Good morning from the Major who writes from the cold Worcestershire heartland. The earthen smell of the outdoors, the depths of January and the glory of a superb Cheltenham card – It is good to be alive and an Englishman on days of such heady mix.
Diamond Harry for the Major.... send me the postcard
You may notice this post was posted in the wee hours, this is due to the Majors Saturday commitments which have disturbed the usual weekend rhythm.
Did you realise that the Major loves gambling? Had you picked up on this subtlety? That was a rhetorical question. Truly it is an honourable endeavour and if you are not certain of this in your heart. If you give even the slightest credence to it being a sin or a weakness, then please move on, your sort is not welcome here.
Can you get a paper between addiction and unconditional love? Well yes, addiction is irrational, unconditional love not necessarily so. Either way, the Major cares little, I simply love the thrill of sporting chance.
Nobody has captured the honourable endeavour more accurately in my view than the great Kipling, one of England’s finest poets, whose prose roused the youth of the nation into a mission of imperialism, setting fires alight in the bellies of youth to win their spurs fighting in some foreign clime to bring the three C’s to the rest of the world.
From his most famous Poem ‘If’.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
The Major feels remorse for those that do not gamble, it is as if they are missing an essential part of the great existence we share. We go floating by just the once and you need to grab whatever flotsam comes your way in the current. Accept the sweet gifts my friends, yet ask no questions.
If you want to read Kipling, I suggest you start with Kim.
To the sports…. shine the point on that lance young man and polish that saddle. We shall meet our enemy hand to hand and we shall be dressed as a gentleman should be.
Tips for The Cheltenham Card
What a truly terrific card at Cheltenham for Trials Day. The Argento chase looks superb, even with Grand Crus dropping out, the juvenile hurdle looks a cracker too. For those on the course, enjoy, I wish you the happiest of days, think of the Major…. childrens party…. bad times.
For those reading late at night, the rain has come to Cheltenham so although the official going is good to soft, it may be soft in places.
I hope I have found some winning Cheltenham tips for you. Get these in a Lucky 15 and thank me later!
12.55 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
Grumeti was incredibly unlucky not to win when falling eight lengths clear and cruising at the last on his second hurdles start at Newbury. He had previously spread-eagled a Taunton field and looks a top class prospect.
That said, so does Baby Mix. He had Hinterland 7 lengths behind (a horse that Hollow Tree failed to beat over course and distance) and crucially has Cheltenham form.
One of the most interesting runners is Pearl Swan. A french import in the hands of Nicholls entered at this level and still being quoted at 10/1.
When all is said and done, I am minded to back Grumeti at 6/4. There is not so much love in the price but Alan King took this trial with Franchoek, Katchit and Walkon in the last five years so he clearly aims his top Triumph prospect at it.
Incidentally, if you want my best Cheltenham bet, I would take the 16s still about for Dildar to win the Triumph Hurdle. This Nicholls inmate has a similar feel to Zarkander. A classy flat animal (5l down to Pour Moi and only narrowly beaten by the French Derby winner!) he could first appear on a UK course on the Friday of the festival, do not say I did not warn you!
1.30 Cheltenham – Novice Handicap Chase
This is a wide open handicap and the markets are 7/1 the field. The horses that are nof significant interest are..
Made in Time who has won both chase starts he has completed. Sadly he has only completed half his chase starts and that makes him a difficult horse to tip in a competitive handicap which will test his jumping.
Charminster looks certain to improve now stepping up in distance and is a serious contender in the Majors view. He looks classy and could get away with carrying eleven seven, this is a handicap debutante of clear interest.
Carpincho also looks fairly treated and the stable have booked Costello for the ride. He is 1/3 for the yard and this is not a horse without chance.
That’lldoboy still looks on the upgrade and we cannot be certain that the handicapper has stopped Mr Chow either who was turned out twice quickly over the New Year to take advantage of lenient marks. 124 may still be going easy on him.
Bless the Wings is certainly well in on his form with Our Mick. The latter is now equipped with a mark of 142 and Bless the Wings was a 6 length second at Kempton so 130 looks tidy.
Overall I am going to steer you to Charminster at 10/1. McCain is in decent enough touch and this horse does look pretty decent. Bless the Wings (particularly), That’lldoboy and Mr Chow all rate as live dangers.
2.25 Argento Chase
This is pretty much a Gold Cup field with the exceptions of Grand Crus, Long Run and Kauto. A classy affair for the highlight of the card.
The Major has to side with Diamond Harry who looks sensational value at 7/2.
Captain Chris has looked all wrong on his last runs and if he returns to his form from last spring then he will be a danger to all. That said, the Major thinks he is a spring horse and best watched so 11/4 gets no love from these quarters. I also think they need to step back to two and a half miles but we will see.
Time for Rupert needs to step up and with the stable seemingly out of sorts, not for me.
Overall I am very pleased to be getting 7/2 for Diamond Harry, a fragile horse but one who has a superb winning record.
3.10 Novice Hurdle – Grade 2
This is a great looking race and the two to concentrate on are well advertised in the market, Knights Pass and Broadbackbob.
The first has gone from strength to strength hurdling and is entitled to have a step up in class.
The second and the Majors tip, Broadbackbob, is another of the novice hurdling riches of the Henderson yard and should be backed early at 7/4 (general). His two hurdle wins have been done with the minimum of fuss and he has the best form on show, simple.
To the football and 4th round FA Cup tips…
The Major’s football tips are not fairing brilliantly so these come with a profit warning.
Hull to beat Crawley… 18/19
Newcastle to win at Brighton 20/19
Stoke to win at Derby 13/10
May your dinner be Mexican, hearty beans and fiery flavour, eat with your hands and take company that is relaxed and uncomplicated – The sort with a plain yet somehow wanton look. Enjoy yourself. Tip well.
Courage, roll those dice.