Tag Archives: diamond harry

The Champion Chase Day Sermon – Full review of Wednesdays Cheltenham card

Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire scene of peaceful spring – The Major is returned from Cheltenham, a little bruised and wondering just how I finished the day so poor.

Proceedings started so well, Vautour was simply barnstorming – Ruby set the fractions and kicking off the turn, showed the field a clean set of heels.  I have not read Paul Nicholls comments and so am uncertain if anything was amiss with Irving but he ran no sort of race.

The Arkle was taken by an outsider, as Ruby sailed over the last the crowd rose, like a wolf showing hackles, you could feel the energy about to go into roaring Ruby home, but then the last actor joined the stage, Western Warhorse under a maximum effort from Tom Scudamore to press a slight advantage at the line, ah he had not read the script, like a balloon slowly relieving itself of its contents, the masses calmed.  A sea of slightly confused punters punctuated by the odd small stakes backer of the winner jumping for joy with their fingers clutching at a 33/1 ticket.

The Champion Hurdle demonstrated the sheer triumph and disaster our sport allows.  Travelling up the inside on the back straight, Our Conor, such an effective hurdler, crumpled quickly on the landing side and suffered such injuries that it was deemed that the best course of action was to put him down.  He gave me an inspirational moment last year and having followed him all season, it sobered me up alright.  Christ, it is a magnificent sport but there is a grave price.  It has not rightly sunk in, it is a terrible thing and while we move on, I shall not forget that great moment.

Contrast was provided within moments.  I watched the race from a spot I frequent, knowing that Nicky Henderson is there.  At some point just before the race, I realised that Jessica Harrington was alongside me in a smart red coat, class act I can tell you.  As Jezki battled on with Geraghty using all of his guile to repel McCoy on My Tent or Yours, she burst into tears of joy – You could see what it meant.  Afterwards, in a touch of class, Henderson went and embraced her… I regaled this to a table of serious Irish betting fraternity who tell me that they are the best of friends.

What a contrast.  That is Cheltenham in a nutshell.  I managed to suggest another horse that fell and with the screens up, looked like it might be serious but thankfully for the connections of Gardefort and the Williams yard, it seems as though it was tiredness and being winded.  Yet I also saw with my eyes people will Quevega on, they helped her, does that sound ridiculous?  Yes, it does, doesn’t it… Well I know, I was there.

In gambling, your investment returns may go up as well as down.  The Major is down, yet, this is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning, I can see the light.  Vautour and Quevega are in a number of multiples I have – This is good.  Plus, I feel like I have come on for the run today.

Wednesday Cheltenham Tips

Now, should you be a newcomer, you might not realise that I have already written up my thoughts for the Grade 1 races on the Wednesday card.  I may refer to that page and so you can use the link to go to it if you want and read the earlier thoughts.  That is how the internet works!

The day starts with the Neptune and another key plank of the Majors antepost week plots runs and we need at least a place and hopefully one better from Faugheen.  The Red Sherlock and Rathvinden tied form is good but we get Ruby and since I am (and for the more infrequent / novice gamblers amongst you) going to use the technical term… I am ‘balls deep’ in this position my friends – Cheltenham depends on him and Annie Power.

As a footnote, if Lieutenant Colonel wins, consider the emotions, Dessie Hughes lost his stable star today in tragic circumstances, what god send the next to arrive on the scene and lift the spirit.

Then the RSA – Again, more substantial notes are available on the link above but I think this is a weak RSA (cannot remember that many strong ones!) and all those at the head of the market have question marks.  As such, I stand by my selection, now drifted to 25/1 in Annacotty.  He was giving weight to Indian Castle when running with credit in defeat, this drying ground will be fine and he has been targeted clearly at this race all season…. Have faith and courage my friends.

The Coral Cup is an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle and then smashed over your head time and time again.  What can I tell you… Trends… In the last 15 years a horse has won 15/15.  It had a jockey 15/15.  I was not on it 15/15.  You have been warned.

For what it is worth, I have looked at the card until my head hurts.  Dunguib fits none of the usual profile but he is hardly a usual horse having been the great Irish hope until injury made him miss his best days.  He is eleven, he will not want this rattling ground playing havoc with his joints!  No.

There are plenty I can make some sort of case for.  It also plagues me that the winner of this race has not returned at huge prices in recent years.  In the end, I am betting Indevan at 20/1.  Ruby again, Ricci again.  Long absence to overcome but in excellent hands to do so.

Then the big race of the day, again something I have covered at length and I am most happy to continue to suggest backing the favourite Sire de Grugy makes sense.  This is a weak Champion Chase and he has done everything right.  I am surprised he is 11/4, load a cannon!

The Cross Country is a unique race for the festival and I like it, I know it has its detractors but if you are on course, I suggest you make your way to the centre of the course and enjoy watching the action up close.

As for the winner, I am a big fan of Big Shu, a horse I think should be much much shorter than 4/1.  He was superb in this race last year and while a stone rise in the weights is a leveler, I think he is likely to go again.  He has been laid out for this race and my only concern is that the ground might not be ideal.  At  huge price, Diamond Harry is no forlorn hope.  Get stuck into my boy though!

The Fred Winter is another head scratcher.  So many improvers, so much to like! I am swayed that the drying ground might be quite an issue for those with proven form in the book this winter.  This is the tenth running of the race and it has had two 40/1 winners to date, one of which I had the pleasure of a bet on in Une Artiste…. Sweet memories.

I cannot find a profile I particularly like and so am siding with Katgary who we know so little about.  Good hands, reasonably expensive and nearer the bottom of the weights which is the slightly more normal profile of a Fred Winter winner.  Tread with care.

I have already covered the Champion Bumper in the link above.  I am happy enough with Black Hercules but this is the bumper! Alternatives? Izzini with her mares allowance looks interesting at 50/1 (Boyles) and so does Our Kaempfer at 28/1 with BetVictor – They are longer priced darts and this is not a race I suggest you stake your dignity on.

Courage and roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Hennessy Gold Cup 25/1 Newbury Tip

Good morning from the Major who writes from a bright Worcestershire scene where the top of the grass has been licked by frost and dark curled brown leaves clutter the paths.

At the start of the week, my locale flooded, rivers burst their banks, unable to contain the violent fast strains of rainwater collected in supply chains unimaginable upriver. It was one of those exciting scenarios that gifts the realisation that in such a modern age, we can still be held at the will of whatever the Atlantic or Artic decides to spit at us.

Many folk like myself enjoy such excitement, it is invigorating. It rattles the soul a little, throws up new angles and offers new reflections. After all, isn’t that the best we can hope for in life. For some, their reaction to drama is to complain….. come the Majors revolution, these will be the first to go against the wall. They will be in fine company – Piers Morgan, Anne Robinson and anyone associated with Radio 5 non sports output. I shall despatch them personally with my own pistol. Not enjoying the spectacles given freely to you is an offence to god.

This week, the Major was back at University studying Operations Management (does the supply chain comment make more sense now?). I am working in a small team of fellow students, thrown together by the course, purely chance encounter. Since a man like me has most sorts of debauchery bubbling just inches from the surface, it was not long until they sniffed me out as one who likes a gamble, was good with the bottle and game for mischief.

Since they have been introduced to the Major, I thought it fair to introduce them.

Pierre the investment banker thoroughly good sort with a raucous laugh. Nataliya who was straight as an arrow at first but with her growing confidence, comes a glint in her eye. Oliver, thoroughly clever sort, direct thinking – says exactly what he thinks. Tom whose employment at Rolls Royce is matched by a suitably plummy tone and Richard a man whose wide eyed reactions to new thoughts would make him a good poker opponent.

They are good sorts and I intend to improve them immensely by immersing them in a gluttony of dubious moral indulgences. You cannot pay for that sort of education. They can thank me later.

I wanted to mention why I like large cities and something about perceived wisdoms from a gambling perspective but instead we shall head to the sports, saving those thoughts for another time. Daub thy war paint young warrior and call up your light horse. We shall attack the high ground which our enemy has taken with breathtaking speed, scattering him before us and capturing his cannons.

To the sports….

The long distance hurdle puts Big Bucks back out and he is currently 1/10. I agree with the price, he has time to do a crossword and win this surely! Not a tipping race.

Tips for the Hennessy

I do love Newbury for jump racing. It is a fair course with demanding enough obstacles but what I like most is the long straight that seems designed to create dramatic stories. It is a shame Timmy Murphy is injured as he knows more than most how a hold up ride around Newbury bears fruit.

When I look at the Hennessy trends, it strikes me that you have two sorts of winners. Underestimated 6-8 year olds who show tremendous improvement to exploit lenient marks and seasoned top class jumpers like Denman and Trabolgan, happy to win shouldering a burden.

Could Tidal Bay fit the latter pattern? He has certainly reinvigorated the memories of youth, he strains at the bit now reminiscent of his juvenile days when surging on the bend to go clear and stay on up the hill to become an Arkle horse. Not today for the Major though, I always thought he was a bit hit and miss and never quite the finished article. Could be wrong.

Last years surprise winner Carruthers is off the same mark bar a pound And could be a threat held up. Is a repeat on the cards? Just doesn’t seem the sort for the Major.

Teaforthree is a interesting runner for Rebecca Curtis who never fails to make the Majors heart flutter. This animal will go prominent which puts me off but not as much as the core focus for this Cheltenham winner being the Welsh National in the Christmas holiday.

There seems a slight cloud over the Henderson outfit at the moment, many are running well and the strike rate holds up but in the mix are a number of disappointing efforts. This and the ground concerns (now all clear) mean that no one is buying into Bobs Worth. Interesting given that he was an impressive RSA winner to First Lieutenant and will be fit first time up (won last seasons debut). He might be inexperienced but he is likely the only likely Gold Cup contender in the field.

Remember, it makes good sense to swim against the tide sometimes as a gambler. 11/2 Bet365 looks massive especially as there are 5 places available.

The final horse I want to mention is the Hennessy tip…. DIAMOND HARRY. Already a Hennessy winner, my selection has seemingly lost the plot entirely. Following Diamond has been an expensive endeavour for the Major who was convinced he would beat up the Wincanton Badger Ales field last time out.

It is too early though to give up, he is a classy sort and the result of his recent derisory efforts is that he is now a stone below the mark from which he won the Hennessy (over Denman let’s not forget although a substantial weighted difference!). Load the cannons and raise a glass to resurrection and redemption.

The winner of the Badger Ales, The Package is the Pricewise horse although I don’t if Tom Scudamore replacing the injured Timmy Murphy is a significant blow to the horses chances. Have a saver on Bobs Worth near the off, his price is getting silly.

12.50 Newbury

Having said that of Henderson, stick Ma Filleule (God-daughter) in your multiples, exciting French import and I’m not sure the Uttoxeter form offered up in opposition amounts to much.

2.20 Newcastle – The Fighting Fifth

I love this race ever since the apple of my national hunt eye, Punjabi, took this on the way to Champion Hurdle glory….. Ahhhh blissful memories.

Today’s meeting only just got the go ahead and the heavy conditions have cut the field to four. It looks a penalty kick for Cinders and Ashes who is proven in conditions. So is Trifolium who also likes cut and so that’s my forecast. Countrywide Flame will surely be found out in the mud.

1.20 Fairyhouse

Final horses and thoughts from me on the Saturday Sermon….. Protarasfor the Noel Meade yard at Fairyhouse is a tip. This horse looks like it has some scope and at only 5, seems on a very workable mark. In good hands and 12/1 is generous.

I have to point out that Davy Russell skips a good Hennessy ride on First Lieutenant to take a promising book of rides at Fairyhouse. That looked an advert in itself and I’m going to tip a lucky 15 on Bright New Dawn 8/1, Midnight Game 10/3 (Simenon out), Bog Warrior (a horse I love, a real galloper) 11/10 and throw in Bristol City 8/5.

On the football fields, I am not convinced Villas scrappy 1-0 victory over Reading is a turning point and ‘Arry will have QPR wound up in front of the home fans, 11/10 must bet. I like Watford who are odds on but should win and. Finally 8/5 Bristol City who are in the relegation zone but can beat a confused and demoralised Wolves.

May your dinner be paid for by Diamond Harry at 25/1 and consist of steak, wine and fine accompaniments. I hope the company is generous in nature and as the haze of brandy settles on your mind, relax, these are good times.

Courage and roll the dice.

Saturday Sermon – Wincanton Badger Ale Day Tips plus The Criterium and some Premier League…. SHABASH

Good evening from the Major who writes from a perfectly acceptable autumn evening in the Worcestershire countryside.

Tonight I lit the wood burner for the first time this season. The job requires matches and mine were in the converted stable block which having given up the job of stabling now performs very well as a perfectly reasonable one bedroom annexe. The building also compromises of an outside convenience and a boiler room which is where the matches are to be found. I lit the weak bulb and peering in the gloomy murk found a nasty surprise.

On the floor was the carcass of a Goldfinch. I am no twitcher but the Goldfinch is a striking bird with explosive flashes of red and gold. This one lacked most of the elements that it once possessed. We were down to feathers and a few bones. I suspect the cat. It feels like a bad omen.

Maybe it is a good omen. Godly sacrifice though having little statistical proof has enough popular backing to suggest that there is something to it. Take your pick. Whatever you think, I will invest in some better wattage bulbs.

Personally I think I stink of losing. I just feel a veil of defeat clinging to me like an effervescent cloak, a silver lining of loss and my wallet of diminishing power. Yet as Fuller once wrote ‘the hour is darkest just before the day dawneth’

Personally I think that’s nonsense too. In my gambling life, it is darkest before it gets darker.

Fearing the complexities of life, tonight I ate simply. Steak, cooked for a mere flash in the hottest oil my stove can muster – turned once after 20 seconds. Served alone, with a dash of mustard to the side.

Earlier this week, a steak caused my usually rock solid constitution to become imbalanced. Read into those delicate words what you will. Maybe that is the cause of my unsettled sense.

Doubts, damn doubts… Uncertainty over your own judgement. It is the beauty and curse of life that we are given independent thought to enable us to conceive beyond binary.

Each week, the Major hopes to enrich the life of one casual reader. I don’t care who, and i don’t care how many innocent victims have to read the wild thoughts of my mind, percolated through a swirling vortex of confusion before that one person draws some surprising meaning. Into the sports we shall go this week with perhaps, the most beautiful thing that one can say about such uncertainty…..

Khalil Gibran, the great Lebanese poet…. ‘doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother’…

Courage my faithful few….

2.15 Wincanton – Grade 2 Novice Chase Tips

In the last week, Silvianaco Conti showed that he is a player as a chaser this season when showing he has trained on from his superb novice year. He started that year with a win in this race and so it is of some interest that Paul Nicholls targets Poungach at this contest. He starts favourite and if the slip at the first at Chepstow has done little damage then on balance he is a threat to all.

Many of the others have not seen a racetrack in over a year although Court in Motion is an interesting runner. A solid bet would be ‘King of the Night’. Trained in what was the satellite yard of Paul Nicholls last season, I fancy Harry Fry to be a rising trainer.

The Major though is going to opt for one of those that has not seen action for some time. Aegean Dawn had some very good hurdle form. While he has been missing for some time, his trainer has had success with a handful of runners in recent weeks and I suspect that Aegean Dawn might be a strong chasing prospect and at 13/2 rates a strong tip.

2.50 Wincanton – Elite Hurdle

What a fantastic race – The main question here for the major is over the jockey bookings of Ditcheat. Maybe with the benefit of the post in the morning, we would have greater clarity but why is Ruby on what seems the second string?

Is Zarkander tuned up? Surely the staying on fifth in the Champions Hurdle signalled some intent for this year and the grade 1 novice wins he secured were solid. Prospect Wells has solid form of which the clear best is the Triumph Hurdle 5th but given there are no wins in graded company for a horse that is 2/7 over hurdles…. Hmmmmm

Zarkander is giving a stone and three to Prospect and while Daryl Jacob has been aboard Zarkander before when it has won and Ruby has been on a loser (Sam Winner) but that didn’t look planned either.

Sod it. Zarkander is the better horse. 9/4, have a slice. One word of caution for Baby Mix who I have not given up on yet.

3.25 Badger Ales Trophy – Wincanton Tips

Well I am going to keep this short and simple.

Diamond Harry won a Hennessy off a mark 6lbs higher than this and 7/1 is a steal…. He is dropped in grade and while clearly prone to injury is the class act in the field. Michael le Bon is the danger to all, very lightly raced….

Tips for the Criterium de Saint Cloud

Group one flat action for the two year olds and the Major wants a slice of Sempre Medici who will go off at a sporting price and has already proven himself in the testing conditions he faces tomorrow. He is a Medicean colt out of a line of Dansili Dancer… Few markets and no liquidity but I’m guessing 5/2 second favourite.

To the football….

The 11/5 about West Brom coming away from the Latics with maximum points is sent from heaven. Albion have looked excellent in defeat against Man City and away to Newcastle, scoring against both. They dispatched Southampton with ease and look like 6/4 chances at Wigan so the Major has to be involved.

Stoke at evens at home to QPR is a decent bet. Probably the last thing a team without a win (hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles) needs is a trip to the Potteries. Stoke are predictable, tough and Mark Hughes has a greater stench of defeat hanging about him than I, at least I hope so, because if I don’t have that….

Newcastle 19/20 is an amazing price, they should beat West Ham tomorrow.

For a good man who asked me to start including it again…. The lucky 15 is Aegean Dawn, Zarkander, Diamond Harry and Stoke.

May your dinner be simple as mine was. Remove doubt and realise the thin slither that pares it from certainty. I hope your companion is entertaining but that you might have serenity in your own company is my ultimate hope for us all.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Tips for the Charlie Hall Chase, Wetherby, Ascot and The Premier League

Good morning from sunny Defford where the crisp morning brings gold-plated betting opportunities to whet the appetite and remind you of the sheer goodness of sporting challenge.

The beautiful Time for Rupert...... 7/2 shabash

The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, a decent Ascot card, some nice Newmarket races and good football too.  Autumns abundant harvest.

The Major has an unholy interest in serial killers.  I have always been fascinated by their motive and process and among the legion of evil killers there are some fantastic tales.

My favourite would be Mr Holmes of the USA who killed dozens in a purpose built hotel designed to accommodate visitors to the Chicago Worlds Fair.  The building he created had sound proofed, air locked rooms that would suffocate guests and other rooms where gases could be flooded in to kill the occupants.  Secret chutes would dispatch bodies to the cellar where he would dissolve them / dissect them.

He also like to collect life insurance policies for his deceased.  He even persuaded his friend to partake in a ‘fake death’ insurance scam, only to actually murder him and collect anyway.

His hotel was an incredible building, sadly now demolished, it was labyrinthine.   Holmes employed multiple builders during construction so no one person apart from himself knew the true layout.  There were corridors leading nowhere, doors that opened onto walls and secret rooms with dark purpose.

Today, we shall attempt tot escape our own enemies maze of trickery.  We shall seek truth and light.  To do this we must discard that which is distraction and devilment.

To the sports…….

The Charlie Hall Chase – Wetherby

This is a cracking renewal of the Charlie Hall with top class Nacarat seeking a second win but facing in Diamond Harry and Time for Rupert, two genuine Gold Cup Hopes.

If this is the quality we can get used to for the Charlie Hall, I am sure it will be a grade one in years to come.

Diamond Harry has won all five of his seasonal reappearances and so you have to respect his record fresh.  I am not convinced that should be the predominant factor, I would want to select the class horse first.

Poquelin has probably got the best form in the race although I am not convinced about him stepping up to 3m.  That said, if he is going to get 3m, Wetherby is probably the place to do it.

the selection though is Time for Rupert.  He is a genuine stayer and with Nacarat in the race, there will be pace to aim at.  Like Nacarat, Time for Rupert will not be inconvenienced by the good ground and at 7/2, I think we will see some class today.

3.00 Ascot – Listed Hurdle

This is a tidy listed hurdle and two horses meet the criteria for the Major.

Via Galilei is the Pricewise horse so sadly the early silly prices have dried up.  Laddies are still 9/1 though and I think that still represents value.

The other I think may improve for another year of maturing is Third Intention.  Connections know where they will be with this horse and so it is interesting to see him entered at this decent level.  8/1 is fair enough.

Back both horses, win only.

1pm Newmarket – EBF Fillies Maiden

Winter is coming when racing kicks off at 1pm.  The Newmarket fillies maiden can go to Coplow.

Hannons exploits with juveniles need no selling and reading Richard Hughes note, you have to be confident that Coplow will turn a bitterly disappointing appearance last time out into a win today.

4/1 gives plenty of scope for a hefty wager, load the big cannon.

3.55 Newmarket

You have to fancy Tactfully the Godolphin horse to take this at 3/1.  Her impressive maiden win has been well and truly franked and this was a race that was taken last year by no less than Blue Bunting.

I think Al Zarooni is unleashing a good one here and 3/1 will look terrific value at 4pm.

To the other sports…….

Chelsea are the best 7/10 shots I have seen in a long time.  Beating some poor teams does not make a recovery and Arsenal have payed poorly in some of those wins.  Chelsea have better quality and home advantage and I have them 4/7 shots on my book, this is a steal and should underpin any mutiple selections.

Sunderland v Villa sounds like a low scoring game to the Major but I fancy Sunderland to edge it.  Villa were not great even with the full complement of players against West Brom and Sunderland were no better at Bolton.

That is all from the Major this week.  Make sure you put the horses in a lucky 15, it feels like the right thing to do….

Make sure dinner is relaxed and sumptuous.  Take the lively one you have been eyeing up….. As ever, tip well and allow generosity to be repaid times over….

Luck to you, shuffle up the cards.

The Major On Sunday – Cheltenham Results are up – Carlisle Tips – Curragh Flat Season Starts

The Major has posted his Cheltenham results and they are bigger than expected.  Largely thanks to a couple of placed efforts on Friday and a non runner in Snap Tie, we scored a 60% profit on the week.

The flat is back! The Curragh kicks off today.

That is the past.  The Major is now in build up mood for 2012.

My best ante post bet for 2012 right now would be Weapons Amnesty to win the Gold Cup.  At 25/1 I think if he is fit, he could well be a major threat to Long Run whose 3/1 price is abourt fair.  Let us not forget Diamond Harry either whose Hennessy form would not have been enough to expect him to have beaten Long Run but certainly he is a chaser on the up.  If this year was sentimentally incredible because we could watch the two old timers brawling it out down the hill joined at the last by the young pretender who went on to claim his spot in history…… next year could be an almighty punch up between some great up and comers.  Will Time for Rupert come back to form (absence since December was probably the reason for his loss).  A question swirling in the Majors mind is whether Nicholls if bereft of a better option, will send Big Bucks for another pop over the bigger obstacles.

The Curragh – Flat Racing is Back!  Lodge Park 4.05pm

The sun is out, it is light when you leave work.  It is time to dust off the flat form book as the trainers of the big stables start playing their hands towards this years classic prizes.

Today we have some Group 3 action at the Curragh and the Major is willing to flex his muscle.

The Lodge Park goes off at 4.05 and is an all age mile event with 52k (Euros) for the winner. 

None of these have been running since last year and so the trick at this stage is to pick the trainers likely to get off to a flyer with a string of horses well prepped for their seasonal openers.

Often it helps to find a horse where winning the Lodge Park is the big target.

For the Major lines go through the entries of Banimpire (Ground), Mid Mon Lady (Not good first time up), Burn the Floor (Complete Outsider, shown nothing only start).

The remaining 6 are all running for trainers yet to unleash any runners.  This is with the exception of Enchanted Evening.  Dermot Weld has run three in the last fortnight all be it over hurdles and they have performed well, notably Unaccompanied at the festival. 

This one will handle conditions well and if she has progressed at all from 4 to 5 , she could go well. 

Gemstone could show a lot of improvement.  At just 5/1 though, this Galileo filly is too short, that one is for another day.

Enchanted Evening for the Major at 10/1.

The Irish Lincolnshire – 4.35pm, The Curragh

The Irish Lincolnshire has attracted a decent field of handicappers and one catches the Majors eye.

By all accounts, Steed for the Kevin Ryan team is a bit of a handful.  Since the stable applied the headgear though, the change in the horses fortunes has been significant.  14/1 but the Major thinks further improvement could be to come and it looks telling that Kevin Ryan has come across the Irish Sea to have a pop at this 36k contest.

Irish racing seems to carry much better prize money and it is has been noteworthy that more and more UK trainers are taking their chances in Ireland (or France) to steal decent prizes.

Hawkhill is of interest with the superb G F Carroll, he still has a 3lb claim but that will not last for long.  14/1 too, perhaps a saver.

Clearly the favourite Photo Opportunity has a great chance.  The Major takes experience to beat him in the hustle of this competitive field on only his third start.

4.30 Carlisles Betfair Novice Handicap Hurdle

Of all of the jumps racing on offer, Carlisles 4.30 is where the Major smells blood.

It is hard to believe that Carlisles course is still Heavy given the beautiful weather we are experiencing south of Birmingham!  IT just shows that it is cold up north.

Douglas Julian dodged a booking at the festival to keep in a sphere he can win in and at 10/3, this is a fair price indeed.  Particularly when you consider he is 3 from 3 in Heavy conditions and 1 from 1 in Soft. 

Paul Gallacher is terrific value for a 5lb claim which could be great benefit for What’s up Woody.  He is the only other horse that escapes a question about the ground.

Get stuck into Douglas Julian and thank me later.

The Big Game

Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge and neither team looked in inspired touch.  Chelsea have won the last two in the league.  Man City have an excellent recent record against Chelsea. 

All cannot be well in the Man City camp with the manager and the stroppy new striker Ballotelli having to be separated after going out of Europe in the week. 

The Major fancies a tight game.  Man City were happy to show little adventure at Arsenal when 0-0 sounds more exciting than the game itself. 

Less than 1.5 goals is 23/10 with Sportingbet and I am happy to sup from that cup.