The Saturday Sermon – Newbury, Doncaster, Kelso and Meydan… Premier League.. All aboard the Cheltenham Express to Profitsville

Good morning from The Major who writes groggy of mind, tired and emotional following a day in good company yesterday.  The Worcestershire morning scene is truly one of Gods finest vistas – Crisp, clean, excellent visibility, a coldness that kisses the skin gently, and a sharp white icing to the dark green evergreen flora and their bonier stick like deciduous friends.

It would be a lovely day to attend a national hunt racecourse, flask charged and small roll of notes tucked in your pocket.  Yet, we have to exercise caution, we are close to the festival now, in touching distance and we all must prepare our forces for that monumental battle.  What weaponry shall we bring to the field to defeat our enemy in ten days time?  Let it be enough.

I enjoyed a moment this week where I felt so certain about a wager, that it felt an unfair advantage, as though I had visited the future.  The bet was Olympiakos which I have spelt with both a ‘c’ and a ‘k’ indiscriminately.  It just seemed so obvious to me that they would win and they were almost 3/1 to do so.  I enjoyed that game with a smug grin.

Fortunately for mankind, my smugness was taken from me by the extremely poor performance of Fascino Rustico at Wincanton the following day.  I was so convinced that this Nicholls runner would win, I had half of my kith and kin invested.  Same feeling, different outcome.

In the case of the latter, I was most taken by the way it came into the race at Exeter previously where it had fallen two or three out, being turned out again, looked an advantage, I mean, this is Nicholls and he knows his string, if he says no damage, let’s go.  On the negative side of the ledger, who really knows what effect a fall has had and he was being asked to lump top weight against some better opposition.

A couple of notes to order.  Firstly, note how the Olympiacos (see what I did there) win had little cross-examination.  I thought something, it happened, I have signed the chitty, filed and receipted it and thrown the key away.  I came, considered, wagered, won and that is it.  Done.  Complis.

Yet, Fascino caused me to go back and re-examine the original paperwork.  How was I so confident, yet so wrong.  In this case I can point to those three factors – The weight in the ground, the improved opposition and the impact of the previous fall.  Something is learned.

Yet, note the difference between how we gamblers treat victory and defeat.  Glorious wins are never questioned.  Let’s say Olympiakos won but were a shade lucky, would I have treated that like defeat?  Would I have examined the thought process that led me to the wager or would I conveniently and quickly shut that down to simply enjoy the win.

The natural urge is only to scrutinise the calculation following a loss but to improve, you need to do it with every bet.  When you win, you want to improve the chances that you won for the right reasons.  Don’t be the broken clock that is correct twice in the day, or the blind squirrel finding the odd nut.  Ask yourself of each win, having witnessed the event, if I were to revisit my calculation would I do the same thing?

The mind is an incredible tool.  We are not in control of it as much as we might like.  We need to train our subconscious to be better at the intuitive appreciations of the factors prior to a wager.  It can be done but it takes years of investments my friends – Learn how to trust those instincts and more crucially when not to.  Sharpen those decision making tools to enable you to distinguish the signature signal from the incredible noise.

A quick joke and then the sports.

An Irish girl, heavily pregnant is involved in a car accident (fear not this ends well).  She is in a coma.  When she comes to, the doctor is present and she immediately notices that she is no longer pregnant.  The doctor puts her mind at immediate ease explaining that they delivered twins, a boy and a girl, while she was unconscious.  ‘Oh my’ she exclaims… ‘well where are they?’, ‘your brother has them’, ‘oh no, not my idiot brother!  What did he call them.  ‘Well’ the doctor replies ‘He called the girl Denise’… ‘Hmmm Denise, that is not so bad… what about the boy?’ ‘Ah’ says the doctor ‘he called that one Danephew!’

Newbury Tips

In the 3.15, Tiqris looks opposable, even though the money coming now makes me a little nervous and it is backed by some excellent trainer confidence.  The thing is, his form last time was nothing special.  I am placing a small bet on Kuda Haraa, whose Huntingdon form has been well advertised – Hobbs is certainly in much better form than King (31% over 11% win ration last fortnight) but I am swung by the generous 15/2 Stan James are giving me on my selection.. small stakes.

The 3.50 Grade 3 has attracted a poor field but this is a race dominated by Ditcheat over the years.  In the last ten runnings, they have won with Pacha du Polder, Aerial, Big Fella Thanks, New Little Bric, Natal and Cornish Sett.  Thus the entries must be taken very seriously indeed.  He has Rebel Rebellion at the top of the weights and at a similar price, my selection, Ulck Du Lin.  I think the former keeps the weights nice for the later.  My horse has the advantage of Noel Fehily in the saddle.  He does not have a tremendous win record but recorded one of those on heavy ground.  Fehily is 3 from 7 runs for Nicholls – I am happy with this one – Shangani is the danger but that Venetia Saturday thing is getting a bit overbet for me.

Doncaster Tips

The Mares hurdle races are ones I enjoy and Doncaster has an interesting clash that seemingly only concerns Layla Joan, Mayfair Music and Toubeera.  I have backed the last named before and respect the Venetia runner but as you can feel from my tone, she is not the one for me today.  No, I am betting Mayfair Music.  I think Toubeera while improving has been made a lot of and is starting to look like her limitations are being reached.  That is less true of the Gordon Elliot raider but Layla Joan has not run on ground this good and that is a concern.  My selection will love it (2 from 3 on good) and Geraghty will bring home the cheese… Load a small cannon, Ladbrokes and Boylesports are 3/1.

The Grimthorpe is a race that one can never be to certain about but an experienced sort lurking on a low weight is the theme in the last few years.  The race has not been run on heavier ground for many years and so in some respects, this profile is a little surprising.  In the last 15 years, the race has been won by 15 different trainers! Not much clue there! Not often that a big price goes in and so, on balance, a small interest in Court by Surprise who has Geraghty in a rare ride for Lavelle.

Tistory still is available at 5/6 with Betvictor for the novice hurdle and will go off with the Majors weighty penalty aboard.

Kelso Tips

I am all about the favourite Clever Cookie in the Kelso Hurdle and at 11/8 am planning an investment.  The form of his races is working out very nicely and the good conditions also suit.  The extra two furlongs will also play into his hands.. Highly confident.

Kruzhlinin has an excellent Kelso record (3 from 3) and looks to have a leading chance in the 4.15.  Mr Moonshine brings some good recent form to the race having won over Christmas and again at Warwick in the New Year.  I am giving another chance to an old friend though in 5/1 (Coral) shot Opening Batsmen.  It has been a year since we saw this horse at his best but if he can return to those performances, he may well have the measure of these two, keep it sensible.

Meydan Single Shot

Yesterday afternoon, I was with a friend and work associate in London.  We spent the latter afternoon hard at work and since his hospitality is always exemplary, I felt a gift in order.  Overnight, I had been interested in the three Carroll runners at Dundalk all booked with the jockey services of Joseph O’Brien.  Well it stood out.

I purchased him an each way trixie but feeling like some confirmation was needed, fired a quick tweet off to Irish racing judge @spinitg – Seanie is unnervingly accurate in his assessment of Irish racing and if you have a twitter account, follow him, else you are doing it wrong.

Anyway, what has this got to do with Meydan?  Firstly he corrected my opening Carroll runner and recommended the winner as an alternate.  He confirmed his liking for the last of the three legs I had placed, Waving, which turned out to be the only winner.  This was all too late for my associate who now has a thin slip of useless paper to show for my gratitude for his hospitality.  It did however give me time to amass a SOB bet (read Steve Palmer or work it out) on Waving who won as you like.

All this matters because he likes Simenon in the 5.10 at Meydan and that is enough for me.

In the football…  Wolves (-1) at odds against is an excellent bet in my view.  I am also considering going against the tide and betting Newcastle.  You could see what it meant to their players when securing a late goal to take the points from Villa and 21/10 is big for them to win at Hull.

The Martin Hill bet is a double, on the rocks… Mayfair Music and Clever Cookie… Shabash

I hope your dinner is a gently spiced persian delight with the full richness of that cuisine playing out on your palette.  May the company be generous and the bill weighty but settled with a smile as you both appreciate the experience and it will barely bite into the spoils of the day.

Do you know that eating out regularly is one of the things that will make you live longer?  Quite true my friends, so do not wait for permission, have a table ready for this evening.

Courage, roll the dice.

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