly with the weather turning.

Zarkanda is an Aga Khan bred animal who while über impressive when defeating Molotof, is in better company here.  Molotof is the Henderson third string.  I find it interesting that Ruby has defected to Sam Winner though.

Yet Sam Winner has struggled to cope in his last race.  Looking highly capable in the heart of winter, has some of the sparkle gone.

This triumph is a classic.  The crunch decision is over the form lines you take.  Grandouet has to be respected but had been defeated by Sam Winner, who in turn was defeated by Marsh Warbler who ran poorer than expected earlier in the week.  Both may be forgiven a run but neither are rock solid.

Zarkander has been abandoned by Ruby but could be absolutely anything.

For the Major, Unaccompanied  It has the best Irish form, the Irish trainers are having a great week, this would get Friday off to a steamer.  Have an each way bet at 7/1 and hope the allowance and rain aid the cause.  Stick it in the toaster, butter, marmite, cup of steaming tea and thank me later.

The County Handicap Hurdle

The County is a puzzle hidden inside an enigma which is disguised as a rohypnol induced nightmare.

Alazari who picked up the Imperial Cup and is hunting the £75k bonus is an obvious threat but in a field of 28 and having run in the last week, I am unsure it is wise to invest at 8/1.

Dirar is sitting favourite and you can see why.  Stable form and profile mean it should be involved, interesting.

The Major advises you though to bet sensibly, this is an insanely difficult prize.  I would proffer a few thoughts as follows.

Snap Tie a pound off top weight loves Cheltenham and has been dropping to a very handy mark.  Having not run since October 2009 it would be an almighty training performance but Hobbs can do it and Dickie Johnson in the saddle is a huge boost, 14/1 is it enough?

Salden Licht gets the burden of an extra pound, thus is the top weight and despite making a couple of errors when chasing after Recession Proof in the Totesport is on the Majors considered list, particularly at 25/1, not out of it.

Get me out of Here is also extremely well treated if the tongue tie has the desired effect, I would not put you off, personally 16/1 is an OK price but not what I am after.

Soldatino looks held unless there were excuses last time.  Dee Ee Williams more so.

Alaivan comes into it if the rain has been significant. 

Ski Sunday is a bit of an unknown.  The January run with subsequent winner Skint behind has a classy look about it.  It was only rated 66 on the flat but is a much better hurdling prospect, hmm.

Final Approach would not be 12/1 had Call the Police performed solidly on Wednesday.  Ruby and Mullins 12/1 in this sort of handicap, interesting.

Zanir at 33/1 could run a bigger than expected race too.

The Major has not ruled too many out of the County.  I have a shortlist of a few.  The most interesting of which is Snap Tie.  A Cheltenham horse, a mark that has dropped from two years off, 14/1 is as tight as I would want it but I just fancy the trainer and jockey if they have the horses confidence back.  It goes against many of the Majors principles, after all the time off the track is a significant downside before competing in such a big field.  I just have a sense that Johnson can turn him off and nurse him through, letting class do the rest.

The Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

Some time ago the Major put up a piece about Moonlight Drive which had been tipped to me antepost.  It definitely wants the rain which is coming and is a threat still but the softer the better.  Certainly the stable hold it in good regard it seems and as Recession Proof is a stablemate then they have a decent yardstick with the Totesport Trophy winner.

The hope was that Bobs Worth would defect to the Neptune and since that has not happened, it has to be a major threat in this given the ease of the Grade 2 success last time out.

The other horse of interest and the one I settle on to advise tonight is Champion Court.  At 10/1, I hope they have sorted the issues which caused the horse to hang so badly when it looked like it might get involved in defeat to Bobs Worth last time out.  The previous form has some depth, Bobs Worth could well be too good but with Henderson not enjoying the best week, I oppose with Champion Court.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Major has a strong fancy in the Gold Cup this year which is odd because it is as open as any I can recall.  I would go as far to say it is the best Gold Cup in many years, it will be a privilege to watch the interwoven strands of form, story, conjecture and magic unfurl.

It is not so much a case for the Major of picking the winner, it is more a case for finding the least likely reason any of the main protagonists will fail to lose.  That is not to say the quality is poor, quite the opposite.

The highlight of our national hunt year is solved by answering these questions correctly:

1. Does Kautos small bleed excuse his poor King George run and is he capable of pulling his old school form out when it matters? (He would go down not only as the only horse to have regained a Gold Cup but to have done that twice, wow)

2. Is Denmans third to the non runner Diamond Harry, giving best part of 2 stone away, in the Hennessy a decent bit of form?

3. Is the ground soft enough for Pandorama, the Majors ante post tip for the gold cup?

4. What does the Kempes Irish Hennessy win form add up to?

5. How ripe is Imperial Commander and how good was last years Gold Cup?

6. Is Midnight Chase a credible threat?

7. Is it time to change the old guard?

8. Who wins?

The Majors view: 1. No, he looked shot in the Down Royal opener, I know Nicholls will not have had him wound up for that but I think he is on a slide.  2. This is better form than anything Kauto has done but only entitles him to place form in the Majors view.  3. Probably not but if the rain keeps coming, too early to tell 4. Nothing 5. The Major is unimpressed on both counts.  6. Not really, if he were mine he would go straight to the National. 7. Yes.  8. LONG RUN.

I am aware that the stats for 11 year olds are shocking and so are the stats for 6 year olds.  Here is the advice.  If the ground gets good to soft, soft in places, then go Pandorama.  If it remains any better than that, stick with Long Run. 

I am going to believe that his 6 year old status is offset by the fact that he has had an awful lot of racing.  This was probably the reason that he lost last festival.  I was standing by Nicky Henderson that day (not that I know him!) and it did not look like the expected script was followed.  After being on the go all of the previous summer in France and then all winter, I think Long Run was already over the top at the festival.  The way he demolished the King George field suggested he is a different prospect to me.  He should stay, he won’t mind conditions, he is inexperienced but…. 5/1 Hills (who offer £20 bet on the race and a free £10 at the weekend to all customers), Paddypower and Coral – Have the biggest slice your wallet allows and send me the postcard.

Master Hobday, if you are reading, it already carries a £20 from the Majors wallet for you, the man, the legend.

The Foxhunters

The two races after the Gold Cup are surely designed as a bookies benefit to drag in any remaining cash. 

Gone to Lunch could be dangerous if showing the best of old form.  Baby Run is a worthy favourite, nothing wrong with betting that.

For value though the Major plumps for On the Fringe.  Probably too young, where Baby Run is starting to wear.  9/2 (Hills) On the Fringe for the Major.

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys

Conditional jockeys riding make this one of the most trappy handicaps of the festival. 

That said, there is one that stands out like a beacon to the Major in King of the Night.

This horse gets to race off a mark of just 139 despite having lost by a nose to Sprinter Sacre (now rated 145) when giving a full stone away.

From the champion trainer, plenty of scope.  11/1, the best the Major can come up with.

The Lucky Last – The Grand Annual

Christ, if you need a win here you are in trouble.

I might have the long priced answer too.  The Major has always had an eye for Sports Line.  OK, he gets way to frisky in his races and is often fighting for his head but when he does settle he looks classy.

What catches the eye is the switch to Timmy Murphy, I think they plan on burying him away in the field under the best rider at the last to first tactic.

33/1 is the sort of price to get you out of any trouble.

The Cheltenham Festival Summary

I hope you have had a terrific week.  The Major has taken not given and this is a refreshing change to last year.

In not many hours from now, the point in the year that National Hunt fans aim at is the furthest from us.  Thank god that the 2012 antepost markets are already open. 

Let us draw blood once again tomorrow.  I hope the racing is glorious, your victory magnanimous.

Gold Cup night deserves the best french cuisine.  Have some duck in the country fashion seared and with green peppercorn sauce.  A good Bordeaux.  Tip well, this is right.  Be upstanding for the Queen at midnight.  Find a nice girl from Cork whose sing song voice shall last with you for many days.

This Gold Cup, I hope you have every reason to be glad in your heart.

Cheltenham Day Three – Horseracing Tips for World Hurdle Day – 12/1 and 10/1 winners this week already KAAABOOOMMM!

A solid two days of Cheltenham reviews and tips and the Major’s followers are in 40% profit.  Day two looked victorious for the enemy until Cheltenian won the bumper well, a 12/1 selection for the Major (14/1 was available widely at the off).

Load the big guns, it is World Hurdle time

Sizing Europe looked stunning but you could run that race again and it wouldn’t carry the Majors money.  Carlo Brigante was an easy winner too and visually looked good. 

As usual all of my bets are recorded in the tabs at the top as is a summary of performance by month.  March is now rolling along gloriously!  You can follow the Major on twitter @tdl123 or look in the left hand menu to sign up to the email alert service.  Always free, amateur and slightly unhinged, the Major lays his racing soul bare.

World Hurdle day tomorrow.  We have reached half time in the battle.  It is time to pull out the big guns, we want winners.  Load up the big cannon young man with grape-shot, draw a bead on thine enemy.

Happy St Patricks Day to all Irishmen – Good luck to you today.

The Jewson

Noble Prince has been twice defeated this season by Arkle third, Realt Dubh.  While it is early to tell, I suspect this years Arkle was not a vintage and thus, this form does not add up to too much.  Last years festival win was very solid though and on good ground, of clear interest.

The market leader, Wishful Thinking won a hurdle in fine style out here last time, in one sense a rightful favourite.

Robinson Collonges has had some time off which might not be a bad thing.  His defeat in December at Cheltenham was poor, he looked a bit workman like before ploughing through three out and weakening quickly.  I think this can be forgiven and it is his run from November 2010 that catches the eye.  In it he fell, but not before putting all of the field to bed and certainly looking like he had the eventual winner covered. The horse that took advantage of the fall was Wishful Thinking.  This makes the 6/1 generally available tonight a must bet.  Ruby doing the steering is a big plus given he might need to be nursed into one or two fences.

The Pertemps Final

This is an intriguing puzzle with a number of interesting runners. 

Duke of Lucca is a reliable sort but surely not feasibly weighted for this. 

I have always liked Pause and Clause and this seasons form has been a disappointment. He has certainly performed better hurdling that chasing, 33/1 is a fair price for one that could go well.

Kayf Aramis is on a fair mark and is bidding to take this for a second time after victory in 09.  It is a tough horse who is hard to pass.  Not for the Major but 22/1 is fair enough.

The win Lush Life got at Cheltenham in December was good.  A previous defeat of Menorah at Ascot, looks much better.  You can put a line through the dreadful run at Sandown latest where the horse needed work from the farrier at the start.  14/1 for Henderson and Geraghty is a terrific price.  This would be the Majors bet of the day.

Chartreux also looks a well handicapped sort for the Pipes.

When it boils down, I suggest two each way plays.  Lush Life and Pause and Clause.  There is a bit of heart in the second, the first looks a stand out bet, go long, large, heavy and fast.

The Ryanair

After running well yesterday in the Champion Chase, I cannot see Somersby winning.  He has the class and the Ryanair would have been the Majors choice if he was mine.  Two Grade 1s in two days though is surely too much, if he is not scratched I wouldn’t want to be on.  The same applies to Captain Cee Bee.

J’y Vole has been the Majors selection a few times but this is probably a bit too hot for him.  8/1 has place claims only in the Major’s view.

It would be fascinating to see Voy Por Ustedes back in top form.  He is ten and so the change of scenery to Hendersons yard could spark some change.  Voy Por has plenty of Cheltenham form, 14/1 is a huge price if you could guarantee a decent run, who knows if the horses heart is back in it.

Tartak is also of interest at a price.  20/1 is simply too much for a horse with track form.  He benefits from being the stable star and uncharacteristic errors last time out can mean we can put a line through that run.  Good ground not a problem.

I am not sure the favourite Poquelin will appreciate the firmer conditions he will get tomorrow.  5/2 is just too short.

Albertas Run is certainly a key player.  6/1 for last years winner who will love the ground, of significant interest.  This is the Majors selection with a saver on Tartak each way.

The World Hurdle

With ground going against Grand Crus, his current drift to 3/1 could continue.  Contrary, Big Bucks has been trimmed back into evens (long gone is the 11/8 the Major took, sorry for crowing).

Grand Crus looked a real star in the making when clearing away from the field in a Grade 2 here latest.

I cannot see anything other than a Big Bucks win.  He looked at his best at Newbury this year and this is surely going to be the hat-trick effort of World Hurdles.   I think he will go off clear odds on favourite so get stuck in now.  For those who don’t like evens, I would say that the reward of a win on Big Bucks is far more than just doubling your money, it will be a huge thrill to be on a true champion with a huge crowd cheering him in.

Zaynar could go well if suited by a step up to 3 miles – This former champion hurdle contender is not exactly solid material but on best form is at least in the right league.

Fiveforthree will be popular and I expect it to go off shorter than 14/1.  The Major tipped it up when winning on reappearance but I just don’t think it is good enough in this company.

Sometimes, keep it simple – BIG BUCKS on BIG BUCKS! ‘C’mon Ruby!’

Byrne Plate

Ferdy Murphy served us well with a winner in the last on Tuesday and I suspect Hollo Ladies has been a planned horse for the Byrne Plate for some time.   Raced over probably unsuitably longer distances, the horse which looked progressive at two miles has had a mark of 139 preserved.  Dropped back in trip, I expect, or at least vaguely hope, for a massive run.

Venetia Williams has taken this race in three of the last five runnings and so you have to fear Quartz de Thais.  Not for the Major though, have a chunky slice and then it is Hollo Ladies all night long!

The Kim Muir

Another tricky handicap with plenty of big priced hopefuls.

I am not sure that the handicapper had the measure of Mostly Bob penalising the horse 11lbs for a Doncaster success we never found at at Kempton where the first fence bustle and subsequent fall robbed us of a better assessment of the true ceiling, difficult to assess but of interest to the Major with Dickie Johnson in the saddle.

Galaxy Rock is the other to catch the eye at 18/1 – Good ground is a plus and he is lightly tried over fences, Jonjo is due a decent winner.

Junior has a good chance too, I just feel the price is short enough.  As for the tip, take a slice of Mostly Bob each way and thank me later.

Good luck on day three.  Whatever happens bet like a man possessed.  Win or lose, ensure you have invested slightly more than you should.  After all what is it all for if you have not a palpitating moment.  We know better than those who bet with minimal stakes, fearful of loss.  How their fears have mastered their enjoyment of life.  Stake more than you should.

Sleep well.  In the morning I suggest eggs benedict, fresh orange juice, good coffee.  Take the papers early, have a constitutional walk, take the air.  It will be a good day.