Good Evening from a rural Worcestershire where the lukewarm and damp day hastily retreats to the advancing coolness of the night.
One follower has been adding some detailed comments to the Cheltenham Antepost pages. I recommend a read of the comments left at the bottom of this page by Mr Freer…. rather insightful, much more than the Major’s recent contributions, in fact…
Why are you here? Seeking tips? Are you feeling OK? It is only fair that, if you have stumbled here for the first time, that you are warned of recent fortunes. Mala tempora currunt.
Last weekend the Major experienced a Black Saturday. I managed to get two odds on shots beaten in The New One and Irish Saint as well as coming down on the wrong side in the Reve de Sivola v Oscar Whisky battle and generally blundering, in person, around Cheltenham racecourse like some wounded blinded beast, wailing and waving fistfuls of notes randomly in some vain failed attempt to find something meaningful to ease the pain.
Instead losses rolled on relentlessly, remorselessly… trundling on, irrespective of any remedial actions, I was merely the incidental cost, the beast cares not.
I hope you avoided the clutches. Sadly 400 innocent civilians read those tips I posted last week, let us pray that each attained salvation by abstention.
Yet also remember that failure teaches us more than victory. In the throes of splendour we seldom seek the truth. It is more likely that we accept our spoils without questioning the logic of whether they were earned or garnered through wind of fortune.
Yet losses invoke a different emotion, one that demands self-examination. For example, why did you ignore the fact that AP McCoy was slimming down for the ride on Mr Watson? Why indeed….
So, some good comes from the loss, as Milton would say, a silver lining to our sable cloud. Losses keep us sharp, they are our gambling friends.
What, I hear you cry, that’s just something failed tipsters say… You are probably right. Yet, you are also here, drawn back to the light, hungry for the elixir, joining me to find the mothership. Do you lack logic or do you have an abundance of loyalty? I hope it is the latter, have faith that we will be rewarded. Adeste Fideles.
To the sports, and let us be rewarded today – We need victories in these battles to pad our Cheltenham War Chests. We have taken the Queens salt, we will suppress the mutiny… miles gloriosus
2.05 Ffos Las – Welsh Champion Hurdle
The Welsh version of the Champion Hurdle is a limited handicap over two and a half miles and so bears little resemblance to the Cheltenham show-piece in just six weeks time.
Oscara Dara arrives looking a danger to all having won the Lanzarote last time out for Henderson. Off top weight, this will take some getting but the calamitous hurdling at the last at Kempton suggested that a mere stone raise in the weights might be no problem with a clean round of jumping. There to be shot at.
Balder Succes has excuses for some of his runs and has potentially more to give. Yet I am not certain heavy ground will bring out the best in this one.
Double Ross is arguably in the handicappers grip now but if you overlook the last run over a trip that was too short, then his earlier form was impressive. An each way consideration now back up in trip.
The Major though is going to tip Tanerko Emery for the Welsh Champion Hurdle. He handled a hefty burden when winning across the Irish Sea over two miles. That day he gave the impression that further was needed and he gets the extra distance here. He is two from two on heavy ground and the ownership needs noting too. Dai Walters owns both the horse and the track and you have to think this was the plan all along with Tanerko… have a slice at 7/2, meaty enough to tickle your sense of adventure, tempered enough to acknowledge the danger of Oscara Dara.
3.10 Novice Chase Ffos Las
The early price of 9/4 about Benheir seems a bit of value in this four runner affair. My tip has always run pretty well at Ffos Las and while he failed to impress in a graded race at Warwick, he made a terrible mistake in the early hustle and never recovered, easily forgiven. Curtis and McCoy team up for the owners of Teaforthree, have a slice.
3.20 Wetherby – The Towton Novices
The last twelve runnings of the Towton have gone to short price horses, bar the victory of 14/1 Heltornic in 2007. Ian Williams has won the last two runnings but has no runner today.
This race is wide open and with just seven runners, feels like one the Major can crack.
Super Duty has one of the most impressive pieces of form with a second to the Arkle dominator Simonsig. He is in good hands.
Fourjacks is taking a sizable step up in trip and grade and is highly interesting. Brian Harding has an excellent record for the yard too.
Houblon des Obleaux is an unlikely runner.
Goulanes though looks the fly in the ointment for all. This horse is crying out for proper fences to jump but has made a decent hurdler none the less. Decent points experience and a flat course on proper chasing ground is likely to be exactly what he needs and he gets the Majors vote at a general 3/1.
Sandown host a card of chases including the Scilly Isles where Captain Conan faces a penalty kick ahead of his main seasonal objectives at Cheltenham.
In the 3.35, Brackloon High is well fancied by Mr Freer but although I see the attraction, I prefer the chances of both Summery Justice and Keppols Hill. The latter will be all the rage sporting the fancy connections but I think his jumping might not stand the test of the track as well in this company. My tip has a slightly shaky profile having been off the track for some time but he is being entered back at a level suggesting that Venetia Williams has high hopes. There is a risk he goes to Ffos Las.
To the football…
Charlton are overpriced at Palace in the South London derby, 7/2 is too big in a game that will be closer than that.
Watford are a shade odds on to beat Bolton at home and I am a buyer. Watford have been my money train team and despite a derailing at Bristol City, I am still all aboard. In the week, Zola rested six first team players including the talisman up front, Vydra… get stuck in.
QPR are also a shade odds on to beat Norwich at home. This is a decent price as Arry starts to work his magic again. Whatever you think about his style of management and propensity to drain resources from overwhelmingly generous owners, he gets a team playing.
Swansea continue to be grossly underestimated. 23/10 to beat West Ham is a big price. I thought Swansea were very unlucky not to take all three points from Sunderland who held on grimly.
The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is: Swansea, Goulanes, Tankerko Emery and Benheir…
May your dinner be glorious, in a small restaurant, run by people who care about the service they give. A small but select menu of delights, clean crisp white table cloths and a river running close by. Ah, I can picture it vividly in my mind.
Courage, roll those dice. memento mori.