Tag Archives: baby mix

The Saturday Sermon – Full Ascot Card including Long Walk Tips…

Good evening from the Major who writes from a biting Worcestershire with a wind that pierces through your outer layers and seeks out your very soul.  The fire is crackling away, pouring goodness out that thickly covers the room, stifling and comforting all at once.

I won’t pretend that last week was anything other than a bloodbath.  The Major lurched from one loss to another like some great wounded blind animal lumbering onwards, lurching hopelessly and violently.

Christmas needs paying for.  Thus today we shall adorn our spears with the enemies precious trinkets and muster our weary souls into order once more.  Shall it be like the 44th forming a last thin square on the hills above Gandamak Village, after weeks of deathly marching, the last fighting men, having been sniped at by Afghan hill-men, men, women and children falling in the snow in the Khyber Pass, murderous raids on our supply train, pack animals lost, defiantly gathering to protect the colours we shall gather our last vestige of purpose and stand together to a bitter end.

Or, like the thin red line at Balaclava, shall our meagre resources, against all odds and fighting in unconventional fashion, two men deep to take on the Russian Calvary, insanity odds, yet, hold fast boys… No retreat from here men, we shall die where we stand.  That Colin Campbell was as hard as nails, he never hesitated, always spoiled for the fight.

To Ascot, load the grape-shot into the cannon.

Full Ascot Card

There is lots of form on lots of different tracks coming into this race so 9/2 the field is a fair assessment of the openness of it.  Watching the Friday Ascot action, I thought it was riding OK.

If further rain fell, it would only aid the chances of present favourite Brave Buck, he is two from two on heavy ground and comes from an in form Daly stable.   His Welsh double recently reads quite well and more may be to come but he is a stone higher in the weights as a result.

Boss in Boots looks a capable sort but I would prefer a more experienced pilot.  Josies Orders is an interesting sort having had to be rousted along by McCoy to win at Ascot, next time out was a bit disappointing.  McCoy is reunited here and there may be a better performance but I am not sure it looks a bullet-proof proposition.

Instead, the Major opts for 5/1 shot Forever Present who goes for the Henderson yard.  At Ludlow, I thought the performance was OK but a little flat-footed, that was over 2m 5f, I think this extra distance and the ground will suit and if the jumping is a little neater and the replacement of David Bass with Barry Geraghty sparks some improvement, then the handicap mark may look very lean.

Another Saturday and another David Johnson memorial race.  Quite right too – Every track wants to pay homage to the great supporter of our sport.  Only four runners make it to the line for this particular event and Join the Navy needs half a track head start if he is to play a role.  O Faolains Boy looks a very exciting prospect to me, fourth in the Albert Bartlett and stays forever, I think a potential National horse in years to come.  Baby Mix surely needs a rattling surface and that leaves me with the 11/8 shot Easter Day.  My selection has some excellent form over hurdles and he left his chase form well behind on second start over the tougher obstacles at Newbury.  Looks like a Nicholls chaser on the improve to me.

I was quite surprised by the shortness of Pendra’s price for the 1.50.  His winning form is in more minor events and this is an entirely different shape of race for which his inexperience may tell.  That said, you know I like the Longsden yard.  Ulck du Lin is back for another pop at the race he won a year ago off  a fistful of pounds higher, not to be discounted at all.

I’d give Consigliere a chance back on his favoured surface but even if the ground remains quite soft, I am not sure this is the test he needs these days.  Is Rebecca Curtis finally going to get a tune out of 10/1 shot Gus Macrae.  He will like the soft ground but needs to reverse a run of poor form.

My pen rests on Elenika who surely is going to give us a great run at some pint.  The Venetia Williams stable have had some winners in this race and the form at Cheltenham last month when just finishing behind a useful looking front four (Eastlake 3rd went on to win again) does not look so bad.

The Long Walk Hurdle is at 2.25 and I cannot see any way that At Fishers Cross gets beat.  Celestial Halo gave him a thrashing last time out but something was not right that day and overall, despite his admirable hardy record, I remain unconvinced by CH.  Anyway, he has already defected from this race and that leaves the chief competition being Reve de Sivola who I think At Fishers Cross had the better of before smacking his hurdle last time out.  Lets keep it simple… Load the money printer, George has ordered up some more quantitative easing.

In the Silver Cup, we have the surprise Hennessy winner, Triolo D’Alene out again with a further 11bs on his back.  He has run three times on soft and has never placed which is a slight concern.  It is enough for the Major to be looking elsewhere and I have long felt that Cedre Bleu could make up into a decent staying chaser even if he has failed to impress over longer distances previously.  11/2 is available as I type with Coral.  As a footnote, What a Warrior should not be 12s, if 8 go to post, it is a fantastic each way bet for a horse with no weight on his back and decent form claims.

Last but certainly not least… The Ladbroke.  A headache of a conundrum, wrapped up in an enigma and rammed down your throat with the bestial force of insanity.  8/1 the field… Take your pick.

For the Major, I am mostly staking my money on the record of Pipe in the race.  In a field of 21 runners, he fields almost a third of the runners.  Firstly a nod to the runners that Messrs Henderson and Nicholls have entered.  Chatterbox and Rolling Star will have plenty of fans.  I prefer Ptit Zig mind, even off top weight.  Yet, my Pipe plot means I am going to invest in Dell Arca 10/1 who must have been targetted at this for some time.   I am also oing to have a saver on 25/1 shot Irish Saint who has some very tasty form as a juvenile – Once beaten by Rolling Star by a handful of lengths at Cheltenham, if recovered from a fall at Newbury, I think he could play a part.

In the football… QPR have the right formula so 6/5 for a home win versus Leicester is a price.  Walsall have had some issues but 4/5 at home to Carlisle is also a bet.

The Martin Hill bet is simple… A Dell Arca, Cedre Bleu and Forever Present trixie….. Money Printer…. Loaded.

I trust your dinner is prepared with great care and charged as such.  I wish the finest wines for you and the finest company.  Tip well, tis Christmas.

Courage and roll the dice.

Saturday Sermon – Wincanton Badger Ale Day Tips plus The Criterium and some Premier League…. SHABASH

Good evening from the Major who writes from a perfectly acceptable autumn evening in the Worcestershire countryside.

Tonight I lit the wood burner for the first time this season. The job requires matches and mine were in the converted stable block which having given up the job of stabling now performs very well as a perfectly reasonable one bedroom annexe. The building also compromises of an outside convenience and a boiler room which is where the matches are to be found. I lit the weak bulb and peering in the gloomy murk found a nasty surprise.

On the floor was the carcass of a Goldfinch. I am no twitcher but the Goldfinch is a striking bird with explosive flashes of red and gold. This one lacked most of the elements that it once possessed. We were down to feathers and a few bones. I suspect the cat. It feels like a bad omen.

Maybe it is a good omen. Godly sacrifice though having little statistical proof has enough popular backing to suggest that there is something to it. Take your pick. Whatever you think, I will invest in some better wattage bulbs.

Personally I think I stink of losing. I just feel a veil of defeat clinging to me like an effervescent cloak, a silver lining of loss and my wallet of diminishing power. Yet as Fuller once wrote ‘the hour is darkest just before the day dawneth’

Personally I think that’s nonsense too. In my gambling life, it is darkest before it gets darker.

Fearing the complexities of life, tonight I ate simply. Steak, cooked for a mere flash in the hottest oil my stove can muster – turned once after 20 seconds. Served alone, with a dash of mustard to the side.

Earlier this week, a steak caused my usually rock solid constitution to become imbalanced. Read into those delicate words what you will. Maybe that is the cause of my unsettled sense.

Doubts, damn doubts… Uncertainty over your own judgement. It is the beauty and curse of life that we are given independent thought to enable us to conceive beyond binary.

Each week, the Major hopes to enrich the life of one casual reader. I don’t care who, and i don’t care how many innocent victims have to read the wild thoughts of my mind, percolated through a swirling vortex of confusion before that one person draws some surprising meaning. Into the sports we shall go this week with perhaps, the most beautiful thing that one can say about such uncertainty…..

Khalil Gibran, the great Lebanese poet…. ‘doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother’…

Courage my faithful few….

2.15 Wincanton – Grade 2 Novice Chase Tips

In the last week, Silvianaco Conti showed that he is a player as a chaser this season when showing he has trained on from his superb novice year. He started that year with a win in this race and so it is of some interest that Paul Nicholls targets Poungach at this contest. He starts favourite and if the slip at the first at Chepstow has done little damage then on balance he is a threat to all.

Many of the others have not seen a racetrack in over a year although Court in Motion is an interesting runner. A solid bet would be ‘King of the Night’. Trained in what was the satellite yard of Paul Nicholls last season, I fancy Harry Fry to be a rising trainer.

The Major though is going to opt for one of those that has not seen action for some time. Aegean Dawn had some very good hurdle form. While he has been missing for some time, his trainer has had success with a handful of runners in recent weeks and I suspect that Aegean Dawn might be a strong chasing prospect and at 13/2 rates a strong tip.

2.50 Wincanton – Elite Hurdle

What a fantastic race – The main question here for the major is over the jockey bookings of Ditcheat. Maybe with the benefit of the post in the morning, we would have greater clarity but why is Ruby on what seems the second string?

Is Zarkander tuned up? Surely the staying on fifth in the Champions Hurdle signalled some intent for this year and the grade 1 novice wins he secured were solid. Prospect Wells has solid form of which the clear best is the Triumph Hurdle 5th but given there are no wins in graded company for a horse that is 2/7 over hurdles…. Hmmmmm

Zarkander is giving a stone and three to Prospect and while Daryl Jacob has been aboard Zarkander before when it has won and Ruby has been on a loser (Sam Winner) but that didn’t look planned either.

Sod it. Zarkander is the better horse. 9/4, have a slice. One word of caution for Baby Mix who I have not given up on yet.

3.25 Badger Ales Trophy – Wincanton Tips

Well I am going to keep this short and simple.

Diamond Harry won a Hennessy off a mark 6lbs higher than this and 7/1 is a steal…. He is dropped in grade and while clearly prone to injury is the class act in the field. Michael le Bon is the danger to all, very lightly raced….

Tips for the Criterium de Saint Cloud

Group one flat action for the two year olds and the Major wants a slice of Sempre Medici who will go off at a sporting price and has already proven himself in the testing conditions he faces tomorrow. He is a Medicean colt out of a line of Dansili Dancer… Few markets and no liquidity but I’m guessing 5/2 second favourite.

To the football….

The 11/5 about West Brom coming away from the Latics with maximum points is sent from heaven. Albion have looked excellent in defeat against Man City and away to Newcastle, scoring against both. They dispatched Southampton with ease and look like 6/4 chances at Wigan so the Major has to be involved.

Stoke at evens at home to QPR is a decent bet. Probably the last thing a team without a win (hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles) needs is a trip to the Potteries. Stoke are predictable, tough and Mark Hughes has a greater stench of defeat hanging about him than I, at least I hope so, because if I don’t have that….

Newcastle 19/20 is an amazing price, they should beat West Ham tomorrow.

For a good man who asked me to start including it again…. The lucky 15 is Aegean Dawn, Zarkander, Diamond Harry and Stoke.

May your dinner be simple as mine was. Remove doubt and realise the thin slither that pares it from certainty. I hope your companion is entertaining but that you might have serenity in your own company is my ultimate hope for us all.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Sermon – Racing Tips from Ascot, Cheltenham and Cork, plus Frankel – Time at Ascot…

Good evening from the Major who writes to you from a Defford where the sky hangs heavy with the threat of a downpour, it feels as if it were sagging and clinging to my cheek, cold and damp… my sort of weather.

The Household Cavalry dressed in Sheikh Abdulla’s colours in honour of Frankel, the finest horse of our generation

Tomorrow I ride for Ascot, I am taking my father and meeting a friend there for a beer too. Whatever happens we are in for a terrific day of racing but it would be dishonest to say that if Frankel fails to run, it would not be a touch deflating.The way they have handled this horse has given us every chance to enjoy the champion that he is. On Twitter (@tdl123) I rated my top three Frankel races and decided that my favourite was the Queen Anne. Having had longer to reflect I have changed the order slightly and now have a top four in the following order.

4th – The Guineas

This will be top of most peoples lists – The way he flew from the gates and had them at it from half way. A stunning performance and the way they finished strung out like 3 mile chasers was testament to what the great horse had achieved.

3rd – Royal Lodge

The more I watch the Royal Lodge he won, the more I love it. The move he makes on the bend to put the race to bed was stunning and although Treasure Beach was stopped in his tracks, Frankel would still have won by half a furlong!

2nd – The Queen Anne

What a way to open Royal Ascot – As a performance, this was his highest rated in my view. He did not just win, he destroyed a field of top horses and left everyone gasping for air. Awesome.

1st – His First Sussex Stakes versus Canford Cliffs

Context is important and this race was full of it. Goldikova a winner of more Group One races than seems possible was reaching the end of her career. Canford Cliffs, one of the best Hannon has ever had, lowered her colours and rightfully claimed the best miler in Europe crown. Then Frankel met him at Goodwood. The camber at Goodwood means many horses do not act there. The combination of factors meant that the Major tipped Canford… Then this happened…

Let us hope that Frankel runs – The generosity of connections have given us more than we needed but we are like gluttons and want it all. Treasure the moment. The only possible upside of him not running tomorrow is a possible crack at the States and the breeders cup meeting… Personally I would like him to finish his career at Ascot tomorrow.

To the sports….

Ascot Tips – 1.50 – The Stayers

At this stage of the season, I am looking for the slightly more lightly raced sorts. The Ascot ground will also be very soft which should rule a few out…

In the opener, most of the animals will be fine with the soft conditions. Gold Cup winner Colour Vision beat a number of these including Fame and Glory back in July. Opinion Poll, the other Godolphin horse was second that day and goes off as 3/1 favourite here. Aiken is a horse I really like but feels like he might just be a bit short of top draw. Ile de Re is an interesting runner but has to make a big step up in class. Rite of Passage is a fascinating runner and could play a part at 8/1 if well tuned up.

After some thought though, the Major is going to offer Fame and Glory at 11/2 – A former winner of the race who has lost some of his lustre – If he wins tomorrow, it will be a fitting end to a sparkling career… words that we may well repeated later in the day!

2.20 Ascot – Tips for the Sprint

The sprint is a fascinating contest and I would love to back Maarek, especially with the booking of Jamie Spencer. I am wondering though whether the horse is feeling the effect of the campaign and I may well give him a miss. The muddier the better for that one so if more rain arrives, it may be a persuading factor.

The Major is siding with a horse packed with potential in Slade Power who looked a horse going places in the summer. After a break to freshen him up, I expect a top draw performance and although there are proven G1 horses in the field, I do not want to back Wizz Kid unless in France and Society Rock is the main danger. Blue Square offer 15/2 and a quarter odds the place, have a slice.

2.55 Ascot – Group 2 Mile and a Half

The two to concentrate on seem to be Great Heavens and Sapphire. The former took an Irish Classic in the slop and loves these conditions. She was my idea of the Arc winner as I am a massive fan. She cruised into the straight at Longchamp looking a likely challenger but faded badly and I just wonder if the season and he travels are catching up.

Thus the tip is Sapphire for the Weld team. She is a horse of immense talent and seems to be much better the further she goes, seemingly tapped for toe over 400m shorter in the Pretty Polly. She is a true mud lark and at 10/3 generally I think a great bet to beat Great Heavens who I would like to see racing agin next year where hopefully connections might give her a light schedule with a hopefully soft ground Arc as the target.

QE II 3.30 Ascot

Excelebration is an absolute bolt on here and I suggest a reasonable investment at just shading odds on. He has been beaten by Frankel so often yet is still a top class horse and now placed to avoid a battle with the inevitable, he is gaining very well deserved Group One successes.

The Queen is in attendance and so Carlton House would be a popular winner but it is Excelebration for the Major.

Ascot Champion Stakes

It is not often that the Major here whispers but I have it on good authority that Frankel might be a decent sort! This race requires no bet, it is a moment of historic racing importance. I hope Frankel serves it up to Cirrus Des Aigles

Enjoy it…

4.45 Amateur Riders Handicap

I find it disappointing that this race exists on the card of what is meant to be the climax of the flat season. It really seems out of place.

Smarty Socks would be the one I would want but I am dubious that these are his conditions. Boring as it may seem, Jack Dexter is the 5/1 selection. The Ayr Bronze Cup winner loves a bit of mud and is surely goi to have a big say. Kingscroft (16/1) and Atlantic Sport (33/1) also make some appeal.

Cheltenham Selections

It is so good to see racing back at Cheltenham. Fridays action saw The New One take a decent Novice hurdle. Given that he hit most of them, he must be some animal to still win, I expect a big season.

Rendl Beach should be a good thing in the opener at 6/4. Curtis horses often need a warm up but this one won smartly on reappearance and a big run is surely on the cards tomorrow.

In the second race, I am going to take a chance on 22/1 shot Quito Du Tresor. I think that there may be more to come from this one. The Henderson horse Nadiya De La Vega at 10/1 is decent value too.

Baby Mix and Dodging Bullets are two rising stars and the latter looks a great evens bet based on the 4th position achieved in the Triumph.

In the 4th race, I like the look of two Qianshan Leader at 22/1 catches the eye as does Darna at 16/1. The latter looks an intriguing sort.

In the 4.20 I am a big fan of Irish raider Defence of Duress and suggest a decent investment.

Third Intention should see the field off in the penultimate race if match fit. 3/1 is a very fair price as he should be much better than this field, many of whom have a readiness advantage.

In the last maybe Southfield Theatre on a strict reading of form with The New One but honestly, stick a pin in!

Cork Tip

I like Rock Critic in the listed contest and at 2/1 am having it in several selections…

May your dinner be fine, in the company of someone nice. Each day we are above ground is an opportunity so do not waste yours. Let us hope that Frankel gives us something to cheer.

Courage, roll the dice.

Saturday Sermon – Tips for Kempton and Fairyhouse, an apology and some dreams

Good morning from a blistering bright Worcestershire where the blazing star at the centre of our solar system blasts waves of balmy goodness upon the ground that seep into our souls.  The Major was up late, took a late constitutional and that explains the tawdry hour for publishing the Saturday Sermon.

Minsk, point, shoot and collect?

Apologies and Dreams

A brace of apologies are required this morning. 

Many years ago, a man I worked for rather went over the top with criticism in a work meeting.  Afterwards, when the blood was back down, he apologised to me in person.  To my surprise, a few weeks later, when the same attendees were gathered round the table, he repeated the apology openly. 

Later, I asked him why he felt the need to apologise again, after all, the matter was done with in my mind.  He explained something that has stayed with me since, a public mistake , deserves a public apology; whereas, a private mistake may be settled in private.  Damned good and damned right.

Therefore, my apology to Mr Graham Sharpe of the good ship William Hill. 

Last week Mr Martin Hill (@martinhill4) on Twitter was in the process of some gloriously horrendous after-timing following the late Leeds United goal which secured his 4fold accumulator.  I intended berating him fully for it but did not realise that I was replying to the wrong tweet in my timeline.  Mr Sharpe received the accusations and was a little perplexed but gentlemanly.  Public human error deserves a public human apology. 

You can follow Mr Sharpe, @sharpeangle – Recommended for the trivia and insight, he makes the Majors top ten horseracing twitter accounts to follow.

Further apologies are required to all those who follow the Majors racing selections.  The last few weeks have been appalling.  Bad luck part, mainly poor judgement; time to turn the tide and build a Cheltenham war chest.  It says something about how bad the form has been that there is a need to apologise.  Yet, I receive little grief from an army of followers who understand that I, the Corinthian tipster is trying in honour.

For those who are newer or feel aggrieved, well the Major never feels the need to apologise if a tip runs badly.  You see, I also do not accept your thanks for when one runs well… It is free opinion I offer, genuine honest views.  Whereas, it is your money you bet; equally genuinely (in some cases) earned.  You owe me no beer for the 33/1 winner and I offer no recompense for the 8/11 loser.  Terms and conditions of use, simple.  Yet, you are welcome to come and bathe in the unhinged mind of a barely profitable lunatic; dreaming of glory…..

Last night the Major watched Inception.  My sort of film; packed with intrigue and twists.  It probably is easier watched without a bottle of fine Malbec swashing down but regardless; it was good.

It reminded me of Confucius who once said that he awoke from a dream of being a butterfly and now didn’t know if he was a man who dreamed of being a butterfly or a butterfly now dreaming of being a man.

Dreaming has great resonance with us hardcore gamblers.  The vision of what might be; the hope and the renewal; being able to dust oneself down and dream again.

I dream of the festival… The juveniles and novices; the greats; the returning champions; Kauto; Ruby; AP; Henderson v Nicholls v Mullins; the journeyman jockey who gets the shot at the big one; the roar; the guiness; the Irish; the buzz; the morning paper; the walk to and from the course; the lucky heather; the victory; the view of Cleeve Hill; the thundering hooves; the sweating heaving athletic beasts; from the uninitiated wide-eyed newcomer to the seasoned tweed clad member with badges dangling from binoculars; the horses with sheer will; the horses that fail on the hill; the owners and trainers… the dizzying highs and bottomless lows.

How all these elements and many more; all seemingly compliment each other, one strand weaving perfectly into the next, a glorious story.  Should I awake and find that my mind created every fine intricacy in an elaborate dream; then I shall have just two options. 

The first would be to kill myself because I can no longer hear that roar as the first tapes go up.  The second would be to kill the rest of you because your lives would be rendered worthless without being able to comprehend the sheer beauty of the festival.  Praise God for his ultimate artistry…. then enjoy; lap up the goodness people and ask few questions.

To the sports……

There is a distinct lack of depth and class in the two main chase races of the day, the Eider and the Racing Plus Chase.  This is compensated for with bundles of quality novice action and the debut over obstacles over the Triumph Hurdle joint favourite in Ireland….

1.55 Fairyhouse – Juvenile Hurdle

Minsk has not seen a hurdle in competition yet but is joint favourite for the Triumph hurdle in festival week.

Yet…. the talk of his hurdling ability and the quality of his flat performances show that this is a serious horse.  Most taking for the Major was his Cesarewitch (Irish) win which was very taking and in soft conditions. 

He has been put away ever since but there is no secret that this is Ireland’s big Triumph hope.

His ability to jump a hurdle and the experience of a race day is all that stands between Minsk and victory.  The rest of the field look like good handicappers to the Major and Hughes has taken this Grade 2 twice in the last six years.

4/7 William Hill should not stop you adding this to a few accumulators and getting lumpy if you so feel.

Tip for The Eider at Newcastle

What a shocking renewal of the Eider Chase.  a race ideally suited to those, winding up for a tilt at the National.  Comply or Die took the race three years ago, on the way to glorious Aintree but this field looks a bit bare on that sort of quality; at first glance. 

The last two renewals have been on heavy ground.  With whip rules being changed again, the Major is pleased that we do not get the same today.  The image of only two or three finishers crossing the line on their last legs while being whipped would not do the sport any favours.  I, for one, wonder if the Eider should ever be run on heavy ground.  Today though, it is good to soft.

This race has a strong trend towards a horse who has already won at a marathon distance.  I also want a quality jockey on the team and a horse that is OK with good to soft.  This for me is more important than potential mark in these conditions.

Eyre Square ticks a lot of boxes and the previous Kelso form over this marathon distance is OK, even if a bit workmanlike. 

Portrait King is an obvious candidate, seemingly on the improve and who knows if the handicapper has caught up yet.  What bothers me about the favourite though is his youth and inexperience.  He would be the youngest Eider winner since 1998…. on the watch list but no surprise to see a bold show.  He would be an obvious Eider tip but I just cannot get past his gae and lack of runs over fences.

Mister Marker looks held and although 16/1 Douglas Julian looks like he will appreciate the step up in distance, this might be quite an ask to take this.  That said, I think he will adapt well and for those who like a bigger price, if you can look beyond his lack of marathon experience, this rates a decent outsider.

Plenty of older sorts have taken this race and Negus de Beaumont; aged 11; at 7/1 is a contender.  Lucy Alexander, record-breaking female jumps jockey, is a superb jockey in a race like this, taking 5lbs off with her claim.  Only 1 place or win though from 7 runs on good to soft, tells a story.

It seems there is no horse that meets all of the Major’s criteria and so a compromise must be made.  Eyre Square is the tip, his ground and distance credentials are intact; he may have had to battle for his Kelso win and now is up in weight but he should be involved and 7/1 Betfred or Bet365 gives you a shot.

Kempton – Racing Plus Chase

Punchestown Grade 1 winner, Planet of Sound will really appreciate the good ground on offer at Kempton but so will many of these.

The Major though notes the success of 7/8 year olds in this race and is looking in this age bracket for the tip. 

Hectors Choice comes right into it on my reckoning with improvement seen in each handicap run and clearly the horse likes top of the ground conditions.  Stable form and the step up in grade are negatives.

Michel Le Bon is included in the assessment as although 9, he has been lightly raced.  He also seems the choice of the Nicholls yard on jockey booking.  Going all the way back to a Grade 2 chase debut at Newbury, the horse has very smart form.  Also he is in great hands to be nursed back to winning ways and any suggestion that the Ditcheat team had a problem with coughing in the stable was squashed by yesterdays treble. Of clear interest at 5/1 and the Majors Racing Plus Chase tip.

2.00 Kempton – Juvenile Hurdle

I fancy getting the favourite Sadlers Risk beaten in this as I thought he raced very keenly on debut and I am uncertain if that will suit today.  What is for sure is that some bubbles from Une Artiste, Sadlers Risk, Baby Mix and Dildar will be burst.

Nicholls and Henderson are settling down to an almighty battle this season and it is worth noting that they take this trial very seriously with the pair of them being represented by the last 5 winners.

The two I am most interested in therefore are Dildar (4/1) and Une Artiste (7/1) both prices with William Hill who are best price on the top four in the market.

If it were not for the better ground, I would have no hesitation in putting up 7/1 Une Artiste but it is a fine balance.  Dildar has flat form with Pour Moi which is widely touted.

A fine balance indeed but I still come down on the side of tipping Une Artiste who as I type is on the drift.  There is no reason to suggest she will not get on with the good conditions, the stallion record is two raced and both placed with one winner…. She may not have encountered it but 7/1 builds in plenty of scope to allow for the question of whether she handles it.

3.40 Kempton

I thought Grumeti was awarded the race a little unfairly at Cheltenham last time out when Pearl Swan was adjudged to have interfered.  That said, I thought Grumeti was brave and only caught for toe, in a rematch, I would stick with the Henderson hurdler who was left up front on the hill and struggled to switch gears again. 

There is nothing in this race to scare me and so 1/2 is another session of buying money in the Majors eyes.

To the sports with balls….

Tottenham look tremendous value at 19/10 (Hills again) to see off Arsenal at the Emirates.  You would expect Arsenal to come out fighting since their dreadful sojourn in Italy but rather than fight back, the Major feels capitulation is on the cards.  Something is wrong in the camp….

I also like the Hills price on QPR to beat Fulham at 7/4.  As much as I am not a Hughes fan, home advantage against poor travellers Fulham gives us opportunity.

Victor goes 16/5 on Bristol Rovers chances at Rotherham and I am happy to have that in.

Finally 8/13 (general) about Blues to beat Forest at home seems generous too, given the formers run of form.

May your dinner be a mexican feast where you will use your hands to eat.  Allow yourself the company of one of those common sorts who will get stuck in right beside you.  As the juices run from the Fajita, no great importance on manners will be imparted, then relax, drink and remember… have fun, we only go by the once.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon Cheltenham Racing Tips, 4th Round FA Cup Tips

Good morning from the Major who writes from the cold Worcestershire heartland.  The earthen smell of the outdoors, the depths of January and the glory of a superb Cheltenham card – It is good to be alive and an Englishman on days of such heady mix.

Diamond Harry to win the Argento Chase

Diamond Harry for the Major.... send me the postcard

You may notice this post was posted in the wee hours, this is due to the Majors Saturday commitments which have disturbed the usual weekend rhythm.

Did you realise that the Major loves gambling?  Had you picked up on this subtlety?  That was a rhetorical question.  Truly it is an honourable endeavour and if you are not certain of this in your heart.  If you give even the slightest credence to it being a sin or a weakness, then please move on, your sort is not welcome here.  

Can you get a paper between addiction and unconditional love?  Well yes, addiction is irrational, unconditional love not necessarily so.  Either way, the Major cares little, I simply love the thrill of sporting chance. 

Nobody has captured the honourable endeavour more accurately in my view than the great Kipling, one of England’s finest poets, whose prose roused the youth of the nation into a mission of imperialism, setting fires alight in the bellies of youth to win their spurs fighting in some foreign clime to bring the three C’s to the rest of the world.

From his most famous Poem ‘If’. 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

The Major feels remorse for those that do not gamble, it is as if they are missing an essential part of the great existence we share.  We go floating by just the once and you need to grab whatever flotsam comes your way in the current.  Accept the sweet gifts my friends, yet ask no questions.  

If you want to read Kipling, I suggest you start with Kim.

To the sports…. shine the point on that lance young man and polish that saddle.  We shall meet our enemy hand to hand and we shall be dressed as a gentleman should be.

Tips for The Cheltenham Card

What a truly terrific card at Cheltenham for Trials Day.  The Argento chase looks superb, even with Grand Crus dropping out, the juvenile hurdle looks a cracker too. For those on the course, enjoy, I wish you the happiest of days, think of the Major…. childrens party…. bad times. 

For those reading late at night, the rain has come to Cheltenham so although the official going is good to soft, it may be soft in places.

I hope I have found some winning Cheltenham tips for you.  Get these in a Lucky 15 and thank me later!

12.55 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial

Grumeti was incredibly unlucky not to win when falling eight lengths clear and cruising at the last on his second hurdles start at Newbury.  He had previously spread-eagled a Taunton field and looks a top class prospect.

That said, so does Baby Mix.  He had Hinterland 7 lengths behind (a horse that Hollow Tree failed to beat over course and distance) and crucially has Cheltenham form.

One of the most interesting runners is Pearl Swan.  A french import in the hands of Nicholls entered at this level and still being quoted at 10/1.

When all is said and done, I am minded to back Grumeti at 6/4.  There is not so much love in the price but Alan King took this trial with Franchoek, Katchit and Walkon in the last five years so he clearly aims his top Triumph prospect at it.

Incidentally, if you want my best Cheltenham bet, I would take the 16s still about for Dildar to win the Triumph Hurdle.   This Nicholls inmate has a similar feel to Zarkander.  A classy flat animal (5l down to Pour Moi and only narrowly beaten by the French Derby winner!) he could first appear on a UK course on the Friday of the festival, do not say I did not warn you!

1.30 Cheltenham – Novice Handicap Chase

This is a wide open handicap and the markets are 7/1 the field.  The horses that are nof significant interest are..

Made in Time who has won both chase starts he has completed.  Sadly he has only completed half his chase starts and that makes him a difficult horse to tip in a competitive handicap which will test his jumping.

Charminster looks certain to improve now stepping up in distance and is a serious contender in the Majors view.  He looks classy and could get away with carrying eleven seven, this is a handicap debutante of clear interest.

Carpincho also looks fairly treated and the stable have booked Costello for the ride.  He is 1/3 for the yard and this is not a horse without chance.

That’lldoboy still looks on the upgrade and we cannot be certain that the handicapper has stopped Mr Chow either who was turned out twice quickly over the New Year to take advantage of lenient marks.  124 may still be going easy on him.

Bless the Wings is certainly well in on his form with Our Mick.  The latter is now equipped with a mark of 142 and Bless the Wings was a 6 length second at Kempton so 130 looks tidy.

Overall I am going to steer you to Charminster at 10/1.  McCain is in decent enough touch and this horse does look pretty decent.  Bless the Wings (particularly), That’lldoboy and Mr Chow all rate as live dangers.

2.25 Argento Chase

This is pretty much a Gold Cup field with the exceptions of Grand Crus, Long Run and Kauto.  A classy affair for the highlight of the card.

The Major has to side with Diamond Harry who looks sensational value at 7/2. 

Captain Chris has looked all wrong on his last runs and if he returns to his form from last spring then he will be a danger to all.  That said, the Major thinks he is a spring horse and best watched so 11/4 gets no love from these quarters.  I also think they need to step back to two and a half miles but we will see.

Time for Rupert needs to step up and with the stable seemingly out of sorts, not for me.

Overall I am very pleased to be getting 7/2 for Diamond Harry, a fragile horse but one who has a superb winning record.

3.10 Novice Hurdle –  Grade 2

This is a great looking race and the two to concentrate on are well advertised in the market, Knights Pass and Broadbackbob.

The first has gone from strength to strength hurdling and is entitled to have a step up in class.

The second and the Majors tip, Broadbackbob, is another of the novice hurdling riches of the Henderson yard and should be backed early at 7/4 (general).  His two hurdle wins have been done with the minimum of fuss and he has the best form on show, simple.

To the football and 4th round FA Cup tips…

The Major’s football tips are not fairing brilliantly so these come with a profit warning.

Hull to beat Crawley… 18/19

Newcastle to win at Brighton 20/19

Stoke to win at Derby 13/10

May your dinner be Mexican, hearty beans and fiery flavour, eat with your hands and take company that is relaxed and uncomplicated – The sort with a plain yet somehow wanton look.  Enjoy yourself.  Tip well. 

Courage, roll those dice.