Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Saturday Sermon – Tips for the Lincoln (40/1) and Dubai World Cup

Good morning from rural Worcestershire where the air seems less charged and a frantically heated week.  The Major is at the kitchen table having slept like the dead, the coffee is bubbling away and once more I prepare for battle with the enemy.

Am I backing Chantal Sutherlands ride in the Dubai World Cup? Well no... erm, I just thought readers would like to know the Candian rider..... The Major, helpfully at your service

After having a great time at Stratford races last week, the Major is considering taking the two young boys back today.  They enjoy the space, they love the horses and Stratford has such an intimate feel to it, it is ideal for a family day out.

What great news that Channel Four are getting all domestic coverage of racing.  If you use the search bar, you will find that this has been a long term campaign for the Major.  Put simply, the dedication of the Channel 4 team is there.  Every week they are racing and include the excellent morning line in their schedules.I always felt it unfair that the BBC had some of the crown jewels like the Arc, the National and the Derby.  I also found it odd that they chose to include the Welsh National in their chosen fixture list too!

I have always rated the Channel 4 team far superior and I believe they do not need Clare Balding to move over.  Don’t change a winning formula.

What a great day of sport; the Majors appetite is whetted; the racing includes the Lincoln and the World Cup in Meydan while the Premier League has some fixtures which look incorrectly priced to the Major.

Let us be thankful for being alive in this moment and let us find that elusive winner at odds that will put a smile on your bank managers face.  There are followers of this blog who back blindly the advice they read.  I hope that today, they all land for you as well as me!

The March form is strong; there are some numbers to be updated in the betting register and results tabs in the menu but it is only about a week out of date.

As ever, the Major remains profitable… just.  If that is your sole aim though, you are not welcome.  The Major is more than just a tipster seeking profit.

In fact, I charge you not for being here but I do ask that you merit your welcome.  The criteria are simple.  You must be a gentleman.  You must take losing as well as winning.  You must enjoy the sport in the knowledge that it is a diorama of life itself with success and failure decided on a whim.  You must appreciate your own frailty and understand that we drift by on this tide just the once; grab on to what you can and enjoy.  Lap it up my friend and ask no questions.  Oh, and a passing interest in Victorian military history helps.

The Major is free, barely profitable and certainly unhinged.  If this is the sort of tipster you are after then read on.  Every week, the Saturday Sermon tries to land the mothership; join my immortal battle; daub your war paint, sharpen your lance point and let us pick our enemy off at the trot.

I accept no criticism for bets that fail; I take no thanks for those that win.  Your mind is your own; the last thing a man can take from you; do with it as you please.

Can I also point out the fancy new banner that has replaced my Cheltenham special.  Given the flat season is here, I thought the highest rated horse in the world should grace our banner.

To the sports.

3.15 Doncaster – Tips for The Lincoln

The big flat curtain raiser is a handicap woven together by the devil to fox us, teasing us with intrigue.  22 runners charging down Doncasters straight.  Firstly, fair play to Paddy Power Racing who go five places on their each way terms, credit where it is due.

What makes it so damned difficult to solve the Lincoln is that this race is the first run of the season for so many of these horses.  Which of the four year olds have wintered well and are now better horses?  Which are in form? What about track bias?

I am minded to follow the four year olds this year.  They have collected the prize six times in the last nine runnings and they are far fewer in number on each card.

Fury at 7/1 ticks a lot of boxes but given just how bad his last season was, caution is advised.  Connections will hope that having him gelded makes all the difference and he is one in the field who could hose up.

The other 4 year olds are hard to enthuse about.  Askaud at a price (50/1) at least has a decent attitude but given he likes to lead, I cannot feel he will take this.

Eton Forever is a five year old with an excellent 7/1 chance.  I am a big fan of the Varian stable and Neil Callan is one of my favourite flat jockeys and one of the most under-rated around in the Majors view.

On balance I am going to back two.  Fury is the first tip at 7/1 for a win.  Haggas has won the Lincoln twice in the last ten years and that gives us hope that he has his horse primed.

The second is a massive price for a contender that is not obvious.  Shavansky is a 40/1 shot (BetVictor / Sportingbet) and with the way he can finish a race, he could be plugging on to good effect in the final yards.  There have been good noises from the yard on twitter and the Major is tempted with a slice.

Meydan – Tips for the World Cup

£3.8m for the winner.  The money that the Sheikhs are putting up at Meydan is eye watering and they deserve the attention from the best yards in the world.  This truly is a World Cup.

The O’Brien trained So You Think is rumoured to be in fine fettle and is a general 5/2 chance.

I have to say that the surface is my main concern for the horse.  He never seemed to get going at Churchill Downs on dirt and Tapeta has similar qualities in the Majors view.  Not one for me, although his draw is helpful.  That said, the horse is off to stud back in Australia and this would add another few thousand $ to the fee!

Smart Falcon has carried all before him in the far east, amassing £5.5m in winnings from 19 victories in a 25 race career.  We have not seen him in Europe or the Middle East though and although I prefer the selection to So You Think, not for the Major.

The Major is going to tip 10/1 shot Royal Delta who is also drawn comfortably enough in stall 7 and is a strong dirt performer.

Game on Dude ridden by the talented and beautiful Canadian Chantal Sutherland will have to expend a lot of energy from gate 14 to get to the lead and I fear that will undo the horses chances.  That strong gallop though which has been missing in recent World Cups (and reducing them to near meaningless) should be assured today with four front runners in the field.

and in other racing….

Still in Meydan, ten year old Kasbah Bliss aims at the Group 3 stayers race (2.45), 16/1 and not a tip but would love to see the old warrior do it again!

In the 3.25, Mickdaam is an absolute steal at 5/1, proven on the course and amongst the best form on show regardless; at least twice the price the Major has him at.

In the 4.35, Bob Bafferts The Factor could be a dream winner for the trainer who suffered a heart attack in Dubai.   6/1 is a huge price but reflects the lack of experience on the Tapeta surface – With this selection I am happy to take that on chance.

In a terrific day of racing, the other price that catches the eye is in the 5.20 Webster Cup at Navan.  This Grade Two contest has plenty of previous graded winners in it and we are trying to assess which winter horses are over the top and which summer horses are coming to hand.  On good ground, I have to advise you to call your money man and free up some capital with which to back Zaarito at 5/2.  Finishing second to the tidy looking Seabass last time out and sure to cope with conditions, a strong fancy.

In the football, Bolton look a tidy 9/4 to win at Wolves who look gone to me.  Arsenal are 8/13 to win at QPR, also worth adding in as well as Newcastle to beat Liverpool (2/1).

May your dinner be a glorious steak, shown the merest glimpse of a flame and served with a light salad.  The company should be the country sort who does not mind the blood on the plate.

Courage and roll those dice.

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The Saturday Sermon Stratford Special

Good morning from a Worcestershire countryside coming to life, like souls awakening.  The hedgerows are buzzing, the sky is busy, chattering birdsong; the Festival has signalled the move from darkness to light; happy days ahead.

Small but perfectly formed, a nice day at Stratford races for the Major

The Major has updated his results from the festival (see the menu above) and you will see, I am in fine form.  +80% this month is a blinder and let’s hope it continues today.With the Major taken by the turn of the season, how apt that todays forecast is glorious and that Stratford, the marvelous little summer jumps track hosts a Saturday fixture.  I am taking the two boys, Matthew and Daniel, aged 4 and 5.They have been racing with me before.  I have taken them once at a time to Cheltenham and took them both once all the way to Fontwell on a whim.

Daniel enjoys it but Matthew really loves it; I can see from his eyes that this apple fell not far from the tree; I am proud.  His favourite horse is Champion Court who young watched win at Cheltenham on New Years Day.  Afterwards I was treated to days of him galloping around the house claiming to be Champion Court!  At that age winning is important but I think the dark colours helped too.

So, today, I go across the Stratford card and offer you my thoughts on each race.

Stratford Races Tips

2.10 Novices – I like the chances of Five Rivers at 9/2 who hopefully will respond well to cheekpieces.

2.45 Handicap Chase – 7/2 Newton Tonic is the selection – This horse goes chasing for a yard that does well here and looks the least exposed.  Plenty of questions about the others.

3.15 Selling Hurdle – Gud Day at 2/1 looks a fine bet, I thought he was very unlucky last time out and with any natural improvement, looks good enough for this

3.45 Handicap Chase – Vin du Roy should go well but That’s the Deal could improve further and see off his penalty.

4.20 Condisional Jockeys – I am always about the jockey and not the horse in these events and so I look beyond the temptation of Lilac Belles recent win and opt for the very steady Jack Quinlan aboard Pob’s Trophy at 14/1

4.55 Novice Handicap – Speedy Directa at 11/8 makes plenty of appeal – He may not be an obvious chase candidate but anything like his hurdle form over the larger obstacles and he should go in.

5.25 Handicap Hurdle – Finding a winner here is not easy but top weight 6/1 shot Mister Chancer is sure to at least give a run for the money.

Todays other races….

The Blue Square Lingfield Winter Derby runs tomorrow and I shall point you in the direction of The Young Racegoer who has blogged his tips.

In the football, I have to say that Norwich at home to Wolves 4/5, Swansea to beat Everton 5/4 and Bolton at home to Blackburn 6/4 are the Majors selections.

Wolves look in freefall and Norwich should have little problem knocking them over.  Swansea are very good at home and on a high, I think they will deal with Everton.  As for Bolton, after the tragic events of a week ago, I think the team will react well and be highly motivated in front of a passionate home crowd.

For dinner, enjoy mexican, the sort of food to eat with your fingers.

Courage and roll those dice.

Friday Newbury Tip – Set your weekend up with 7/1 magic!

Good evening from the Major who writes with a tip for the Friday Newbury card.

The Major has updated his 2012 Cheltenham Diary – I will polish it up in the next few days but I wanted to record the main memories each year.  I hope, if I am lucky, to be able to record 20 festivals in that menu!

I have also updated all of my Bet Registers and Bet Results.  A very healthy festival which has set the Major up for a cracking March.

I am hoping to take my two boys racing on Saturday for a gentle affair at Stratford, anyone care to join?

To Newbury and keep the good times rolling!  Let’s see if we can win that day out!

3.50 Newbury Novices Handicap Chase

Romulus D’Artaix ran well last time out and will appreciate the ground.  That said on his last run here, No Loose Change was alongside Romulus D’Artaix when unseating Daryl Jacob (4 out) and No Loose Change had been badly hampered previously, on that run, the Paul Nicholls charge looks a tidy price.

Monbeg Dude and Reblis will also appreciate the conditions.  The latter looks a damn hard ride at times and if he does win, it won’t carry the Majors ticket.

Larks Lad didn’t enjoy it here last time and looks exposed and under qualified, cannot have that one.  Lexicon Lad also has a line through him on the Majors book on account of me thinking he needs further than this, especially around a flat galloping track like Newbury.

The Falklander looked tidy winning at Ffos Las but this is a step up.  For me, it is this one and No Loose Change of interest but neither the selection.

ONLY WITNESShas won four races over obstacles and two over fences already.  His penultimate Kempton run is best ignored and he bounced back well at Huntingdon.  While he has won on soft as well as good to firm, I think a sound surface is best and the jockey booking is telling.  Noel Fehily is five wins from nine rides for Powell in the last two years.  Could be more improvement, 7/1 (Boylesports / Paddy Power)… what is not to like?

Shabash, take a thick slice and thank me later.

The Saturday Service – Uttoxeter Tips, Cheltenham Review

Good morning from the Saturday Service from a cloudy Pershore where a freshening cool breeze is just what the Major needs to blow out the stuffiness you feel after the festival.

The racing world owes you Kauto, enjoy the retirement

The Major is glad it is over, it has been an epic week but my body says stop!I will write up my Cheltenham diaries in the coming days as well as update the bet register and results but top line….

Financially it was The Major 3 Bookies 1; Although I put up Brindisi Breeze, the losses on track yesterday outweighed the winners.  The antepost piece paid a blinder; Rock on Ruby 14/1 and Sir Des Champs 6/1 were big wins.

As for moment of the week well it was a cracking festival with many memories that will be with me at death’s door.  I would rate Rock on Rubys powerful win as a highlight; Hunt Ball epitomised all that is great about this sport; The finish to the Champion Chase was superb with Finians Rainbow eventually breaking the spirit of Sizing Europe; Sir Des Champs was superb and so was Sprinter Sacre who looks the real deal.

The winner though for me was a moment in the Gold Cup.  With Kauto clearly not enjoying himself and moving backwards through the field, I was yelling at the giant TV screen for Ruby to do exactly what he did; pull him up.  Nobody wanted to see the great Kauto Star be punished and there was a wonderful spontaneous round of applause for an animal that means so much to so many.

2.10 Uttoxeter

Short post from the Major this week and just one racing dart.

Trip the Light could be a danger to all but has to recover from his exertions on Thursday which might be an ask.

The Quinn yard are in good form and Blue Destination could be on a very good mark based on some bits of form; it would not be surprising to see him run a big race.

Luggers Hall is the 4/1 pick though (Skybet); the same form from Newbury should see him involved.

In the football, the Sweeping Hand asked me to put in a big 7/4 shout for his beloved West Brom at Wigan.  He reassured me there is at least the same amount of head as heart in the selection.

Tonight, have a bowl of soup and be grateful, be on your own for once, it won’t do you any harm.

Courage, roll those dice.

Gold Cup Tip 33/1 – The Friday Festival Post

Good morning one and all from a grey Pershore sky – The Major is THREE NIL up against the enemy this week SHABASH…. KABOOOOM.

One again, I acknowledge the thanks but do not accept them. Mr Powell, Mr Hill, Mr Clarke et al; Thank you for the messages but remember….. my information is free, written in good faith but simply the workings of my unhinged mind. What you do with said information is your personal decision. That which god have given and no man can take away; personal choice, that which hostages must cling to at the last; is your own divine right. I accept neither criticism or praise for the choices you make; I merely celebrate our mutual victory.

Sir Des Champs was an imperious winner, one of the moments of the week; as was a thrilling Ryanair. Surely though, watching Voler la Vedette come over the last looking the winner of the World Hurdle and then watching Big Bucks find more…. that is a memory that will last!

Tips – The Triumph Hurdle – Pearl Mix

County Hurdle – Dirar and Magnifique Etoile (for @calummadell)

Albert Bartlett – Brindisi Breeze

Gold Cup – What a Friend 33/1

The Foxhunters – Barber Shop

Martin Pipe – Betfred 7/1 Bourne

The Grand Annual – Kid Cassidy

Courage; Roll those dice