Tag Archives: caid du berlais

The Saturday Sermon – National Hunt Feast from Cheltenham, Doncaster and Leopardstown – A splash of FA Cup Magic too

Good morning from the Major who writes from the bed gazing serenely across a brightening Worcestershire dawn.  Once again the land is waterlogged, the brook over my road and down 50 metres has flooded, the temporary lake resting with the confidence of permanence.

The Major caught rest in snatches through the night, the time between filled with a headphone in one ear, dreamily listening to the World Service, drifting in and out of concentration.  The words and stories came to me as images, patchy and alarming.  Two dead building World Cup stadiums in Brazil, one fell from a roof.  Syrian refugees.  A bomb, half a ton of high explosive in Cairo destroying the oldest Islamic museum in the world, thousands of artefacts dating to before the time of Christ.

Coming awake is like leaving another world behind.  I need a shower to leave that night world where it belongs.  To delineate properly the border, reinforcements are needed to stop it seeping into the day world.

This week, Barney Curley landed a mothership.  Now, enough has been said for me not to bore you with my opinions but safe to say I love the skullduggery of racing as much as the next man and the suggestion it puts people off is a nonsense.  People are attracted to the richness.  It helps that I managed a touch on it myself.  I saw the Eye of the Tiger gamble and got 7/2 overnight, thanks to @yahwey I caught one other too, Indus Valley which I got at 10s.  Attractive prices but oh, how I wish I had gotten wind of the other two…

Cheltenham races today – Trials day.  I would be present but for the birthday of number one son, Daniel, he eight – Under ideal circumstances I would have taken him but at the age, the Science Museum and friends and family seems more attractive to him… He is a long term project, give me time.

Last week showed well, we travelled into the Sermon perfectly with a 6/1 winner and hit the mark with Melodic Rendevouz – I still managed to make the weekend a losing one after piling in most my bets to multiples including Wigan… They lost three nil at Doncaster.  The misery piled up in sedimentary layers… I saw they went one nil down… Then we went live to the Keepmoat for a goal update and it was two… The energy for the weekends punting seeping away, rapidly draining.

The same was true yesterday, after lunch I tuned in to see that Noel Fehily had won in the opener at 12/1 – What a start to the day… My Fehily multiple was looking in fine order.. It was to be the last winner he had – In fact, I did not manage another placed horse.  Disappointing.  Still, there will be many a false dawn before our own Curley sized mothership.  Indeed, you may have time to grow an oak from an acorn or you may be planning the spending tonight… who can tell.

Daub thy warpaint young warriors, we shall ride flank to flank, tight formation, with lances raised awaiting the order…. To the sports..

Cheltenham Card

No surprise, Cheltenham has gone heavy overnight so we are looking for some horses who can take it.  Out goes, The Giant Bolster (never liked him anyway), in comes Restless Harry (loves heavy and is Pricewise).

Goodwood Mirage is one of the most expensive national hunt recruits you will find, reaching 380k for his services, you would expect a lot.  Yet, price does not buy success in racing, particularly national hunt and the memory of Un Temps Pour Tout, who tempted me in with his 450k price tag (most expensive ever by the way) and failed.

Nick Williams has not had many runners but has Le Rocher who held Kentucky Hyden on heavy at Chepstow – On that form he is of clear interest and proven on the ground, hmmm.  Then the favourite, Vincezio Mio – Clearly Nicholls thinks a lot of him.  Ronaldinho is not a forlorn 20/1 shot if you read the list of horses the trainer has won this race with in the past – Katchit, Franchoek, Walkon and Grumeti.  Plus a 100/1 shot took this in 2010.  His Newbury race might not be that bad and although he was well beaten, he was prominent until after the last – He may be a non stayer, he may have needed it – We should certainly afford him the same flexibility we might afford Goodwood Mirage or Vincenzo Mio on those grounds.

It is a difficult race to make a call on.  Nicholls thinks a lot of Vincenzo Mio but he has not traditionally aimed his top guns at this.  I have to support Le Rocher over Kentucky Hyden but Nick Williams has not had many runners lately.  Sod it, I am sticking with the money… Goodwood Mirage  gets the tentative nod at 5/1.

Dark Lover has both course and ground form and so gets the nod in the second race which is a trappy handicap.  I considered the chances of Samingarry and Renard D’Irlande who both could go well, the former having the measure of subsequent grade 1 winner, Annacotty who I struggle to see overhauling him on these terms.  Anyway, 9/1 is available about my selection, with 10s in a place, if you have ever heard of Unibet!

I am not convinced that genuine heavy ground will suit Double Ross and so with an 8lb rise to contend with, I am going against the improver who I backed last time out.  Cedre Bleu is a horse I have followed and I like his chances but I am sticking with Venetia Williams and Aiden Coleman, a combination that is having a great season.  Shangani was a good festival runner and should be OK in conditions.

The Argento Chase market is led by Rocky Creek who is decent but at the prices, I am overlooking.  The same combination I liked in the previous saddle up with Houblon Des Obeaux, who has a number of fans.  Pricewise beat me to the punch with pointing out the chances of Restless Harry who loves it this soft and came back with a bang last time out.  The Giant Bolster needs good ground and Harry Topper is ridiculously burdened with the most weight of all.  No, regardless of ones thunder having been stolen, I am with Restless Harry too.

Maybe Lizzie Kelly will prove a great jockey, maybe it is the folly of love (she is the daughter of the trainers wife, who is also the owner – follow?) but I am surprised that a jockey with just ten rides to her name gets a ride on a horse with a live Grade 2 chance.  That said, she has won 4 starts, including twice with this horse, last time on New Years Day at this course.  Not for me.

No, I shall focus on the two market leaders, Red Sherlock and Rathvinden, both of whom are proven in the mud.  I am readily behind Red Sherlock who has been winning lesser races effortlessly.  His preparation is one that suggests the stable (although not my favourite yard) hold him in high regard and I am minded that he at least has the course form.

Then the big one and the big question – What remains of the incredible ability of Big Bucks?  He is only eleven but is bidding to win having been off the course for over a year.  If he was not so talented, passing him over would be easy.  His age and these injuries mean are hard to overcome and there are a couple of progressive horses lining up against him.

In these staying races, age can play less of a part as speed is less important than class.  Yet, the age does trouble me.  Big Bucks has occasionally looked like a horse that is not straight forward.  He has lost the jockey that really understood him too.  It is enough for me to look elsewhere.  I may well look very foolish come 3pm but my prediction is… pulled up.  I really hope that he comes home OK – Nobody wants to see a champion humbled, let alone injured.

I was a big fan of At Fishers Cross coming into the season but you have to be tempered by his performances.  I am not sure what has happened there but he looks one to pick up again after he has had a summer on his back.  Mind you, a return to form would be dangerous for the field as he is unbeaten at Cheltenham in three starts.

Reve de Sivola is a horse I have backed on a few occasions but never quite get right.  He seems better than ever now back in staying hurdles and my thinking is torn between his proven class and the potential of the Mullins raider Boston Bob.  Reve de Sivola causes me some consternation about Cheltenham having won twice from twelve starts…

Sod it, 9/1 is too big – I am hoping, it is hope, that At Fishers Cross has whatever issues behind him and can bring back the magic.  Surprise!

It could be that throughout the card I have not scored a single winner.  On the other hand, we could be holding that mothership ticket going into the last.  Seeing a Brian Ellison horse being backed (Totalize) is a signal but I am thinking that the handicapper may have taken a chance with Lac Fontana who is 7/1 generally and 8s with 888.com ironically.

Doncaster Tips

Is the drop in trip for Annie Power going to inconvenience her… no.  Is 1/5 a backable price… probably – She has been dominant in her races and looks a top class prospect.  It certainly looks like this is a signal that she is heading for the Champion Hurdle, which makes the Pricewise (third time I have mentioned him this morning!) 14/1 advice very sound.  Reading between the lines, I cannot understand why the yard would want to do it and have come to an unfounded speculative conclusion that Mullins himself would go to the stayers race but that Ricci wants a Champion Hurdle runner and ultimately, it is the owners horse.

Anyway, the two horses I am interested in at Doncaster are Caid Du Berlais who I want a lumpy piece of at an incredible 9/2 with 888.com (generally 11/4).  That price may be wrong and I am happy at 11/4 if I cannot get on.

I find Mart Lane an interesting runner in the Sky Bet Chase and his last run looks interesting.  Unioniste is no doubt a very good stayer but I am concerned that his exploits in Ireland both expose his limitations at the top level (Still excellent in this context) and more troubling, may have taken a physical toll – It was a tough race.

Alas, I am following a horse that will enjoy conditions and may well have some more improvement – Kruzhlinin.  He can be backed at 11s… Have a slice.

Leopardstown

Paul Townend has suffered the effect of Ruby being at home more weekends this year but gets a chance today on the Mullins first string in Ireland.  I rate him as a jockey and think he can take the Grade 2 Novice Chase on Djakadam.   Only 6/4 but I think this one will make a better chaser than hurdler and although less experienced and younger than his rivals, he gets some handy weight too.

Will Quick Jack keep up his relentless rise through the weights… Yes.

FA Cup action continues and my usual aim is to find overpriced Premier LEague teams away at Championship of League one clubs.  Swansea 21/20 at Birmingham City, Hull 10/11 at Southend and in League 1, Walsall at 7/5 and Wolves at 10/7.

The Martin Hill bet is a yankee including Quick Jack, Caid du Berlais, Red Sherlock and Wolves (if he can keep his breakfast down).

May your dinner be extravagant and in the best of company, with her wanton eye telling you to where her mind runs.

Courage friends, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Betfair Hurdle Tip at 25/1 (as well as two other cheeky ones!)… What are they doing with Bog Warrior?

Good evening from the Major who writes from the comfort of his own home returning after business away.  Worcestershire is a little blustery and cold, a night to be indoors.

Today the tips at Bangor performed poorly enough.  Two winners from five is reasonable for a return if they were not 5/4 and 2/5 respectively.  Still, at least we felt the blood pumping.

It is not long until the Cheltenham festival.  The Major will continue to post his Cheltenham content here.  That feeling deep down is building, a low humming buzz.. transponders are activating, the signal from the central station is pulsating out across the land… can you hear it, bend your ear ‘and the tapes go up for the Supreme to get the 2013 festival underway…’

When I think about why I love racing so much, the word that sum it up is richness.  In my last post I lamented the loss of Darlan and crassly compared the loss of life to the beauty of the sport.  It is a harsh calculation.

The richness of racing is a beautiful thing.  In a world where entertainment output is increasingly simple and targeted at morons, racing remains a deep subject weaving form, language, art, science, human nature and luck into a fine tapestry.  When I first attended a course, amongst other basics, I craved to know what ‘off the bridle’ meant.  I do not believe the sport elitist, the answers are accessible.  Yet, there is such a depth to the sport, with time comes wisdom.

I believe it Descartes that suggested our lives were like sparks from a flame.  As children the spark is bright, we are hungry for knowledge and carry open minds. As we age, our minds gnarl, the spark dims, we long for knowledge no more.

To the sports, keep the spark alive…

Newbury Tips

The opening maiden is a classic punch up between the two top yards represented by Chatterbox 4/5 (Henderson) and Lac Fortana 7/4 (Nicholls).  Many will see the form of the former has a strong feel to it having put My Tent or Yours away and the latter is a debutante for Nicholls from a very strong novice string he has to deploy.

I am not convinced that the former has shown that much and giving more than a stone to a what is likely a very good horse in Lac Fortana might be a big ask.

The Denman Chase at 2.25 is a chance for Silviniaco Conti to cement his Gold Cup claims.  The 4/6 shot has been impressive this year and along with Long Run, he is my idea of the Gold Cup winner.  He has to put this lot away easily for me to be right.  The Giant Bolster is nowhere near good enough to take advantage off just 4lbs lighter in my view and has been over-rated since the last Gold Cup.

The 3pm is the Game Spirit and Wishfull Thinking is the current favourite, followed by Majala.  Yet neither of these have a Game Spirit profile as not many winners are nine, let alone ten.  I struggle to back Wishfull Thinking too as he has two ways of running.  Instead, I am having a slice of Edgardo Sol at 6/1 who has performed well this year and while he might prefer slightly better ground, I think it is allowed for in that price.

The big one from a punting perspective is the Betfair Hurdle.  My Tent or Yours is a 9/2 favourite and I am not a fan.  Cotton Mill is 8/1 and being backed, some popularity may have been gleaned from the Pricewise endorsement for the Champion Hurdle, I am not a fan.

Interestingly Geffen has two leading charges, one trained with Nicky Henderson and one with Paul Nicholls.  Of the two I much prefer Pearl Swan who I think has a decent chance and is freely available at 9/1 after prepping for this in a jumpers bumper, looks a plot sort – Worth noting that Nicholls won the Betfair last year with Zarkander who went straight to the Champion Hurdle… Pearl Swan also has a Champion Hurdle entry so it looks the same route.

The Betfair Hurdle tip from the Major though is a much bigger price.  Caid Du Berlais is 25/1 with Stan James and I think is worth a little punt.  Yes, the horse is 6lbs wrong but I think that could be an irrelevance   You have to ignore the collateral form from his Chepstow run and just accept that much better is expected… have a slice.  I am going to suggest a slice of Pearl Swan too at 9s and why not stick a couple of speculative quid on a Nicholls 1-2 with both?  Three tips in one race… What sort of tipster am I?  A bloody bad one is the answer and I am also suggesting you have a slice of Swing Bowler at 11/1.  The Pipe mare is out of Galileo and has been mighty impressive to date.

Leopardstown Tips

The opening juvenile hurdle can be taken by Diakala although with some other very exciting prospects in opposition,  a light interest is advised.

The 2.15 is an opportunity for Champagne Fever to put his last run behind him and confirm he is a leading Cheltenham chance.  Both Champagne Fever and Waaheb have had their colours lowered by the now JP owned Jezki.  The former probably has the edge on formline and 9/4 with Stan James is too big.

In the Moriarty Novice Chase, the Major is going to opt for Boston Bob who is the obvious choice and priced at just the right side of evens.  This horse is currently second in the market for the RSA.  His Albert Bartlett win was excellent and although he won his chase this year, it did require him to dig deep.  Back up in trip, I think he will find things much more to his liking and maybe Dynaste will have something to worry about if he wins well.

I am genuinely stunned that the connections of Bog Warrior are taking on Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar.  I am in no doubt that the horse is in that class.  Well OK, there is some doubt in my mind but I just love the way this horse races, I am a long term fan so feel I can assert my strong view that he should remain hurdling.  Why we are experimenting chasing again now is a mystery, he has a fair crack if sent to the World Hurdle, what is tomorrow about?  I love him and I will back him tomorrow and I don’t care what anyone thinks.  Don’t like it? Piss off.

To the football…

Swansea are constantly under-rated and so I am happy to be backing them at 10/11 at home to QPR.  Charlton at 7/5 look a bet at home to Birmingham.  I like Tranmere at 19/10 to win at Orient too.

May your dinner be delightful in company that is exhilarating.  Courage and roll those dice.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Diakala, Boston Bob, Edgardo Sol and Lac Fortana.