Good evening from the Major who writes from a Nottinghamshire night where the air lies heavy, smoky chimneys adding to the moist cool spore heavy air, we are deep in the mossy autumn and as doors are shut to the cooling winds, the Major feels alive with the possibilities of the early National Hunt season.
Posting on a Thursday night Major? Well yes. My mind wanders as it will and I am enjoying getting back into the swing of surgically opening my scalp, drilling through the skull to release the pressure as they used to will ill minded folk.
Also, I was asked and I am a sucker for a request.
The issue is, I was asked for a cursory review of the Newcastle card while there is a decent Warwick card, a perfectly acceptable Fontwell one, some less palatable stuff at Hexham (a track at which I am cursed, beyond the help of Brian Hughes) but a darn reasonable Down Royal effort for a Friday. Of course, that is because Saturday brings JN Wine Champion Chase day, or as it should be called and will be forever associated with us National Hunt sorts, the Kauto Star Seasonal Opener Chase.
I lit the fire tonight, a cool beer is on hand and some peace is threatening to break out. The fire lighting was touch and go. I have a large stack of logs delivered for the winter but in my new abode, foolishly, I arranged that before identifying how I was to store them. As such, an ugly tarpaulin does it’s poor best to keep the water out but is marginally effective.
On top of a slight dampness, I had no kindling. Not normally a problem as my sharp axe can go to work splitting some logs and I could make my own. That is, if I could find the axe. So, with a hammer and some sort of sharp bludgeoning driver that rests in the bottom of my tool case for ugly work, I set about paring bark from the wood and then used my own patented twisted paper and kindling start. At first it was not hopeful, the first reluctant deep orange flames produced a smoke slowly that rather than rising, coolly pools in the hearth. Soon though, with a little gentle encouragement, the flame reared and natures destructive will was irresistible again. The Major’s bottle of red, now glints enticing a pleasing orange flame, dancing on the neck.
To the sports.
Newcastle Tips on a Friday
I have had a blinding betting week. I after-timed a tweet with four from four winners which netted me £350 from a £15 play but that followed greater wins, spoils dripping from the bookmakers satchel.
As the investment adverts will tell you. The value derived from your investments may go down as well as up. What is more, I have done something rather benign and sensible for me. I have withdrawn the bag of sand and paid for Christmas. I know what you are thinking, what an arsehole. Guilty.
Anyway, I will look across the Newcastle card. Then I will get to the more serious business. I do not mean that as a criticism of taking a day at Newcastle. I am sure that @Shepster4945 and his entourage will have a fulfilling day and each experience, there lies merit to be found.
There are a few races on the card that fit the bill of unsolvable. The first is not far off. In the face of no real certainties, I feel a little tickle on Linganno Felice at 12/1 because he has McDonald up top who I don’t mind and frankly, I’m struggling to find good reasons to back any.
The second is a poor affair and way to bad to have an overnight 4/6 favourite that has not won a race and whose debut performance is starting to look seriously over-rated.
Huddersfilly Town has been backed in from 12s to 6s and while the yard are not renowned for winners, especially the juvenile sort, money does talk. How much money it requires to move a horse in such a race is debatable but this must be some sign of faith.
I am going to play Oberyn though, who has found a weak race for debut. There are winners in the family and some 9/2 is available if you shop around.
In the third, maybe the application of blinkers to Lilvanita might make the difference. If there is money, I’d be very wary of this Ellison horse. The massive odds on favourite would be entitled to win one earliest form but again, the evidence that this will be produced tomorrow is thin. Sod it, I’m going to take the big prices about Lilvanita and hope the money falls like rain. 9/1 available.
In the 5.20, I want to be on the right side of Rosy Ryan who deserves to come on lots for the reappearance after injury. If bouncing back to last summers form, 6/1 would be a fine price. The support for the mare this evening looks telling too, all aboard.
I am jumping a race and opting for the Fahey raider Miss Van Gogh at 7/1 (William Hill) in the 6.20. Dutch Art horses can be a bit hit and miss on the all-weather and that is a concern as we have not seen this one on an artificial surface yet but that is very much priced into 7/1 and I would have a generous slice.
Those are my five for Newcastle. It was hard work finding them and I am going to back them with the fervour of a comatose sloth.
The Milan bred Monbeg Notorious looks an excellent bet in the first at Down Royal at 11/10. It doesn’t sound like much fun but I think the Noel Meade horse and the other Elliot horse are there just keeping the price honest. Some markets are already odds on and I predict, it will run off at 4/6. Walsh to steer, go collect. You might critique my short price selection but consider that it takes nerve to tip it too, I am staking my reputation that 11/10 is too big.
I am sticking with Gigginstown and Elliot with Shattered Love in the second at 9/4. The Mullins sure thing is stepping up again and if anything, I’m only tempted away by the de Bromhead 25/1 Little Folke who has shown fighting qualities. We get a bit carried away with the sauntering cantering half a furlong winners, thinking each one will grace Cheltenham with a win in March and forget that our sport equally belongs in the equine mind, some are tougher than others and 25/1 is a bit dismissive. Shattered Love it is but I will have a saver.
Of course Apples Jade wins! Not much fun in 1/3, let alone the 1/5 it will set off at!
In the 3pm, I would much rather be on the seemingly second Gigginstown string, Be My Hero at 4/1. Granted A Toi Phil has shown some classy form but it needs the summer off to have restored that because (although it was the top-level), his festival efforts were poor. My pick has the breeding of a NH sort.
Nina Carberry in the bumper, Joey Salsa, 2/1.
Courage, roll the dice.