THIS IS THE 2012 POST FOR 2013 tips, click on the banner above for the home page
Good evening from the Major who prepares these dispatches to prepare my followers and those casual souls who came across the blog for the bookies busiest day….. Aintree’s Saturday Grand National card.
While the Major has been in tip-top form of late, so far, this week, Aintree has been costly. Today, Finians Rainbow and Darlan both delivered at shorter prices but the longer fancied tips did not perform.
Finians performance was very taking and as I suspected, the step up to two and a half miles around Aintree was right up his street. I think he would be a decent three miler too, particularly if connections make less use of him in races, this could mean he is a King George animal.
Prepare your minds….. Saturday at Aintree, the big showpiece that is the Grand National; courage followers, hold on; hold on while those around you lose their nerve. As your sinews are stretched and worn, at the very breaking point, hold on. Hold the thin red line until you see their eyes. Then play, bet large, go hard or go home, leave nothing.
I have friends on course and to the Streetly crew, I bid you luck, merriment and mischief. Memories of last year are still haunting my soul.
I also apologise for the significant length of today’s post. I know many of you will skip the prose to get to the meat. Well you shouldn’t, it is cheating, you miss the imbalance and insanity that whirls around my dark soul. I gave you the courtesy of revealing my mind, please absorb it, or find yourself a more direct tipster, one with less references to Victorian military history, a more proprietary sort. Only a certain sort will find the following to their personal satisfaction.
If you are one, then sign up to the email service in the left hand menu of follow the Major on twitter @tdl123. I post the Saturday Service every week and top it up with other occasional posts when there is something I like. My results are always posted in the top menus. I turn a very small profit. I never accept criticism or praise – I offer my thoughts for free and encourage all to use their own minds and take responsibility for their actions!
Grand National Tips and Grand National Trends
A colleague of mine approached me today and asked if I would join the office Grand National sweepstake. I did…. twice. As I plucked out Sunnyhillboy and BecauseIcouldntsee (could have been far worse) from the bucket, he asked if I bet on the National.
That is an odd question I thought. He knows I am an incredibly succesful gambler*. He was basing the question on the fact that many regular horseracing punters avoid the national because of the sheer nature of 40 runners, carnage at the fences; is it a race that can be worked through on form or is it a lottery?
*based on The Majors sheer persistency in the overwhelming face of mediocrity
Well the reality is that the National is different to any other race in a few crucial respects.
Firstly it is a national institution and tomorrow morning, thousands of grandmothers, punters, religious nuts, weirdos, wackos, drunks, the unemployable, the toffs, the suburban sorts, the trendy set, well to do Mama’s and every other imaginable demographic of the British public will troop to their local bookie, fiver clutched in hand and back a National horse based on a number or a colour or the fact that there happens to be a Pete or Robert in the family (Rare Bob and According to Pete running tomorrow).
Families have traditions on which horses to back, people have habits. These habits form part of an identity both in the individual and in the nation. The National is a British tradition, a British Institution, we do it our own way. God bless us and protect our privilege as the greatest nation on the planet.
For one day, the general public touches the world beloved to me, horse racing. Some regular racing fans oddly resent these tourists, scoffing at the lack of knowledge. The Major welcomes all with open arms, for I too was once one of you.
If one person today backs a tip in the National and experiences that thrill of being involved, mentally jumping each fence with your horse, emotionally attached to the outcome…. well the world will be a better place. It was for me…. not that long ago either, watching Inglis Drever collect his first World Hurdle, with my money down. A formative day that.
The bookmaking fraternity use the occasion to turn a larger than normal profit….. In this army of small time punters, none will stop to think of the value they are getting from the bookmaker. The over-round charged can be as much as 150% and more. For those unfamiliar with this, it represents how much the market is in the bookies favour. Watch at 4pm as the BBC presenters (of which I am not a fan) will tell you how every horse is being backed and watch those prices collapse. It is Christmas for the bookies as pricing will not effect demand.
The Major is delighted that Channel Four take over from the BBC next year. Search the blog for Channel 4 and you will see I have been a long-term advocate of awarding C4 all UK terrestrial rights – They are there every single week, talk less nonsense, focus more on the racing and get what it is about. They also have a better team. In short, their heart is in it!
I also think that the new measures introduced to make the race safer are sensible and welcome. Levelling some of the landing areas is good, banning six-year olds is excellent as their inclusion was a recipe for fallers. Restricting the handicap improves safety as well as quality…. good cricket all round.
I digress. Back to the sweepstake and whether a tipster should play the National. Many punters do have success tipping the Grand National because the trends are quite strong. Before I discuss the Grand National trends and offer my tips for the 2012 running, a little on interpreting trends.
The key with any betting trend is to ask why it is valid, rather than accepting it blind. If a horse won every time you wore red socks, you would accept that the link is coincidence alone. Yet, many punters back football teams that have not won at a certain venue for 30 years. The Major urges you to ask, why is that relevent? If Preston have not won at QPR for 30 years, is it important? How is the football team that competed 30 years ago influencing the outcome today? Chance stats occur, it is not odd or unusual. In fact coincidences not occurring would be incredibly odd. Of all of the millions of interactions you have every year, it would be strange if at some, a marvelous coincidence did not occur. Perhaps you meet two old school friends in separate locations within ten minutes; maybe you win the lottery; something odd will happen to you soon, don’t read too much into it!
An episode of the Simpsons makes the point about specious reasoning well…. Since I have waffled enough, I shall post it at the base in italics!
Also remember that with any trends based decision, it is likely that the winner will fall down on one. Use trends only as a guide not as a rule; Bubba Watson met all of the Hearty Ploughmans key trends (see 4/5 posts ago) but did not make the final US Masters tips list because he missed on one trend by one shot…. Trends are a guide, not a religion!
The key Grand National Trends for the Major
Weight – Nearly 100 horses in the last 35 years have carried more than 11st 5lbs and none have won. In the last twenty-five years, just two horses has managed to carry more than 11st to victory. This makes sense, the National is a gruelling trial of stamina which is damned tough carrying more weight than your opponents.
French Breeding – French breds have a shocking national record but the Major chalks this down to coincidence, disregarded.
Regular Runs in the Season – All of the last ten runners had more than four runs in the current season – This adds up as you need to be match fit and plenty of recent chase experience is a plus.
Previous National Fences Experience – Eight of the last twelve winners have run over the national obstacles before – This is important to the Major as these fences are the toughest in the land.
Marathon Performers – The last time a winner of the National had not previously won a race at a distance of three miles or more, we were trading in old money! A proven stayer is a must.
Age – Experience is key; nine and ten-year olds have that, without being incumbered with tired, ageing legs. You might get away with a old-hat eight year old.
Pricing – Overall, the markets do perform fairly well in the National; three-quarters of the last two decades of winners have come from the top eight horses in the betting.
Cheltenham Form – Only one winner, in fifty years, has won a race at Cheltenham before going on to win at Aintree. This makes sense with the demands of a Grand National and the normal relative closeness in time of the Cheltenham Festival – This year it is worth noting that a bigger time gap than normal exists. In fact, of all of the last ten runners, all had a race between three and eight weeks prior to the national – Race fit but not jaded is what we want.
Classy – Of the last ten winners, all had won at class one level, with one exception who held a second in a class one race.
The Majors Grand National Tip
After a thorough contemplation of the trends, who does the Major tip in the Grand National?
Firstly I think Synchronised is the worst possible favourite. The exertions of a Gold Cup will surely tell and I am not even sure his jumping will stand up to the National fences.
Alfa Beat has experience of the fences after falling four out in last years Topham Chase. 66/1 is too big but not the main selection.
West End Rocker is a real likely sort at 14/1. He hits the profile exactly and I think is an excellent bet.
Junior is on a very lenient mark and is considered at 16s.
I would be a big fan of Cappa Bleu but he has not seen these fences before so he doesn’t make the cut.
Seabass is Irelands ‘Hunt Ball’ having been raised 61lbs for a winning sequence that goes back over two years, no National fence experience but 22/1 seems decent.
Always Right hits many trends and his Scottish National place bodes well, 28/1 and of some interest.
Killyglen was seemingly staying on and running at least into the places last year when he came down three out. In his youth, his reputation was sky-high and this season he has had a wind op. 20/1…. mmmmmm.
Grand National Tip: On balance, two of these really appeal…
Killyglen is my main selection at 20/1, I think he could run a blinder. He stays forever and if the wind op has improved him, as the evidence this season suggest, then he meets so many of my criteria and has been dropped 5lbs since last year in the National Weights….
West End Rocker at 14/1 looks a very likely type too and he also stays forever – Worth a bite!
1.45 Aintree Mersey Novice Tip
Simonsig is all the rage after his impressive Cheltenham win but backing a 1/2 shot to go in again in these different conditions is a fast track to the poorhouse in the Major’s view.
Instead I suggest a slice of Aland Island at 9/1 who has proven stamina and I think could be a threat to the favourite.
2.50 Aintree Tip
Rock on Ruby is the last of four champions of Cheltenham to appear at Aintree. Finians Rainbow and Big Bucks have already upheld their status, Synchronised is unlikely to do so in the National but Rock on Ruby looks the value of the lot at 9/4 here.
While Zarkander at 5/2 has hope of improving for distance, I have always considered the same to be true of Rock on Ruby.
I would be very surprised if he does not go in again. Granted, Oscar Whisky won this last year but I feel my horse has more scope. Strong Tip.
3.25 Aintree – Handicap
A riddle of a handicap and the Majors tip goes to Brackloon High. This one disappointed me when I put him up for his Cheltenham engagement but I am willing to give another chance.
5.05 Aintree Handicap Tip
This is another precarious handicap but my 5.05 Aintree tip goes to 12/1 Dream Esteem who looks sure to improve further. I thought Dee Ee Williams was in with a shout as well as Constant Contact and Kazlian, the latter of which was given a poor ride at Cheltenham having committed way too early.
Tips for the Aintree Bumper
On Thursday, I suggested you go to Twitter and seek advice from the @kingofbumpers for the last. He obliged with the 6/1 winner! My idea of the winner is either Population or Il Presidente at 7/2 and 16/1 – I am going to back both for wins.
In other sports……..
A couple of stand out football bets for the Major – Blackburn look dreadful and I think Swansea will beat them 20/21. I also think QPR to win at West Brom is a 27/10 steal in a game they will be up for.
May your dinner be of high quality with company that matches. Tip well and have fun, we drift by the once and the items that come our way on the flow of the tide should be ceased upon. Lap it all up, enjoy it and ask no questions.
The Relevance of Trends with Lisa Simpson.
As promised, the genius of Lisa Simpson to aid the point!
Homer: There’s not a single bear in sight—the ‘Bear Patrol’ is working like a charm”
Lisa retorts: That’s specious reasoning
Homer: Thanks, honey
Lisa: According to your logic,she says, picking up a stone from their lawn, this rock keeps tigers away
Homer: Hmmm. How does it work?
Lisa: It doesn’t.
Homer: How so?
Lisa: It’s just a rock, but I don’t see a tiger, anywhere.
Homer : Lisa, while pulling out his wallet, I want to buy your rock.
Courage, shuffle those cards.