Good morning from wet Pershore where the pluviometer indicates significant precipitation yet the warm coffee musters good feeling. The Major is ready for Saturdays action.
Our February profits have sunk to just 8%. A few things to remember. The Major is transparent, you can see everything I advised by following the tabs in the menu bar above. As a man that has to work full time, I am proud to return any profit, my goal is 20%. If you include the bookmakers over-round, that puts me 40% ahead of the market at any given time, a worthy and challenging target.
It is also a sign of what life is like for an amateur punter. It shows why you have to keep perspective about winning and losing. Returning those profits, if I stay disciplined will mean that not only do I get to enjoy my horseracing tipping hobby but it will be profitable over time, even to the slim margin I suggest.
Consider the roulette table, playing straight numbers the house pays 36/1. Yet there is a 37th number. This gives the house just a 2.7% advantage. As Einstein, who had a lot to say about roulette commented ‘No one can possibly win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn’t looking’.
I am aiming for my own judgement / pricing supremacy over the enemy to be 30-40%, thats a serious improvement in judging sporting outcomes, a significant house advantage to the Major.
Should you wish to criticise or congratulate my performances, you can leave your comments, I welcome them, encourage them and enjoy them. Should you wish to know the very moment a post is issued, then sign up to the email service in the left hand column or twitter @tdl123. Should you wish to complain that most of my tips do not come in, please do not read on, the Major writes for those who understand the principle of value. The messages I get tell me the mysterious readers (150 last Saturday) are a positive bunch, generally encouraging me back to the fray when things go wrong.
In return, I will not butter up my results or advice, I will not offer aftertiming or over celebrate a result, I also ask you not to expect too much. Be there to celebrate the 22/1 winners as well as to understand that 4 from 5 bets will not come home. Rest assured however, that considered punters like ourselves are the enemies scourge.
Once more we saddle our chargers, sheepskin cover and blinkers and prepare to face the devious enemy on the field of battle. He has priced his markets, I have researched my angles into the value. I offer to you, free of charge, no strings attached, my version of the Saturday value tips.
To war, my friends. Let us return to the breach, or we shall be clogging up the walls with our gambling dead.
3pm – The Racing Post Chase – Kempton
Just as the football kicks off, so does the race of the day. This looks like a cracking renewal of the race with many of last years protagonists sizing each other up again. Conditions will play a part (Newcastle goes ahead, Chepstow might not) but Sandown will get a dousing mid to late morning and then dry up, I am going to assume soft but sticky.
The Major has been a long-term follower of Fistral Beach and the horse continues to cost me money. That said, I expected his chances in todays race to be better advertised but seemingly, he has become a little friendless. The money is piling in for Nacarat, (who is the Pricewise selection) and this must offer some value elsewhere, including the Majors selection. This is the thinking…
The RP Chase is one of the better handicaps at this stage of the season. We have seasoned King George placers, young up and comers as well as a few old monkeys trying to revive some sort of form. The winner is normally an already known strong performer. As it a handicap, we are looking for one either improving or on the career plateau. This has not gone to a true outsider in some time.
Nacarat has probably shown the best class in the field. As a result he gets top weight. He is well weighted though if you consider his efforts in the 09 and 10 renewals of the race. Pricewise has to be well-respected, he is certainly better than me. That does not mean that you changes your mind though when your line of thought was different though. It is these differences that you need to exploit to find the elusive value. I cannot help but think that at age ten, we know everything about Nacarat and I am not sure rain is going to suit his chances, he would be fine on genuine soft but I think the likely tacky stuff Kempton will serve up may not suit..
Remember, we are looking for something rated just short of very good. Perhaps 145ish. The horses that brings into focus are:
Tatenen, Free World, Quinz, Bakbenscher, Razor Royale and I am going to throw in my personal horse to follow, Fistral Beach.
I ruled out Mostly Bob who is interesting but Johnson deserted in favour of Quinz and although he said it was a tight decision, I think Mostly Bob might find things happening a bit too quickly today, although O’Brien in the saddle is a favoured jockey for the Major and he looks like he will appreciate a right-handed track, this seems to be too much of a step up at this stage.
Both Quinz and Mostly Bob also get lines through them due to trainer form. Just 1 win from the last 25 runners for Hobbs does not convince you that his string are in top-notch form, thus they are overlooked.
Ringaroses looks suspiciously well handicapped but you need more than that for a RP chase win, you need proven quality and recent form and that is not there for Ringaroses.
The horses well suited to conditions in the Majors view are Hey Big Spender (who I think will struggle to cart weight just 1lb short of Nacarat around), Fistral Beach and Bakbenscher.
Before I make comment on the couple I have it down to, a word for Razor Royale. Twiston Davies will have him tuned up and I am sure this is his possible moment in the sun this season. That said, I am unsure a repeat of the previous battle with Nacarat is certain.
For the Major, there are two of clear interest in the market. Bakbenscher and Fistral Beach.
Followers of Fistral Beach have lost a lot of money backing him to win races – He has been a beaten favourite more often than anything else in the race. I find it interesting then that champion trainer Nicholls still comments today that ‘I think Fistral Beach has a lot in his favour, he has a nice weight and is on a fair mark.’
It is not often that Mr Nicholls proclaims he has one in and the Major has listened.
Fistral beach is 2 from 4 on soft and I think that is where the ground will go. Although he has only tried 3m once, I think he will get it well and the breathing op he had in the summer seemed to have worked wonders. Nicholls looks set tot have this as the target, this looks like a champion trainer special to me.
Bakbenscher is 3 from 5 on soft and I cannot ignore him either. He could be the fly in the ointment. I just don’t trust his jumping enough for this although if King has straightened that out, he could be a major threat.
Fistral Beach for the Major and I really like this one, so lump in for the win. 13/2 at the moment with Hills but I suspect with Nacarat clearly fancied everywhere but here, that price may drift.
3.15pm The Eider, Newcastle
4m 1f around Newcastle when it is bottomless is more than a stamina test it is an insane non stop energy sapping war of attrition. This really will be a race that will suit a careful deliberate jumper. We might only get two / three finishers so a huge priced outsider that would definitely get round may not be the worse selection ever either…
That said, there are only two horses in the race who have won at the distance. Comply or Die, the Murphy national hero horse who was the Majors first ever Grand National winner; is one.
The other is the selection, Belon Gale. This sort fits the bill perfectly and to be honest I would take a slice of the National antepost too . 11/2 is generally available. The Northumberland National it won last time stepping up beyond 3m for the first time was a significant step up in form, this looks like the National plot horse for the Howard Johnson team.
Minella Boys could be a threat but the Sussex National while requiring a staying type, is not the same extreme test as this.
Have a slice and send me the postcard.
The Other Horseracing Tips
With the two big races out of the way, let us review a couple of other fancies.
Back to Sandown, the Majors betting resolutions dictated that you should not get too stuck in to novice / juvenile types.
That said, the Henderson horse, Molotof, looks very interesting in the opener at Sandown (1.55). It is second favourite to a Nicholls horse, Tonic Mellysse, but incredibly the ownership is the same. The Munir clan look to have sourced two good sorts from France. The reason I like the second of the two is that Henderson clearly targets some of his better novices (from his embarrassment of riches) at this race. Previous winners include two of Hendersons Champion Hurdle sorts in Punjabi and Binocular.
That must be a good indicator that this is one of the better novices in an outstanding yard and thus, 10/3 Bet365 is a must bet price for the Major.
3.35 Kempton – Pullyourfingerout could win this grade 2.
Toubab has been the subject of a talking down from the yard and while I really respect Celtus (again a Munir owned horse), I think there will plenty here trying to cut each others throats. If AP McCoy can get pullyourfingerout to settle, it is well worth a bet that he can pick these off in the home straight. 10/1 generally available. The Powell horses are in fine order (31% strike rate the last two weeks). Smash into this one.
At Lingfield, the 2.10 Blue Square Sprint Series Final is a 6f affair that is a tasty conundrum. nothing appeals more than Qadar whose change of home seems to have lit up the horse. I am certain a 5lb rise will not stop this one … 6/1 Bet365 is a serious mistake. While Qadar may have fallen from grace, the new stable seem to have resparked some passion and he is still 23lbs inferior to the height of his racing mark. Artic Lynx is a danger to all looking for a hat-trick and 100% record at Lingfield.
Duff is the class act in the Lingfield 3.10 and the Major has backed Hitchens many times in quality races like this listed affair. I have to say that Anne of Kiev would have carried the dough but stall 1 is a nightmare. The one the Major plumps for is rank outsider, Elna Bright. 33/1 with Bet 365, trainer form a slight concern but visor fitted and a sharper effort last time out give this one a small shout, 33/1 it is not.
To the sports fields of Britain…..
I always seem to back teams against my own club West Brom, I promise it is not some sort of self-abuse, I just think Albion are there for the taking. The last two home games, our opposition has been 3/1 for the win and both ended in score draws. I maintain this line on Albion being lesser value to Stoke today where you can back the home team at an incredible EVENS with Hills. Get stuck in, load the large cannon and KABBBOOOOOOOMMMM! Although the Major will not celebrate, it is like scoring against an old club, it is not the done thing – Martin I promise this is not a wind up.
Victor Chandler have lost their minds offering Nottingham Forest at 2/1 to win in south London. Millwall are alright but nowhere as good as Forest who are quietly going about their business in an impressive style. The squad is big enough to cope with the current injury list, I want them on my side today.
Bolton look overpriced too at 14/5 to win at St James Park. Sturridge has added an extra dimension to Bolton who are in with a far better chance than that of picking up three points.
Equally Sunderland at 4/1 to win at Goodison is a must bet for the Major. Everton may be missing Cahill too which is a significant blow, they are a really hot and cold team where Sunderland have earned their Europa League chasing position.
In the Rugby, I think the French will hunker down and make it a tight game at Twickenham. This makes the first try scorer bet on Ashton a no bet despite the appeal that the young gun clearly has.
I prefer to back Italy with a plus ten handicap mark against Wales at evens (Bet 365) – This is normally a close encounter and despite the drubbing last time out, I think this is a decent Italy team, home advantage could see them win today without the need for the handicap reassurance.
Being smacked around the pitch by the Dutch is not a good warm up when your next ODI is against Tendulkar and Sehwag. 1/2 on for India who should beat England comfortably.
The NAP has to be Fistral Beach at 13/2 – He has carried my money too often without return, he will come good today.
The lucky 15 will be Fistral Beach, Molotof, Belon Gale and Notts Forest – That should pay for Christmas!
William Hill Offer
Now before you start thinking, has the Major sold out, please understand that I have no affiliation to any bookmaker and earn no income from this site.
However, a word must be said today for William Hill. they are offering a £25 free bet on sign up (fairly standard I hear you say) PLUS a £30 free bet for using the Racing Post Iphone / Android app.
This must be a go for it scenario. Sign up an account with £30, you know they are going to give you a £25 free bet. then go for the app too and place your bet through it. You have to email in to confirm it but you will get £55 of free bets to your original £30 stake.
Hills are best price on the NAP too! Have a chunky slice of that and thank me at tea time.
Tonight, I suggest Game Pie. A hearty ale to accompany. Try the Butty Bach from the Wye valley – Light, tasty and refreshing. Throw a log on the fire as the evening draws in, sit content, take your dog to the pub and allow him to lie on the flagstone floor, throw him the odd scratching.
When you feel that wad of notes in your pocket, smile and order the good brandy, the Major is happy for you. Don’t consider this the comeback, we were never gone.