Tag Archives: balder succes

The Saturday Aintree Grand National (not) Sermon…

Good evening from the Major who writes from the house of a good friend, the night is long, the body weary.  The evening weather is still and close, warm for the season, after some ale, the Major shall keep things brief.

The company of good friends can ease the minds worry and tonight has proven such, the valve opened, somewhere deep in the system, the central boiler gives a command, through the lengthy network of pipes, steam hisses, anxiety is distributed, the pressure releases. Wonderful.

For once I feel tired and so few thoughts spill from my mind for your delectation, I have less time to regale you with tales of Victorian military adventure; tonight you receive less, than usual, glimpse of my dark mind, the vortex is sealed.  This is probably not a bad thing.  Just have a healthy day.

The Thursday Aintree card was a triumph, Friday, a dog.  The Grand National is laid before us… courage, hold your nerve, still now, be still, wait, I will release the order in time, until then, keep that finger still and your shoulder tight, feeling the warmth of your brother in arms.

To the Grand National Card:

Saturday Aintree Tips

The opening novice hurdle is a challenge, the Supreme form is starting to look superior with Josses Hill and Sargeant Reckless clear of the rest; this could be a frightening prediction of the sheer excellence of Vautour, let us hope a new national hunt star is born.  Wilde Blue Yonder was in the chasing pack and is booked for a place here you would think.  Lac Fontana was relentless if not spectacular as a winner of the county and while this trip might be suitable, he needs a test and I do not trust that he is the best horse.

I did like Volnay de Thaix who was an impressive winner in handicap company last time, has some nicely tied form with Iriving and is proven on the ground.  However, yesterday, I liked the chances of Tistory for the same connections but ignored the fact that Barry Geraghty had voted against and I face the same issue here.  Once bitten.  I am following Geraghty and picking Oscar Hoof who can be sniffed at 11/2 in a few places.

Trifolium ran well in the Arkle, a race in which a few eyebrows were raised on the entrant Ted Veale, that proved a good entry as he ran well.  However, I make a strong case for Hinterland.  He was rerouted to the Champion Chase after the defection of Sprinter Sacre and against that better company he was performing with credit before parting company with the rider.  Balder Succes rates a danger but I am lumpy on this one.

In the stayers hurdle, At Fishers Cross gets a fine chance to take a Grade 1 but I am not currently a fan.  He has suffered with back issues , as has the Major; allowing me to empathise with my equine friend.  He has not looked as fluent at the obstacles and I attribute this to his physical issues.  As such, if he were mine and allow me to offer this advice with the surety it deserves, as I am a far greater judge than his day to day work riders, jockey, trainer and owner who parted with real money to acquire him; he should be in a field, thinking about whether he goes chasing next year.  Not for me.

The market has differing ideas about Whisper who can be backed at 13/2 and 4/1.  There is a lot to like about the way this horse travels but I thought his winning effort in the Coral was both excellent and draining.  Melodic Rendezvous surely needs heavy ground, which leaves me the uncomfortable choice of Zarkander a general 3/1 shot.  I am not the biggest fan to be honest but as Holmes suggests, eliminate the impossible…

Holywell has done a lot of advertising for the chances of Victor Hewgo – I would not put anyone off but feel we can find some value.  Unioniste has an excellent course record and I prefer that one of the two at the top of the market.  Yet while he won his only start on good, he is one from four on good to soft and I am not convinced that this rattling surface is ideal.  I am out on a limb though and backing 25/1 (Sportingbet) shot Our Mick who is in excellent hands to overcome a period in the doldrums and at least has been targeted at this race.

I am not a national fan, read the post two back to see my view but I am abstaining on this piece of tradition.  Good luck to you if you play, my own position is weak and hypocritical but alas.

When I ponder the unlucky ones in the festival such as Calipto and The New One; Katgary is in the same file.  He was almost bought to a standstill before rallying home and failing only by a whisker.  Get on at 3s.

I went to the Grand National meeting a few years back and had no joy all day.  Being part of a group of chaps who were planning a full frontal assault on the delights of Liverpool city centre that evening, I felt bad that I had provided them no additional ammunition.  One uncouth gentlemen in the group had been betting under his own steam and had made a couple of pounds and had the vulgarity to gloat.  Thankfully, we loaded up the kitty again and had an on the nose bet on the bumper winner, Steps to Freedom who had a superb Carberry special to come scorching wide and late to win at 12/1.  Our £100 had been secured at 14s after an extensive walk up and down the pitches, there were scenes.

There is going to be some pace in this and I am backing Ballybolley who is OK with the good ground, if he is a shade of the last Twiston Davies Aintree bumper winner, The New One, we are in luck.

In the football, Man City are a snip at 4/11, that should be in the acca, Wolves are 7/10, that should be a founding block too.  Too add the spice, QPR at 21/10.

The Martin Hill bet is an each way trixie (weak I know) on Oscar Hoof, Hinterland and Katgary.

Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Kempton, Newcastle, Fairyhouse and Chepstow, some football…. News that terrorises your soul

Good evening from the Major who writes from a blustery Worcestershire where the gusts cut deep into your torso, cold biting at the innards, sending you scurrying for shelter.    Since I started the post late into the night and recommenced on this fine morning, I can now report on the morning condition of this land, a gentle pastel blue sky with soft white distant cloud, souls awakening, spring is here.

The Major landed some decent bets last week and the form continued on the twitter account (@tdl123 for you modern sorts) where this week, I pointed towards a 22/1 winner and a 9/2 winner on subsequent days.  This combined with a decent weekend just passed, created a liquid position, suitable for funding a small military intervention at Cheltenham in a matter of weeks.

Sadly, foolishly, gluttonously and gloriously, the Major set about the destruction of these new-found resources.  I have a remarkable skill to be able to bet at pace and by the time I found myself anxiously awaiting updates on a game that Lazio were losing one nil at home to Laprasador Zobronogionopovforgorovitopolova or some such thing I had never heard of; well, the die was cast – Ah, the truth one feels after wasting some money.  I cannot describe it, however, it is well documented in my favourite film, The Sting.  Robert Redford, having come across a roll of notes fit to choke a mid-sized donkey, takes a spin out with a floozy and manages to blow an astonishing amount on a crooked roulette table.  With gasps around him and his company in outrage at the sheer stupidity, wastefulness and brashness of the act, he flicks his smart hat forward an inch, puts his hand to his chin and just for one moment, takes a sharp intake of breath.  He had it spot on.

Perhaps the fuzziness in my decision making came from the restless existence I stumble through.  Snatching a handful of hours sleep in each evening, leads to a shaky existence.  In between the pools of slumber, lie monsters.  I tend to listen to the World Service, drifting in and out of the genteel voices that convey such messages of terror.  Ukraine, Syria and this week, like a bucket of cold water, North Korea.  I like to keep the night world seperate from the day, but the edges are blurring, feelings that I have deep in the night are invading into the light and I shall sahre them my friends, unburden myself of their terrible weight.

Defectors and satellite evidence has given a UN panel enough to provide a report of the sheer human horror being played out within their prison camps.  I would urge anyone not of strong disposition to skip the next paragraph or two for, dear readers, I shall flinch not for sharing some of the disgusting human tragedy.  Let me issue fair warning, it is of incredible stomach churning strength.

Crimes against humanity is a phrase in the modern vernacular that is rolled out to convey a general idea that some people have committed some evil act upon another.  To penetrate beyond the words, you need to go beyond the general concept and reach the detail.  We all sit conditioned to mans ability to inflict pain on man, history tells us that it has happened through the millenia.  Dare I suggest, we even feel a tired malaise towards it, this is not acceptance but certainly a sense that we have heard it before.

Let me shake that from you, if you will allow me, again what I write, only reflects the truth but for those who may be offended, it is not my intention to do so dear reader, please skip forwards to the sports.

You can end up in a North Korean camp for any small crime.  Some are there because they owned a bible, some because they rolled a cigarette using paper that had the image of their inglorious leader upon it.  Many are there simply because they are related to people who committed these heinous crimes.  Yes, in North Korea, they arrest three generations of criminals, irrespective of who committed the act on grounds of association.  When you commit a ‘crime‘ you risk your family.

When Dante created his circles of hell, his invention shocked the world and offered dark insight into the human mind.  He could not have replicated the evil that man is truly capable of, those thoughts that lurk deepest in the mind, once in an environment in which they are free to be expressed.  Becoming pregnant is often a death sentence, most babies born in prison camps are still born.  Yet having given birth, being ordered under pain of death to drown your baby in a bucket of water, well.  Would you do it, it is hard to imagine the horror.  What would that leave you with after you had committed such a depraved act.  For those, that like I, might think, I am incapable of it, I would have to die myself rather than do it… Would you?  Practically, the babies fate is sealed anyway, why die yourself?  More than that, unless you have been subject to the condition, how can you even know how you might react.  Who knows his own mind when his very existence is under threat.

The stories from these camps have been compiled from the reports of the few that have gotten out of them.  One a defected prison guard describes how the guards were rewarded for killing the prisoners, the rewards were education.

Teenagers forced to witness the execution of their mothers and brothers.  People surviving only on what they might catch, frogs, snakes… To eat a Salamander, you cannot bite it, its sour juice is inedible but you must kill it and then swallow it whole.  The prisoners sought out pregnant rats, believing the placenta to offer a rich food source able to provide much needed nutrients to the young of the camps.  Others searched through the excrement of animals for undigested nuts.

Death must come as welcome relief.  As the head of the panel who compiled the report said, after the German concentration camps, the world wrung its hands and exclaimed that if only we had known.  We know about North Korea.

I am sorry for the horror my friends but it lies weary and heavy on my mind, like my head contains an egg yolk, rolling from side to side, resting and pressurising my skull, causing me to shift throughout the night.

I usually dislike any polarised view.  The world does not work in black and white.  In exceptional circumstances such as these, there is no debate.

The radio brings trouble from other corners too.  The people of Ukraine have paid a price but will get their freedom.  They get the same in Egypt.  In Syria, the displaced still lead a marginal existence.

Be thankful folks, we are the fortunate few.  If you have the opportunity, donate something to a worthy cause.  It puts into context the woes of our own poor, not that one extreme wrong makes another OK, yet when heavy complaint is received about poverty, benefits cuts and food banks – Context is required.  We won the lottery of life.

Anyway, you find it flippant to move to the sports after sharing such dark thoughts.  You are right.  However, in the washing machine that is the life I lead, writing the Saturday sermon is a fixed point in time on which I can rely – I can lean upon that fixed point in the week with confidence.

To the sports….

Chepstow Tips

Chepstow is heavy and it is raining.  When Chepstow is heavy, their clay cloying soil is like a heavy glue and it takes a special breed of horses to get through it, genuine mud larks.  Those that like it soft will not do, we need the ones that revel in the mud.

In the opener, a tentative stake will be placed on the favourite Monkey Kingdom who is the only horse to have won on heavy ground.  What is more, the form stacks up with a defeat dished out to Mickie, Henry Daly’s smart grey mare.  5/2 is available with Bet365.  Gate Please is a risk especially as he looks the sort to be better of these longer distances and the minimum trip was way too short last time.

In the second, I am giving Big Society another chance.  It seems odd to be cutting some slack to a horse with jumping difficulties at Chepstow, a course I chalk up as being a more difficult chasing test.  Yet, the slow ground might give him that bit more time at the fences and given his love of mud, I think 6/1 is a fair price.

One day Swnymor will come good again and a collective sigh from folk like me will fill the air.  Some shrewdies will crow of their winnings on twitter and the world will move on.  The thing is, he looked such a damn fine novice, would have won a Grade 1 that was picked up by Ruacana with Caid du Berlais in second, after a final flight fall in January 2013 and since then, has looked anything but himself (1 place from 6 starts, mark down to 129 from 143).  When it wins, it will do so without the burden of the Majors stake.  Alder Mairi should be really suited by this test.  Should be able to bowl along relatively untroubled off the front and at Chepstow, that can be dangerous.  Have a juicy slice at 7/2 (Bet365).

In the 3.05, Poole Master looks to have finally got into gear, I knew there was a good performance in him but he does not look the reliable sort to me and now contends with a near stone rise in the weights.  Fago might be focussed by his new headgear but has the burden of top weight which is going to be a hell of a steadier in these conditions.  We have seen how well Venetia horses do in the mud and light weight Last Shot has a chance of being involved but the Major is going to be on Grey Gold who dealt up a beating of the highest quality to Desert Cry (rated 147) who is a McCain inmate.  That day, Grey Gold was reversing previous form and the heavier conditions he encountered may have been a factor.  Load the cannons at 7/2.

That’ll do for me in Wales….

Kempton Tips

I am always a bit cautious about using the word tips, it implies I am a tipster.  If you are new to these parts, you might assume so, I assure you I am not.  I am barely profitable and as you certainly know, certainly unhinged.  I do not charge, ask you to sign up for anything, earn from advertising or make any claim.  I welcome gentle humble sorts and would ask the riff raff to leave after you have finished the drink you have.

Kempton has a few nice Graded races today and we get a good look at Irving, one of Ditcheats best festival hopes.  Nicholls has been waiting to unleash the horse once the deep ground has passed and today he gets proper chasing ground at Kempton – Shabash.  Nicholls has done well at this meeting in recent years, it is a nice interval from Cheltenham and some of his will be right on the boil now.

In the first Grade 2, the juvenile hurdle, Nicholls rocks up with a double barrel shotgun – He has an excellent record in the race and is represented by Solar Impulse and Alcala both in the same ownership, both having won this season already.  Jockey bookings suggest the former is the one to rely on but the Major is skipping both for a shot with the favourite Activial.  Tentative selection only as so many improvers are lurking but Fehily + Fry = Monies!  31 from 88 in the last two years and 6 from 15 on track.  Activial had good french form, has a triumph entry and was probably on ground too firm when beaten by Calipto who looks the business too….

Fox Appeal is the choice of many over this longer trip but I think Balder Succes will still out perform him.  His jumping is sound and accurate and I think that there is nothing to fear in these longer trips for him.

The lump on Irving.  5/4 is insane.  I am convinced, load the large artillery my good people.  Yes, First Mohican is good but this Irving is definitely the bet, especially if the rain stays away.

Fehily and Nicholls team up with Bury Parade at 9/2 in the Grade 3 handicap chase and I will have a small interest.  The horse brings good form into the race and this team are unstoppable.

Newcastle Eider Day

I have grave concerns about the Eider being run on heavy ground.  Nobody wants to see exhausted horses stumbling over the line, it is unedifying and not what the sport is about.  From 16 runners, I think just 5 will finish.  Not a race in which the Major wishes to bet.

Edmund Kean should take the small field opener – A few of his opponents boast the same like of mud as he does but none has the form he has.  It is the only thing I want to back at Newcastle.


It is an obvious pick but Adriana Des Mottes in the opener looks a good thing to me.  11/10 is available but it is taking that Ruby selects this rather than the other Mullins horse who looks equally well equipped, Abbysial.  Adriana trounced the Punchestown opposition and looks a very nice prospect. A Mullins 1-2 can be backed as well.

This might not be much fun for you to read, a little obvious I know, but I am suggesting a massive Mullins day at Fairyhouse – A little like Nicholls, his string will be boiling up to Cheltenham now and I am following up the opener with multiples involving Beluckyagain 8/13 (2.00), Wicklow Gold 4/1 (2.35), On His Own 7/4 (3.10), Kalmann 3/1 (3.45)

Disappointed in me… find yourself a tipster!

In the football… Arsenal 4/11 and Manchester United 8/11 are easy starting points.  Derby 4/5 and Reading 23/20 get us more interesting and Wolves at Brentford 9/5, adds the spice.  I think my own team Albion might get the highly valuable three points at home to Fulham too 5/6.

May your dinner be in a fine seafood restaurant where the scallops are served seared and tender, fine crisp white wine flows, a clarity of thought exists and the most wondrous company is enjoyed.  Drink freely and remember your fortunes.

The Martin Hill bet involves Irving, Adriana Des Mottes, Edmund Kean, Grey Gold and Reading.  I suggest they are set up in trebles (10 bets), fourfolds (5 bets) and an accumulator, just in case the mothership wants to dock.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Wetherby, Sandown and Ffos Las Tips

Good Evening from a rural Worcestershire where the lukewarm and damp day hastily retreats to the advancing coolness of the night.

One follower has been adding some detailed comments to the Cheltenham Antepost pages.  I recommend a read of the comments left at the bottom of this page by Mr Freer…. rather insightful, much more than the Major’s recent contributions, in fact…

Why are you here?  Seeking tips?  Are you feeling OK?  It is only fair that, if you have stumbled here for the first time, that you are warned of recent fortunes.  Mala tempora currunt.

Last weekend the Major experienced a Black Saturday.  I managed to get two odds on shots beaten in The New One and Irish Saint as well as coming down on the wrong side in the Reve de Sivola v Oscar Whisky battle and generally blundering, in person,  around Cheltenham racecourse like some wounded blinded beast, wailing and waving fistfuls of notes randomly in some vain failed attempt to find something meaningful to ease the pain.

Instead losses rolled on relentlessly, remorselessly… trundling on, irrespective of any remedial actions, I was  merely the incidental cost, the beast cares not.

I hope you avoided the clutches.  Sadly 400 innocent civilians read those tips I posted last week, let us pray that each attained salvation by abstention.

Yet also remember that failure teaches us more than victory.  In the throes of splendour we seldom seek the truth.  It is more likely that we accept our spoils without questioning the logic of whether they were earned or garnered through wind of fortune.

Yet losses invoke a different emotion, one that demands self-examination.  For example, why did you ignore the fact that AP McCoy was slimming down for the ride on Mr Watson?  Why indeed….

So, some good comes from the loss, as Milton would say, a silver lining to our sable cloud.  Losses keep us sharp, they are our gambling friends.

What, I hear you cry, that’s just something failed tipsters say… You are probably right.  Yet, you are also here, drawn back to the light, hungry for the elixir, joining me to find the mothership.   Do you lack logic or do you have an abundance of loyalty?  I hope it is the latter, have faith that we will be rewarded. Adeste Fideles.

To the sports, and let us be rewarded today – We need victories in these battles to pad our Cheltenham War Chests.  We have taken the Queens salt, we will suppress the mutiny… miles gloriosus

2.05 Ffos Las – Welsh Champion Hurdle

The Welsh version of the Champion Hurdle is a limited handicap over two and a half miles and so bears little resemblance to the Cheltenham show-piece in just six weeks time.

Oscara Dara arrives looking a danger to all having won the Lanzarote last time out for Henderson.  Off top weight, this will take some getting but the calamitous hurdling at the last at Kempton suggested that a mere stone raise in the weights might be no problem with a clean round of jumping.  There to be shot at.

Balder Succes has excuses for some of his runs and has potentially more to give. Yet I am not certain heavy ground will bring out the best in this one.

Double Ross is arguably in the handicappers grip now but if you overlook the last run over a trip that was too short, then his earlier form was impressive.  An each way consideration now back up in trip.

The Major though is going to tip Tanerko Emery for the Welsh Champion Hurdle.  He handled a hefty burden when winning across the Irish Sea over two miles.  That day he gave the impression that further was needed and he gets the extra distance here.  He is two from two on heavy ground and the ownership needs noting too.  Dai Walters owns both the horse and the track and you have to think this was the plan all along with Tanerko… have a slice at 7/2, meaty enough to tickle your sense of adventure, tempered enough to acknowledge the danger of Oscara Dara.

3.10 Novice Chase Ffos Las

The early price of 9/4 about Benheir seems a bit of value in this four runner affair.  My tip has always run pretty well at Ffos Las and while he failed to impress in a graded race at Warwick, he made a terrible mistake in the early hustle and never recovered, easily forgiven.  Curtis and McCoy team up for the owners of Teaforthree, have a slice.

3.20 Wetherby – The Towton Novices

The last twelve runnings of the Towton have gone to short price horses, bar the victory of 14/1 Heltornic in 2007.  Ian Williams has won the last two runnings but has no runner today.

This race is wide open and with just seven runners, feels like one the Major can crack.

Super Duty has one of the most impressive pieces of form with a second to the Arkle dominator Simonsig.  He is in good hands.

Fourjacks is taking a sizable step up in trip and grade and is highly interesting.  Brian Harding has an excellent record for the yard too.

Houblon des Obleaux is an unlikely runner.

Goulanes though looks the fly in the ointment for all.  This horse is crying out for proper fences to jump but has made a decent hurdler none the less.  Decent points experience and a flat course on proper chasing ground is likely to be exactly what he needs and he gets the Majors vote at a general 3/1.

Sandown Tips

Sandown host a card of chases including the Scilly Isles where Captain Conan faces a penalty kick ahead of his main seasonal objectives at Cheltenham.

In the 3.35, Brackloon High is well fancied by Mr Freer but although I see the attraction, I prefer the chances of both Summery Justice and Keppols Hill.  The latter will be all the rage sporting the fancy connections but I think his jumping might not stand the test of the track as well in this company.  My tip has a slightly shaky profile having been off the track for some time but he is being entered back at a level suggesting that Venetia Williams has high hopes.  There is a risk he goes to Ffos Las.

To the football…

Charlton are overpriced at Palace in the South London derby, 7/2 is too big in a game that will be closer than that.

Watford are a shade odds on to beat Bolton at home and I am a buyer.  Watford have been my money train team and despite a derailing at Bristol City, I am still all aboard.  In the week, Zola rested six first team players including the talisman up front, Vydra… get stuck in.

QPR are also a shade odds on to beat Norwich at home.  This is a decent price as Arry starts to work his magic again.  Whatever you think about his style of management and propensity to drain resources from overwhelmingly generous owners, he gets a team playing.

Swansea continue to be grossly underestimated.  23/10 to beat West Ham is a big price.  I thought Swansea were very unlucky not to take all three points from Sunderland who held on grimly.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is: Swansea, Goulanes, Tankerko Emery and Benheir…

May your dinner be glorious, in a small restaurant, run by people who care about the service they give.  A small but select menu of delights, clean crisp white table cloths and a river running close by.  Ah, I can picture it vividly in my mind.

Courage, roll those dice. memento mori.