Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire I have not seen today. Illness throughout last night had me laid up all day, weak and babbling. Rushes of hot, feet like icebox, I write under sufferance but determined to keep in touch with the magnificent form the Sermons have been in.
We followed up last Saturdays Lincoln double 16/1 winning post with another effort containing a 14/1 and an 8/1 winner.
The latter was courtesy of Sean Bowen who persisted with Southfield Vic long after I had given up hope. What a ride and the horse could deb something decent too, I think he wanted to go faster which caused issues at the obstacles and perhaps the ground was not optimal either, to brush those issues aside in a race all of potential, well, one to keep an eye on.
Overall, an enjoyable day, my brother-in-law was our guest in the evening and this was the key for a sudden descent in proceedings. You might remember that youngest son was hit with a sickness bug on Thursday night, giving me a night nursing him through constant bouts of sickness. Rather predictably, I went down with same, all of a sudden.
The good lady, the brother-in-law and I had just taken receipt of an Indian and Interstellar was ready for us in the Sky Store. I felt tired and a tad sickly. I left them to it, retiring upstairs and within 30 minutes started an all night acquaintance with the bathroom facilities. What is worse is that number one son joined me for the experience just an hour later.
Late in the night, your body exhausted from retching, unable to find warmth after yet another crawl back from the porcelain, my mind was lightly dusting over the detail, sliding down things. Radio 4, from our correspondent, the World Service; such things do not help the condition. Chilean floods in the high plain deserts, I could listen to outlines but not grasp facts.
With number one son showing a brave front, we have lovely conversations between bouts. I told him that I was his canary, explaining the old safety measures that miners employed to test for noxious gas.
Today has been one of recovery. Number one son has been more expedient in his return to fitness, eating from mid morning, I have yet to pass a morsel and am contemplating the ill-advised move to try the King Prawns which have been marinating this last twenty-four hours. No, I do not think I can quite raise it.
Anyway, to the sports and a handful of Easter Monday tips while we are on fire. Do not get used to it, normal service will swiftly be resumed.
Easter Monday Tips
The Irish Grand National – While for many it is the highlight of the Easter Fairyhouse schedule, I much preferred the Grade 1 fayre served up on Sunday.
Still. Some races I tackle because I think I have seen the winner, others I tackle because I think you might expect me to. This race falls into the latter camp, you have been warned. It is a torrid affair to pick through, 33/1 winners are common, we hit 50/1 in 2013 with Liberty Counsel. Every winner went to post with a weigh under ten and a half stone in the last twenty years, with the exception of four. Thus I intend to keep things very simple indeed.
Empire of Dirt makes my short list, he was always a horse I followed, since he was named after a lyric in a rather melancholic Johnny Cash (originally Nine Inch Nails) tune.
In his hurdles races, he has often looked outpaced and fences might suit, especially marathon trips.
If I were to pick a horse on class (not necessarily a correct decision in this race), I think I would opt for Grand Jesture. The Druids Nephew gave him a sound beating at Cheltenham but nonetheless he proved himself an excellent chaser and I think the form will prove strong.
However, class may well not tell. One that has the profile and the price for a punt is The Crafty Butcher at 40/1. His campaign has been mixed but he has not yet shown his hurdles form over the fences. He is yet young enough to do so and he gets my tentative nod.
The only other horse on the Fairyhouse card is the more obvious contender, Dicosimo. He set a good clip in the Triumph under a confident Ruby but faded when beaten. Off strong fractions and with a stiff finish, I can forgive that. My only hesitation is the nature of the campaign. Horses campaigned for Cheltenham often fall short of their best form at this stage of the year and get usurped by those campaigned with April in mind. Still, 6/4, it goes in the multiples. The seeming third choice of the Mullins yard, Whiteout is a standout 10/1 with PaddyPower and I would not put you off that one either.
Other Easter Monday Tips – Huntingdon
3.30pm at Huntingdon and Sea the Springs has the look of a plot handicapper having put in the three compulsory runs to get a mark. There was not a lot of form in those races, hence an opening mark of 105. I have a feeling the 4/1 available tonight will contract.
Nicky Henderson has sent out 18 runners in the last two weeks and nine of them returned to the winners enclosure. While John Constable has many attraction in the 4.40pm at Huntingdon, I think the Seven Barrows runner, Nicholas Chauvin will have his measure, evens.
That is is from the Major. Only four selections but it is all I have the energy for.
Courage, roll the dice.