Tag Archives: chicago grey

The Saturday Sermon – Cheltenham Paddy Power Meeting Tips including a 22/1 mothership and a 20/1 Paddy Power tip

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire rural scene of cold wintery showers blustering outside the bay windows of my living room.

The Major had a poor day at the first day of the Open meeting at Cheltenham. A very decent second for my 16/1 shot was the sole return from the six races which started with a comprehensive defeat for Fingal Bay…. I was talking up this horse all morning to anyone that would listen and offer my humble apologies to each of you for having the misfortune to listen.

I have had an entire week of being unable to sleep. Poor diet? I don’t know but the thoughts swirling in my mind, occupying the peaceful parts with their noisy clumsiness. Tiredness and defeat. I feel cloaked in the stuff, choking my movement, I yearn to break the shackles.

Continuous sleep deprivation is deeply unsettling yet interesting as equal to uncomfortable. For me the consequence is short of temper, lack of energy and an affinity with dark thoughts.

Our lives are punctuated by the rhythm of sleep. Patterns bring comforting conformity and shape. Security. When you disturb the pattern, you create the opposite; uncertainty. It is as though the individual levers and cogs of the brain, dissolve and form new structures that you are no longer familiar with. A dystopian world in which you become a prisoner, unsure if sleep will return you to normality. The boundaries between the night world and the day world lose their integrity, one seeps into the other. An osmosis that is oozing and unwelcome…. things that belong in your dreams in the night, turn up unexpectantly.

What a tragedy is unfolding again in the middle east. The sight of children injured and dying seems not enough to sober up either side and so the air strikes and the rockets continue. At a distance, war and it’s devastating consequence seem inevitable actions for those with the great responsibility of protecting a nation. To the Major, they seem instead more akin to the playground, the reasoning shallow, the considerations glib. The mood this week is not good.

In the morning, a new day and the promise of redemption. I need some fine sport to lift my gloom. A powerful remedy, a surging performance that raises the pulse.

To the sports….

Cheltenham Paddy Power Gold Cup Day Tips

Far West is an obvious place to start given that Ditcheat have taken this race the last two years with French imports. 6/4 is fair considering the obvious credentials. Both Nicholls and Henderson have hit the ground running this season and the latter is represented by Vasco du Ronceray. What he beat at Hereford adds up to a hill of beans but the manner of the defeat gave intent.

The opening contest is a Triumph Hurdle trial and with little comparative form, I am opting for Far West who at least beat a useful sort in Handazan and at 6/4 rates a good chance to bring home the bacon for Nicholls et al.

In the novice chase at 1.20, Sire Collonges is going to be a hot order representing the top yard and looking a fine prospect at Fontwell and at Cheltenham. Course form is always mprtant at Cheltenham. It is an undulating course with tough fences and a steep downhill section, not every horse gets it.

The Major though is going to tip Sraid Padraig at 8/1. The Tony Martin raider won with any amount in hand at Limerick and it is interesting that he is thrown into this. Tasty.

In the 3m 3f marathon, the Major would tipping up Problema Tic but the Pipe yard seem slightly below par so far this season. I find it hard to fathom Bradley at 5/1 when Ashkazar is at 12/1… The latter had the better of the former last time out and while both are proven on course, Ashkazar is preferred but being out of the Pipe yard again, I go elsewhere. Currently 22/1 with William Hill, I offer you up Chicago Grey my selection has the talent and has dropped to a hugely tempting mark. Johnson gets the rare ride for the Elliot team and he is 1/1 in the saddle for the yard in recent times. Shabash.

Paddy Power Gold Cup Tips

What a superb renewal of the Paddy Power. Hunt Ball, Grand Crus, Walkon… An absolute cracker. The major is tempted by many. Grand Crus is clearly a class act and if he chases to his hurdles mark, is very well in. yet the yard is in short form as already highlighted and I will resist which is a shame as if not for being well, he looked like the RSA winner.

Hunt Ball would be four and a half stone out of the handicap if running this time last year! Has a horse ever improved to the degree he has? The winners enclosure will be lively if Knott gets to celebrate again and I wish them luck.

Walkon looks more a more likely sort but I am slightly distrustful. As a second season chaser though, I fancy he has the profile but he is on the watch list.

In recent years, it has been more the fashion to win the Paddy Power from down the handicap. Roll back a few more years and horses with an eleven stone plus burden were more common. Most of the were trained by Martin Pipe with classics such as Our Vic and twice winner (five years apart) Cyfor Malta.

The latter was the only horse in the last twenty outings to win at the age of 5 which is a major signal to the experience required. This is the only thing putting me off Triolo D’Alene.

There will be plenty of pace on and the one I fancy to take advantage of it is Divers at 20/1 (Stan James) – he will be doing his best work late and that’s good enough for me.

The last two Cheltenham races are not affairs for me.

Three football teams for me – the footy is proving profitable of late…. Birmingham at 17/10 at home is a price. I fancy Southampton to beat QPR at 3/1 and I like Newcasle at 10/11 at home to Swansea, that’s a nice little treble.

May your dinner be fuelled by a successful Trixie and be a mix of beautiful nonsense. The wine must flow, the release valve easing the system pressure. May the day return to the day and the night be confined to the night.

Courage and roll those dice.

Another Magnificent Sporting Weekend for the Major – Cheltenham Tips

Well it is Saturday, the coffee is gurgling away and we have yet another superb weekend of sport to consider.

Following a heavy, but marvelously enjoyable, day at Cheltenham in dampness, financial losses and booze, the Major shall solve some of the puzzles from the track, pitch and ring for your delectable consideration.

Lets start as usual with the football.  Hearts make a super bet north of the border as they travel to St Johnstone.  The latter have significant injury problems and although Hearts are inconsistent, 6/4 is a price that more than makes allowances.  Have some.

What will happen when West Ham entertain Blackpool is anyones guess.  There is value in the 3 goals or more market at 8/11 and I would recommend a small stake on that.  West Ham are not a good team and whatever quality issues they have, Blackpool do play an honest attacking game.  My main concern with recommending the sea-siders at a tasty 3/1 is the sense I get that Holloway has his finger hovering over the self destruct button.  Clearly he is a talented manager and fantastically entertaining too.  He plays up his West Country bumpkin image.  I just wonder whether at times his insatiable appetite for the limelight would be better curbed against focussing on getting the best from his players. 

Norwich look a good bet with Victor Chandler to get maximum points from their trip to Reading.  Like many championship teams, Norwich are capable of promotion if they are able to mount a sustained run.  16/5 is a great price and is lengthened by Norwich’s failure to win in three.  Bear in mind that they are 5th, admittedly in a tight table, just 2 points clear of todays opponents who are 10th.  Take a slice.

I think Stoke could beat Liverpool.  I must admit to being shocked that Liverpool overturned Chelsea on Sunday and there is definitely something amiss at Stamford Bridge.  When their coach and club legend, Ray Wilkins left earlier this week it suggest to me something behind the scenes is going wrong.  Therefore I am going to maintain my view that Liverpool are pretty poor with the exception of Gerrard and a back to form Torres.  Liverpool have not won at Stoke in the last few seasons, it is a tough place to go to.  I think the reds will be happy to sit back as is their style and Stoke may make them pay.

Despite Sky trying their damnedest, I cannot accept that Harrison is anything other than Haye Fodder tonight.  This is not a fair fight, it is a joke.   Harrison was contesting TV circuit boxing contests last year and if we are basing a new-found ability on that then we should examine our minds.  Haye is a serious heavyweight and has beaten serious heavyweights, 22 from 25 times by stoppage.  He will have no problem winning by stoppage tonight.  3rd and 4th rounds are both 9/1, have a taste of that and then pile in at 1/3 that Haye will win before they count the scores.

On track we have the Paddy Power Gold Cup – Normally an annual pilgrimage for the Major and a close friend, this year, due to a house move, I shall be relying on Channel 4 racing.  As for a bet, well I have a strong fancy.  while you need to be wary of Great Endeavour representing Pipe, whose fathers name adorned the trophy an incredible nine times, I have to say that 7/2 Long Run is incredible.  At the festival last year, Long Run disappointed by running third.  At that very moment I was metres from Nicky Henderson who was watching the race with a group of associates many of whom recognisable.  The mood when he finished third told its own story.  A little bit like my pre Arc Workforce 13/2 tip, Long Run was not expected to lose at last years festival and it looked a clear shock to connections.  This was Frances top novice and the stable (who are first-rate) really think this is a star.  They have been working hard to eliminate jumping errors.  The only reason you can see 7/2 is that there are other good horses running and Long Run is prone to a mistake.  I think he will win coming away with minimal urgings from Sam Waley-Cohen.  Poquelin helps by taking top weight.  Catch Me as an Irish Raider could go well for last years winning trainer.

Grade 1 entrant Berties Dream can fight out the finish of the 1.20 with Chicago Grey (9/2 and 11/2).  At the prices, I like Berties Dream at 9/2 the most – Win bet advised.

The 3 and a half mile handicap (1.55 Cheltenham) is a real puzzle and I have lines through many but cannot separate my leading contenders easily.  The one I like the most is Ogee, just.  There is a chance Ogee (9/1 generally) will have developed more from 6 to 7, particularly in the jumping stakes.  Ogee is an out and out stayer and I expect a decent run – The third in the William Hill last year looks like good form to me.  One day Zacharova will run a good race but it won’t be carrying my wager.

I know one of the owners of Two Kisses who runs in the Cheltenham 12.50 Triumph Hurdle trial.  This is the best company the horse has run in but 40/1 is a touch generous.  My idea of the winner is Sam Winner at 9/2 for Nicholls.  Good luck to Two Kisses though, hope she comes home safely and successfully.

For those needing a late night wager, Serious Drinking in the 9.20 at Wolverhampton is the best 10/3 shot you will find.  This horse has run in snatches previously and got going at Kempton late last time out.  I have had it on my watch list and advise an early bet, if The Major is right it will be 9/4 at the off and will find improvement for the step up in trip.

May your punts be blessed and proven virtuous and wise.  Consider the Major your guide, but your shall pull the trigger.

I think the best bets about are Long Run, Hearts, Berties Dream and Haye by Stoppage.  The NAP is Hearts who have been priced at 6/4 by a madman on the verge of reality.

I hope your dinner is accompanied by more than the water I am consoling my aching head with.  I just hope that my hangover has not effected my judgement.  If you are betting today, stake more than you planned.   This may sound irresponsible but trust me, its more fun.