Tag Archives: aupcharlie

The Saturday Sermon – Punchestown Tips, Sandown Tips – Suarez biting incident.. Football

Good morning from the Major who writes from bed in some discomfort.  On a rare but regular basis, the Major tweaks muscles in the base of my back leaving me a hobbling and complaining wretch.  I am not a good patient.

A week of bans in sport with Al Zarooni picking up a proper disqualification which spells the end of his training career – Good.  Suarez picked up a substantial ban too which had the wallahs of Liverpool wringing their hands and exclaiming the unfairness of it all.

The Major is pleased that a tough stance was taken on this incident.  Liverpool, in their reaction to it, are demonstrating that they learned little from the Suarez / Evra situation.  The Managing Director, the man the entire club takes a lead from in terms of behaviour and culture, suggests that the punishment targets the individual not the crime.  Other cultural leaders of the club show the balance between an organisation who want to protect a valuable asset and those that understand the disrepute he is dragging the club through… again.

Rodgers: Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behavior is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this – Wow, if I bit someone at work, my own company would not take the time to explain that this is ‘unacceptable’, that would be taken as read, I would be punished (fired).

Souness: …the board have to see it that way because they’re risking everything this great football club stands for 

To feel for balance in the argument it is worth considering the alternate arguments which seem to be as follows.

Is Suarez being targeted because of a history and thus, 8 weeks is too harsh a punishment?  Biting is a very dishonourable aspect to sport that disgusts many people.  In his first biting incident, Suarez was banned for 7 weeks.  In Rugby last year, Dylan Hartley took an 8 week ban for biting a finger of an Irish opponent.  Thus, 10 weeks (7 for the incident itself, 3 for violent conduct) seems fair for a second offence.  

If the club and player felt it was unduly harsh, they could appeal and run the risk of it being increased.  Their decision not to, speaks to me some what of the advice they will have received behind the scenes and their real view behind the hyperbole.  It is worth remembering that the panel who set the tariff is independent of the FA.

The Liverpool statement suggests that the tariff is unfair (which I believe to be posturing) because it is not consistent with other punishments.  One of the issues the FA need to address is retrospective action applying to players who are cautioned in a game but later found to have committed a more heinous crime.  This is what happened to Defoe, an equally low act, while unfortunate he did not serve justice it does not mean that we should not deal properly with Suarez who was not cautioned in the game.

Suarez is going to receive the full support of Liverpool.  A player whose record is so chequered, whose reputation so low, receives the full support of the club again.

Sadly the message I receive is: The values of Liverpool < The talent of Suarez – A sorry state of affairs for one of our football institutions.

If I had the time I would explore how the brand damage done by these instances will mean the club play in the long run.   I would highlight the personal values people associate with their sporting support.  Instead, we shall head to the tips…

We scored a reasonable return at Punchestown yesterday.  The fly did the business in the style you would like from a 1/4 winner.  Un Atout battled hard for victory with Pont Alexandre withdrawn.  The instruction to load the cannons on Un De Sceaux paid dividends and overall, it was not a bad day at all.

Punchestown Tips

If you are heading to Punchestown, I hope you have a marvellous time.  @limerickjfk shall be on track and I wish you and your compadres the very best of luck.

The opening Irish Field Chase could go to Shakervilz at 4/1.  He was a runner up in the Cross Country at the Cheltenham festival, that form was well franked this week.  Heavy ground should be no problem to him.  Have a small slice.

In the second, I think you need some medical attention if you back Mikael D’Haguenet.  Clearly there is enough talent to take this, after all he beat subsequent RSA chase winner Lord Windemere this season.  Yet, he throws some horrendous runs in on a regular basis.  Aupcharlie has hardly looked impressive at this end of the season either and so a chance is taken on Grey Gold at 8/1 – I am sure they are not tilting at windmills stepping the Carlisle winner up so far in class.

In the third, On His Own jumped 24 of the national fences before falling at Valentines second time around.  I did not watch the race as per my previous views on it but I understand from racing notes, he was fading at the time.  I think the ground is much more to his liking here (unbeaten on worse than soft) but it is a big ask after his exertions earlier this month.

I think you have to take Wyck Hill‘s last run at Kempton with a pinch of salt given his track record on softer ground.  At 5/1, I suggest a small slice.  Liberty Counsel is also too big at 16/1 and the Irish National winner can run into a place at least so have a small saver.

Tarla looks a shoe-in at 4/6 in the fourth.  One for multiples.  She has good chase form but was very game reverting to the smaller obstacles last time.  Largely Ruby has got the stable calls right this week and so his selection of the horse over Glenns Melody carries significance.

The Champion 4yo Hurdle at 5pm is all the weaker for the absence of the uber-exciting Our Conor.  Of all of the Cheltenham winners, his Triumph success was breathtaking and surely signals a significant career ahead.  Mullins saddles four of the six runners and of them, Diakali is a shade odds on to win.  Although I am a bit nervous at the price, he does look the most likely winner.  Dogora could be an excellent cast off from Closutton for David Casey as I think back on heavy, we might see much more horse.

Gigginstown have seven darts to throw in the 5.35 handicap.  While only a certain amount of work can be done in such races, I am suggesting an investment at 17/2 in Fahamore who has a number of attractive points.  He looks well handicapped having battled out a finish (lost) with Acapulco, when having to give best part of a stone.  Since that foe went in earlier in the week, it has to rate as good form.  Heavy ground holds no problems (6 runs, 3 wins, 2 places) – What’s not to like? He only has 24 others to defeat!

That is it from Punchestown for me, I am not playing in the bumper or the charity race.

Sandown Tip – Celebration Chase

This race more than any marks the end of the National Hunt adventure.  Last year, Sanctuaire blitzed the field.  He looks a horse whose mind has been destroyed by the Aeroplane and I wonder if he will run a big race again – It sort of reminds me of this.  He is favourite here though and has shown enough in the past to justify it… if (and a big if in my mind) he can return to his former self.

Finians Rainbow is a horse the Major likes.  I was really taken by his Champion Chase win last year (people forget so easily), he really fought hard going past the bypassed fence tussling with Sizing Europe.  This season has been a disappointment having never properly recovered from a spell on the sidelines.  Good ground holds no fears.

One who will relish good ground and is overpriced is Tataniano who is six from six on good ground.  That alone is probably not enough to make him a win bet but at 33/1 I would put noone off having a slice in case a return to top form (won off 160) is in order on better ground.

Sod it… Finians Rainbow is the best of these and I am backing Henderson to have worked some magic.  Have a decent slice of the 9/2.

Football – Regular readers will know that Watford are the team I have been classing as the money train for some time and they duly delivered for me last night at Leicester at 3/1.  I am reinvesting those funds in some teams I like.  I think Stoke will be keen to finish strongly and can see off Norwich at home.  Southampton have the guns to beat West Brom who have had a poor end of season.  I also think that Newcastle at 11/5 are a big price to see off Liverpool.  For all of the troubles listed above, I think an unsettled Liverpool performance might be one of the outputs of the whole affair.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Shakervilz, Finians Rainbow, Stoke and Diakali.

I trust your dinner is expensive and held in fine company.  Allow a generous tip and be awake at the wrong side of midnight.  It is good to be alive.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Tips from Naas, a brief look at Kempton, some football and your belief

Good morning from the Major who writes from a wintry Worcestershire.  The slab of dirty snow sits on the ground like a single plane.  It is a transitional state, roofing is partly covered, there is less of it than I imagined, this is not satisfying

The fire I set last night is merely ash this morning.  Today, this will roar again, sausages in the pan, all is well.  The Major has been overall in decent form, there was a horrific post this week which managed to get some very short price favourites beaten but the overall ledger is positive and I know you all well, a forgiving bunch.

We have enjoyed some good days recently, I am not sure today will be one, with so much off, caution is advised.

I do have a 33/1 ante-post Cheltenham Festival tip for your delectable review, let us see if we can make some profits with which you might back such a prospect.  I will get round to writing up a few festival posts, soon I promise.

Fans of jump racing will, like I, be disappointed with the abandonment of Haydock, Ascot and Taunton.  All of these tracks were to host good racing, including Sprinter Sacre at Ascot and Hunt Ball at Taunton.  I feel sorry for Taunton in particular who were putting on a terrific day of racing for a small track.

Thank the good lord above for Naas which is on.  The Irish track might be heavy but races and we get to have another look at Aupcharlie who I am very excited about.

Right now, all of our beliefs are intact.  Belief, that which is made of the facts as you perceive them and the story you tell about them.  You may see that the sun rises every day, science has also given you an explanation for why this happens.  Both of these ‘fact’ sources compliment each other and from it, you discern a conclusive story that the sun will rise tomorrow.  Let’s hope you are right, otherwise I will never know if my ante post position on Taquin Du Seuil was sensible or not.

The order of these events is important though.  Which comes first, fact or story?  May I suggest an answer….  you need to accumulate the facts while leaving your partisan view to the side.  This allows you to draw your own landscape and often leads to you swim against the punting tide, which can be a very profitable place to be.

The danger of the alternative is that you create your story and bend the facts to suit.  If you forma  prediction too early, then you discard contradictory fact and only seize on those that compliment your chosen outcome.

A crucial part of your punting philosophy should also be ‘fact selection’.  For example, trends analysis.  The Major cringes when he often sees long term football trends quoted as a guide to present day success.  Ask yourself how relevant it is to look at historical team performance at a particular ground.  For example, if Team Y have not won at Team X for 15 years, of what concern is that today?

Select your facts, leave your predilections behind, analyse the data and then create your story.  Find a new angle that others are not discussing, then you may reap rich harvests.

To the sports.

Naas Tips – The Maiden (1pm)

Naas is heavy…. very very very heavy.  It has passed inspection but it is going to be a muddy carnage.  I love extreme conditions, not for the test itself (it goes without saying that we all want the animals and riders to come back safe), but because it gives us an angle of certainty.  We know that we need horses that act on it and this means we can draw a line through a lot of runners.

In the opener, Morning Assembly arrives with a very good set of credentials having finished runner-up to Sizing Gold.  The bumper form stacks up too.  It is the likely winner but 8/11 is a bit short in a big field of maidens.  Expanding Universe is the tip although I will not be getting lumpy about it.  After showing some very decent bumper form, the tentative selection ran poorly on hurdles debut but I am willing to assume that the ability has not evaporated and 8/1 is a fair price to get involved again, each way today.

As a footnote, Glen Gyle is 161 on Betfair.  It is a monstrous price and he came out much more likely on my reading of the race.  OK, he has a lot of explaining to do for a string of dreadful efforts but it is the first time back on heavy which were the conditions faced when he won his Hexham race.  A true point to pointer, perhaps all is not lost on this one.  Have a small saver.

1.35pm Grade 3 Hurdle

The graded hurdle race allows us another look at Solwhit, the old foe of Hurricane Fly.  The reappearance run was very respectable and only the apple of the Majors eye, Bog Warrior, was too good for this Grade 1 winner.

Win that run under his belt, perhaps he should take this convincingly (4/7).  I am minded that he will, given that the danger (So Young)    The form of the last Grade 2 second is pretty good having finished with Monksland in his sights and if Solwhit does crack, then I am sure So Young will exploit it.  The Mullins yard are in terrific form.

2.10 – Naas – Grade 2 Novice Chase

If there is one thing I took from the defeat of Aupcharlie to Back in Focus, it was that the best horse did not win on the day.  In the Leopardstown clash, Aupcharlie seemed to travel better of the two in the last half mile and I think it was a peck on landing, experience and being asked for maximum effort a bit late (after being ushered to the front too soon in my opinion) that caused the slight defeat, rather than the slight victory.

That day, Aupcharlie was a big entry in my notebook, even though the Major had tipped and backed his victor.

In such fine margins, it is interesting to look at the market interpretation of events.  Back in Focus is 8/1 – 14/1 for a number of Cheltenham engagements, Aupcharlie is 20/1 for the RSA.

Given that I think that is a reasonable RSA assessment, he really should easily be good enough for this… not a punting mans price but 1/2 is good enough for my multiples.

2.45pm Naas

Un Atout 2/5… simples.  Come on, this is a genuine Supreme horse (currently 20s) and acts on heavy, this is merely a confidence booster.  Mullins won this last year with Midnight Game who although was disappointing subsequently, was the Irish champion trainers main Supreme entry of a poor bunch.  He must think highly enough of Un Atout.

3.15 Naas – Handicap

I know what you are thinking… come on Major stop serving up these odds on shots and give us something to back!  Well I do not blame you…

There is another favourite in the Naas 3.20 that it is hard to dislike.  Matsukaze, an inmate of Tony Martins showed substantial improvement last time out and maybe a stone rise is not enough to prevent a further win today.  The ground holds no problem and so it is a decent 9/4 play with Boylesports, Carberry is up.

Beneficial is useful but won’t enjoy this mud bath.  Speed Dial will and is a major fly in the ointment.  This horse has shown plenty of progression but there is an issue too and that is the track.  He likes to be held up and at Naas that can be an advantage as the course has an uphill run in and it is long, plenty of chance to reel in the front-runners but… he is nil from seven on undulating tracks and nil from three left-handed.

On balance, I back Matsukaze to get the job done.

3.50 Naas

In a trappy affair with plenty of rogues lurking, the Major tips up Lucky Spring at 9/1.  While he has never won on heavy, he has placed in three of four efforts on the surface and on an opening chase mark, at least has the opportunity to improve beyond it a little.

The Bumper

I am going to have a small slice of Lots of Memories against the favourite who represents the Mullins team.  6/1 is very reasonable, my tip has more experience which might be important in this ground.

Kempton Tips

Kempton is on so we avoid two racing free days in Britain on the bounce…  I am not the biggest all-weather fan and so will be small slices of the following….

4.05 – Gertrude Versed 4/6 and trusting market signals last time 2.20, Haftohaf for the Botti team.

Cheltenham Antepost – Coral Cup

The 2012 Coral Cup was won by Son of Flicka who landed a near million reported gamble for his owners.  Have a look at the race, it is a bit odd, the winner is on and off the bridle but in the finish, wins well.

This year, the horse is seemingly in terminal decline but surely his main aim is an effort at defending his title.  The market has two views of this, there is the one I have just given you, BetVictor are 16/1.  Then there is the view that he is done for (Bet365 are 33/1).  Have a slice of the latter and thank me later.

Football Tips

Although it will send my good friend Martin Hill crackers, I do think that 4/1 Villa to win at West Brom is generous.  OK, Villa are in free fall but West Brom are hardly firing on all cylinders either and with so much at stake, this game is surely destined to be tight, edgy and in the balance.  On those grounds, backing Villa makes sense, they have looked by far the worse of these outfits this year but I am not sure that is what this game is about.

Sunderland look big to me at 11/4 to win at Wigan.  Hull to win at Peterborough (5/4) and definitely Watford (4/5) all aboard the money train, at home to Huddersfield.

May your dinner be a wholesome pasta in a simple sauce, with a light leafy salad containing spicy rocket.

The Hill Yankee is Watford, Matsukaze, Aupcharlie and Haftohaf.

Courage, roll those dice.

Fridays Racing Tips – Leopardstown Lexus Chase, Christmas Hurdle and Novice Chase – Load the cannons again my friends

Good evening from Worcestershire where the Major writes from the lounge. The good lady has joined me and while that scuppers the darts action, she compromised to ‘Escape to Victory’ so karmic forces remain balanced.

What a glorious day of betting for the Major. Winners were plastered all over yesterday’s blog. A double in Ireland and three from five at Kempton was a resounding success. Excellent but just shy of the mothership, it was close, as close as Bourne getting up on Dildar….. Aaahhhh the sweet sanguine feeling of loss.

Bad losers are awful gamblers, they get confused. Nothing is personal, if you need a refresher in how to lose, watch my favourite film , The Sting…. A sharp intake of breath, a tilt of the hat and as Kipling said, never breath a word about your loss.

Leopardstown on Friday completes a fantastic schedule of Christmas racing. Let us do battle once again, join me, I feel a final 2012 push, we shall take the ridge and repel the counter, we shall meet them man for man, with bayonets fixed. To Leopardstown.

Leopardstown Tips

I am going to start with tips for the Lexus. It is being run on heavy ground, which will be cut up but most in the field will enjoy it. What a race we have, we have all been waiting for it. Surely the Lexus Chase only concerns the first two in the market.

The highest profile horse I am ignoring is Tidal Bay. He was conceding 6lbs to Bobs Worth when providing a worthy challenge in the Hennessy but I think that was the extent of his abilities. He has been quirky in time and I am not convinced travel will be for him. That said, Ruby is in the seat and might choose to make the running as Tidal Bay will be best suited by a searching stitching stamina test. Turning twelve though and after a hard race last time, he is first of the main protagonists with a line through.

Midnight chase did once beat Tidal Bay but on this ground, I can’t see him landing a blow here.

So the front two…. Flemenstar leapt to the head of the Gold Cup market when serving up a beating to Sir Des Champs last time out. Peter Casey is a colourful owner and it will be good for the sport to see Flemenstar remain a top class horse winning good races.

This is over a further half mile which possibly plays for Sir Des Champs’s chances. When he lost to Flemenstar it was over arguably too short a trip and his seasonal debut and so it is fair to expect better from him.

Sir Des Champs is a two time festival winner and his RSA quarterbacked a decent betting Cheltenham for the Major. My heart is with him. He has an extra year on Flemenstar and I think he is an excellent prospect for the Gold Cup.

I am pretty convinced by the argument that Sir des Champs can reverse placings. Davy Russell was quite kind to him in the John Durkan, these conditions will play into his hands. This sthe start and the finish of the Majors search for a Lexus tip.

11/4 is available on Sir Des Champs and at that price, the Major is a big buyer.

Tips for the Christmas Hurdle

The 1.35 Christmas hurdle has a air of utter quality about it.

Zaidpour is installed as favourite after taking the Hattons Grace last time up but I am not sure of that race. It was a steadily run affair and not form I trust entirely. Monksland was pretty close to Zaidpour that day with Voler la Vedette back in third.

That mare is a wonderful horse and a bloody good yardstick so if I am wrong about the race then Zaidpour is damn good. He is a horse that was kept busy in the summer but not to much effect, his French raid was poor and I just find him hard to trust.

I like So Young, but if they insist on cutting out the pace with him then he won’t be winning this.

Weapons Amnesty was a mighty impressive winner of the RSA who has been plagued with injury. I had him earmarked as a Gold Cup sort prior to his extended spell on the mend list. Given he is returning to hurdles first, I expect this is an exploratory mission and we can expect more next time up. That said, he is receiving some handy weight off some of these due to the construct of the penalties.

When it comes down to it, probably the winner is one of the Hattons Grace finishers. Of them, Monksland appeals the most at 4/1. Zaidpour makes me nervous and I think my tip is more progressive and in receipt of an extra 2lbs and stepping up in distance, I am taking a slice.

2.25 Topaz Novice Chase

Goodness me there are some puzzles in here. Some excellent horses and this will be very informative.

Aupcharlie looks second of the Mullins string but could be anything after an impressive chase win with impeccable jumping.

Avrika Ligeonniere gave a good beating to Dedigout last time out and the former looks a top class novice, it is fair to say Mullins will know where he stands with Dedigout. Avrika went on to beat Benefficient in the Drinmore.

The main Mullins horse heads the market. Back In Focus looked a top class horse and another natural at the obstacles, clearly a that to all. 5/4 just seems a bit short, although he looks the likely winner.

Instead the Major is going to tip Tofino Bay at 10/1. The Troytown win was brave, particularly so as a novice. He is a less fashionable sort having taken the handicap route but I think the form is good. He is fine on soft and has a likeable attitude – have a slice.

Good luck tomorrow troops, courage… Roll those dice.