Tag Archives: arbor supreme

Sunday Racing Tips from Punchestown for the Tied Cottage Card

Good morning from the Major who writes from a decidedly cold Worcestershire scene with an overcast sky and damp floor.

Yesterday was not the Black Saturday of last week but neither was it redemption.  The Major remains firmly on the cold list and there is only one thing to do…. punt my way out.

I thought it was an odd day of racing.  McCoy seemingly had an excellent book of rides but failed to sparkle on many.  Captain Conan was all but beat before rallying and taking advantage of Third Intention tying up.  Perhaps it was the glue like conditions that saw so few horses running to their best…

Sunday sees a great day of racing at Mussleburgh and Punchestown and I shall once more daub my face in war paint.

Punchestown Card – Tied Cottage

The opener revolves around the Mullins French import Upazo who has been beaten at prohibitive odds twice already but has shown ability in both defeats.  Jennies Jewel from the latter defeat has confirmed the form to be solid going down in a reasonable manner to Glenns Melody next time up.

So Upazo is good if not spectacular so the key question is whether anything is hiding amongst this list of maidens…

Byerley Babe is the key threat – the Thurles bumper he won does not seem to be up to much but the style was impressive.

In the each way prices, I like Follow the Sign the most but feel it is best watched today.  On balance I am going to back Upazo at 5/4.

The second, 1.20pm,  is a fantastic novice affair, the Moscow Flyer Grade 2.

Don Cossack is trying to restore a once lofty reputation.  Along with Starky, Ned Buntline and Mozoltov, he will enjoy the mud he faces here.  Don Cossack fell when chasing Pont Alexandre last time and while he was never threatening the leader, bear in mind two things.  He never travelled that day suggesting something was slightly amiss and secondly, Pont Alexandre is prominent in the novice staying markets at Cheltenham suggesting that it is no mug.  You can read  the trainer Gordon Elliots thoughts here.

Back in this company and freshened up he is a big threat.  Remember he gave a good beating to Sizing Gold in a bumper and while that horse has also had a beating from Pont Alexandre, it represents a strong formline.

Mozoltov also has some form tied up with the premier horses, including being placed behind Champagne Fever.  Mullins has won this race twice in the last five years with Gagewell Flyer and Mikael D’Haguenet.  The latter was always highly regarded, the former less so.

It is hard to read Ned Buntlines form having being disappointing on his penultimate run but shaping much better winning last time.  That race has a weakish look to it but you can only beat them well.

This is a race that is hard to read.  On balance I am going with Mozoltov.  As much as Don Cossack boasts the highest reputation, Mullins is in sparkling form and I am backing him to make it three wins from six runnings of the Moscow Flyer.  Incidentally if you need a bit of cheering up as I do, have a watch of the 2007 Tingle Creek in which Azertyuiop and Well Chief fail to peg back the most awesome of two milers.

The third is a Pertemps qualifier and Colbert Station is an obvious call on recent form, beating a big field in his latest assignment.  His earlier runs behind Roi du Mee are strong too.  His chase mark is two stone bigger than this hurdle mark so the chances are clear.  Technically his record on heavy is dubious but many of those runs were credible.

Sizing Europe looks to have another penalty kick in the fourth.

The Cross Country is a bit of a specialist event for both the horses and the punters!  While Bostons Angel looks the most talented horse in the line up, I am never confident about backing with confidence a cross country horse.  If I feel like an interest I will go with the equally obvious call of Arabella Boy, 7/2, who represents Enda Bolger, the specialist yard for these contests.

In the 3.20, I am opting for Corals 16/1 about Beeverstown.  There are more obvious calls for Lambro and I also like Quiscover Fontaine who while tackling a distance too short for him is the most proven of these in the mud.  My tip though has shown some good novice ability and I think his jumping will stand up to this. He comes with a health warning as he often fails to complete and even unseated at the start last time out.

In the 3.50, spare a thought for Vesper Bell who has to shoulder a stone and a half more than the rest of the field.  I am not a fan of Arbor Supreme who these trips on this ground must be a real labour at the age of 11.  On balance, while having to shoulder a big burden over a staying trip, Vesper Bell gets my vote on class.

I am opting for The Ramblin Kid in the bumper, Nina will get us out of trouble!

Good luck to us all.

Grand National Countdown – Tonight The Major Tackles The Big One – The Grand National Preview

The Grand National meeting is upon us and the Major plans on tackling the big Aintree races this week. 

I have started with the trickiest of the tricky, the Grand National.  40 runners, an absurd distance, the Grand National is not only one of the hardest races to win, it is also one of the hardest to solve too.

The carnage, the noise of hoof, clods of earth, steam, madness and heaven

Before we even consider the runners though, it must be said that the Grand National is one of the most famous world races and one which attracts the most casual horse racing fans each year. 

This year the Major is attending with a merry group of men seeking fun, riches and wondrous sport.

For many, the National is the only time in a year where they might have a bet on horseracing.  It has a magic.  Everyone remembers their first national winner.  Your mother picking a name that she likes, £2 win bets, cramped bookmakers with queues of people each uncertain of what they are doing…  It is the time of tourists pouring into our sport for the weekend and they are all welcome as we were all tourists ourselves once.  Ah, the innocent time when I had no idea what ‘on the bridle’ or ‘lost his irons’ meant, I had more money then.

Many go a lifetime without picking a national winner.   The Major got off the mark with Comply or Die three years ago and it was nice to get that burden out of the way.

2011 – Can the Major find it again?

First of all, it is well advertised in racing betting circles that there is an awfully strong trend to identifying the National winner. 

You are generally looking for a 8-10 year old, who has won at least once beyond 3 miles, ideally has taken on the National fences before, is weighted under 11 and a half stone but still has a mark of 135+ – It is rare that the winner does not have this make up.  One of the Majors key resolutions is to question before accepting any trend.  These make sense.  You need an experienced horse, too young is no good, equally this is a real test so the legs cannot be too old.  Shouldering big weight is all the more difficult over this distance yet you need a horse with a touch of class and ideally one that has seen the fences before… all of these trends make sense. 

There are three that fit the key profile.  First a word for some that don’t.  I like Silver by Nature a lot, I advised the Birmingham crew to get on at 16/1 and it has been trimmed as a result of the recent rain.  With the rest of the week looking shiny and breezy, it definitely won’t get ideal ground, which is set to dry, which is a shame as I feel it had a good chance with cut.  Needs the good lords meteorological intervention.

The Midnight Club is a worthy favourite and looks a class animal – The Major tipped him up in Ireland on his second reappearance run at Fairyhouse.    I think the handicapper would have responded assertively to the Fairyhouse win in February.  His jumping will be tested to the full over the Aintree obstacles.  Of interest but well weighted?

Northern Alliance is an interesting runner.  First of all, any Tony Martin runner in a handicap is worth a second check.  This one more than most.  Top jock Geraghty is booked, I am sure there were other runners he could have been on.  Plus the Galway Plate result of a couple of last summer looked good.  Since then he has been pretty poor but incredibly has been campaigned over shorter distances when surely 3m+ looks more likely, possibly he doesn’t stay and connections know it, possibly, they have been protecting a decent mark for a stayer… fishy by the Majors reckoning.

The three that fit the Majors key trends – Big Fella Thanks, Niche Market and Arbor Supreme. 

I just do not think Big Fella Thanks will stay.  OK he was 4th last year and 6th the year before but what has changed to suggest a significant improvement – Place possibilities not the winner.

Niche Market has always had a touch of class and has won some decent prize money.  Now with Nicholls, last year the horse pulled up on the final circuit.  With a chance.

Arbor Supreme.  This one is of significant interest.  I waited to make this post purely to see if he got in.  With a number of withdrawals he got in today which is great news for the Major.  This Mullins horse looks very feasibly weighted with The Midnight Club on their last runnings (receives 10lbs for a length defeat) and at well over twice the price, I like it.  It fits all of the key trends.  D J Casey has the ride.  Last year he unseated but watching it, he was charged into and given no chance.  I have a note of concern that he has largely been campaigned on soft / heavy but he has won on good in the past. 

In Summary, take a slice of Arbor Supreme.  If the rain comes, have Silver by Nature.  Consider a saver on Northern Alliance. 

Failing that, pick a name or a set of silks that you like!