Good evening from the Major who writes from the dark Worcestershire countryside night. No Saturday morning post as I am London bound on the early train to catch Association Football at the Emirates.
A long and busy day is in the making. I always think I might nap on the early train but in reality, I know I will read the papers.11am for cocktails at the Emirates is gruelling but one must make do as best as one can. The company will be excellent and the game promises to be close. Grab what floats by on the tide dear friends.
The late afternoon train back to Pershore and then an evening with friends at a charity event – Marvelous stuff.
What a great day of sport too. Ayr offers a tasty card including the Scottish Grand National, the Scottish Champion Hurdle and a further Grade 2 novice affair. Newbury host three Group races including the Greenham where Bronterre gets the chance to boost the already red hot Dewhurst form. Then there is an interesting sprint race in Naas.
Apologies for the tardiness in updating the bet records again. The reason I only kept them for five months before stopping them last year was simply the hassle. I promise to get them up to date again though soon. People do want to know whether they are reading the considered advice of an expert or the babbling noise that falls from the mouth of a madman. I can assure it is the latter.
I find criticism of tipsters small minded. Not surprising since I am an amateur tipster who gets his fair share of grief. The subject is a popular rant of mine but as an individual, you have a sacred right that no-one can take, the independence of your own thought. Therefore, what you choose to do with any information is your decision alone. I have no right to your thanks either if you choose to bakc a horse with your own money that I like. What I write is free, in the public domain for one and all. Friend, foe, the deserving and the cad.
There is another reason, I find the criticism of an amateur tipster odd and that is the decline of the good loser. If you have never watched ‘The Sting’ then you are not welcome here. During the early scenes, the lead character grifts a small fortune and blows it on a crooked roulette table. As his girl for the night rants and screams and the dealer throws him an extra dig (a bit rich since he cooked the table), he simply tilts his hat, grimaces and moves on with his life.
After the Majors revolution, licences will be issued allowing people access to bookmakers premises and online betting accounts. To qualify, you must demonstrate your ability to take defeat gracefully. If you can afford to bet, it is the minimum you owe.
Today the Major gambles the same as he always does… A touch of inspiration, a deal of perspiration and a smattering of procrastination. I shall stick to the formula. Sometimes innovation is required, a surprise change of methodology to surprise the enemy.
When the Suez Canal was under threat from revolt in nineteenth century Egypt, Wolseley led a daring night march. His goal was to attack regular Egyptian infantry who were well dug in at Tel el-Kebir. He took Highlanders and Indian Infantry, meeting the enemy at dawn with bayonets fixed. The British were just a stones throw from the Egyptian defences before their alarm was raised and so ferocious was the assault that the enemy largely fled. Wolseley was a detached and clinical sort who chased down his foe.
Several thousand Egyptians died, by contrast, Wolseley had just 60 odd that failed to answer the roll call. The decisive win paved the way for the British to march on Cairo. The ensuing carnage of the defeated enemy clogging the Cairo road meant that little meaningful resistance was put up. We reinstalled the Khedive and the valuable Suez Canal which had reduced by more than a half the sea trip to India was secure.
To the sports. Daub thy war paint….
Scottish Grand National Tips – 3.25 Ayr
With 25 runners, bookmakers offering five places are putting up a decent concession. Bet365, Betvictor, Paddy Power, Boylesports and Stan James… well done.
Hmmmmmm, a damn hard handicap. By far the most interesting horse in this race is Walkon. Make no mistake, Walkon was a top class juvenile and when he won his chase debut after a lengthy absence, at the start of this season, the world looked like it was laid out entirely for his own satisfaction. Things have not gone to plan since then but an entry in the Scottish National? The horse could be accused of being one-paced at times. This step up to a marathon distance may trigger a sparkling performance from a horse well handicapped or it is an act of desperation…. 25/1 is a fair price to find out.
Merigo looks an each way steal having been prepped for this race all season.
The other two of significant interest are Galaxy Rock who has two things the Major likes about his chances. Firstly, bar a rallying Neptune Collonges, Sunnyhillboy almost landed the Grand National last week and Galaxy Rock would have then been the yards stab at the National double. Secondly, the horse ran a blinder earlier in the season at Cheltenham and on face value that form has him very well in.
The final horse on the shortlist is Portrait King. The Eider winner has been showing much more class now upped to marathon distances. That said, I am wary of backing a novice, no matter how good his chances look. It is a tough one to ignore though, his 9lb raise looks very light considering how gamely he rallied after smacking three out.
All of my selections and most of the field will be fine on the good ground. On balance, all four have a good chance.
I would not my cap too towards Mostly Bob who if putting in a big round of jumping, which is a considerable if… would be there at the finish.
However, the Major has gone for a 50/1 outsider that would be a shock winner. Petitfour out of the Twiston-Davies team (won the race with Hello Bud four years ago). I think a marathon trip will suit and ground won’t be a problem. The horse has had his problems and has not been in the winners enclosure for several years but I do not think it is a forlorn hope…. Have a slice with Betvictor who go the five places.
Scottish Champion Hurdle Tips
Champion Hurdle in name, limited handicap in nature.
Providing a Scottish Grand National Tip requires you to immerse yourself in a sea of information, finding the winner of the Scottish Champion Hurdle is much much easier.
Edgardo Sol. 9/4 Betvictor again. This horse has found his form in sparkling style this spring with a fine second in the county hurdle being followed up with a breathless Aintree win. As long as this does not come too soon, I would be quite surprised if he did not go in again.
2.15 Grade 2 Novice Chase
Pacha Du Polder is only five and looks a sure improver but the Major opts for Rival D’Estruval.
My selection has shown decent form and my only concern is that this trip might be a little on the short side.
Tips for Newbury Group Races
3.10 Newbury – Greenham Stakes Tips
As opposed to the good ground north of the border, expected conditions at Newbury are soft.
Trumpet Major gave the Dewhurst form a further boost when rocketing home at Newmarket this week. Ektiham had already franked that race and so Bronterre looks the form pick here. The Major’s observations are hardly revolutionary though as he is 8/11 generally.
Caspar Netscher is hugely experienced for a horse just starting his classic year. Very well thought of and highly tried, I think his best form ties in. Although untried, I think he will be fine with conditions.
Rebellious Guest is amongst the early crop of Cockney Trucker colts to hit the course. I think he could be good.
On balance, I think the Greenham will go to Caspar Netscher at 3/1.
2.35 Newbury – Fred Darling
The girls have a go in the Group 3 at 2.35pm.
Best Terms looks a very promising sort but the Major is going to dutch two in Brick Tops and Electrelane. Both have shown promising maiden wins, both have won on soft, both are well-bred. Electrelene is my tip for the record, although seemingly Ralph Becketts (won this race twice in last ten years) second string, I am a big fan of Neil Callan and 12s is decent.
Tips for the 3.40 Naas 5f Listed Contest
The listed sprint in Ireland can go to 7/2 shot The Reaper. Ground and trip are not going to be a problem, clearly Spirit Quartz is the principle danger as the British raider.
To the football….
Chelsea have not been scintillating of late but have mustered a hardness and togetherness that is grinding out results. In their big week, I think 3/1 that their form continues is massive, take a hefty slice.
Sunderland have been a little off colour but can prise three points from Villa Park at 12/5. O’Neill won’t tolerate a switching off and will demand the best result possible. Many Villa fans I know are worried about the clubs ability to win any remaining fixture, that gloom could become serious tomorrow.
Newcastle to beat Stoke at 7/10… load the money printer. Back Cisse too.
May your dinner be in a popular place in a group, choice of wine, good fish perhaps. I hope you are in fine company. The quieter sort who is limitlessly likeable. Even when you fall in love everyday, as the Major does, for moments it can be deep. Meaningful and fleeting. Tip well and breathe it in.
Courage, roll those dice.