Tag Archives: ely brown

The Saturday Sermon – Sandown, Wetherby, Fairyhouse and some Football… Shabash!

Good evening from the Major who writes from a damp and cold Worcestershire scene.  Bitter cold rain stings the face, wind whistles in rising tones, a blackness lies over the land which is sodden, barren and desolate.

Indoors, the woodburner has been underway for several hours, the air flow restricted but in suffocation, there is no drama, instead the flame just licks gently at the contents, peaceful.

The Major has had another restless week.  Sleep comes in patches, unsure of my path through the night, leaping from one hour to another, not fully conscious but unable to make the long haul to the morning.

I have had a remarkably good betting week which grew from a seedling into a mighty redwood.  On Wednesday night, Bet365 sent me a free £5 bet – Unlike many of my twitter contemporaries, I am proud of the fact that I have never had an account restricted… no, sadly, bookmakers welcome with open arms, showering me with diaries, free bets and free spins.  I am a good customer.

Yet, that £5 free bet, doubled on an in-play Chelsea and West Ham draw (11/4) and an inplay Athletico Madrid win (11/2) scored me a tidy three figure return.  Fortunately, this was just the start of a remarkable run.  The next day, I scored a trixie win on an impulse and the outrageous slings and arrows of fortune even sought to conspire to get Forest over the line after trailing 2-0 after 50 minutes, to win 4-2.  I arrive at the weekend with an account buoyed by such fortunes and ready to invest.

The Major spent some time in London this week.  I enjoy time in the capital and have the privilege of doing so at my employers expense on an infrequent basis.  I like big cities, the masses, the heave, the sheer scale and breadth of everything you can access.  I am the sort that falls in love most days… Each new one is the best and wandering around our nations capital, my heart bounds.   The good lady need not know this, else she might balk at the notion of my travels.  Fear not too, none of these women, who fleetingly capture my heart, remain for long.  No, the Major cannot bear complication and so seek my enjoyment from only the increased beat of my heart.

Here is a question for you…. How many people would have to walk into a room before it is more likely than not that two share a birthday?  Don’t google it before you test your mental agility… Clearly you know the answer is low… Else why the purpose of posing the question… How low dare you go?  Tweet me if you were surprised… @tdl123

I wish I could travel more.  I would like to see the Ethiopian highlands – Green and pleasant, great black rocky outcrops, a freshness of air and starry nights.  The Great Rift Valley, tropical conditions but at an altitude to make it passable.  A land of coffee and gold.  More populous than Britain and with a median age of just 17.

In the 1860’s Britain engaged in a war with the Walla tribes over European hostages taken by Tewodros II.   The village of Amba Miriam, previously called Magdala still has the great mortar, Sevastapol, the biggest ever built (German technicians).  The history of it is fascinating… We took Indian troops to free the hostages… No doubt they were battle hardened from the Indian mutinies.  We had to build a road to get to Magdala, several hundred miles from the coast… Then, summons were issued to release the hostages but instead the numerically superior forces Tewodros met us in battle and were roundly defeated.. The Henry Martini rifle and naval gunners seeing to them, with deadly proficiency.

An Amba is a rocky plateau, on which great defences were built.  Tewodros may have fared better if he had settled in for a great siege.  Instead, he sent his men to the field, to meet us in battle, surely a judgement error.  Once defeat was apparent, he took his own life rather than the humiliation of capture and subjugation.  He relented his grip on life, rather ironically, with a pistol that had been gifted to him by Queen Victoria herself.  Alpha and Omega.

I am sure you find this fascinating.  I know my readership… you come not because I have some magic beans but rather, this is part of your weekly rhythm, your selection of sporting chance will occur when you have read this.  Some of my thoughts will pervade your own, shared freely amongst us good friends, you can select which lines of enquiry you find agreeable.  Some you will discard, casually throwing aside my own position in favour of your own strong cognition.  Either way is good for me.  As long as you come in friendship, harmonised with my standards and expectations.

Accept that neither of us are right before the event.  Allow the spirit in which thoughts are shared to please you.  All I have is this, some opinion.  I expect nothing in return either.  Should you win, there is no need to offer thanks if I helped (either by my advocacy or your decision to take a successful contrary position).  Your decisions are yours alone to make.  Neither shall I accept your criticism.  Like Buddha, I do not have to accept such gifts… not that you send me any, I cannot recall criticism for poor performance for some time, despite the burgeoning readership…  The Major has followers who empathise rather than criticise, welcome…

Let us land the mothership.  Find the treble you feel passionate about and weaponise your stakes.  It is time for the sports.  Daub thy warpaint young warrior, we shall meet them in the passes, stone walls forcing our will and bayonets fixed, each man gritting teeth and praying.

To the racing…

Now I oft select a card and run through it, I enjoy that, it allows me to chance an angle on an entire days racing.

Sadly, the three NH races in the UK are subject to morning inspections and as such, with all meetings in doubt, I elect to jump quickly from race to race, not caring for the usual order of things.

Of course it is a shame that a Grade 1 chase only attracts three runners.  The Scilly Isles will surely be won by Oscar Whiskey with the only threat Benvolio probably not up to the same standard.

The veterans chase looks interesting mainly because only a few of them look comfortable in this mudbath.  Tatenen, the favourite, has raced on soft (or worse) 11 times and won once.  Not that he has a great strike rate, back to top form?  Unreliable in my eyes.  Fine Parchment has a great track record but I have concerns.

I favour Aachen who is well in on old form and loves it on heavy ground.  5/1 is available generally and this horse is one that will surely come on again (don’t revolt at his age) from his reappearance.

At Wetherby, they might have been trying Shutthefrontdoor on better ground but his heavy and soft ground form suggests he has no problem with these conditions.  In fact, I imagine he will improve for them.  Ely Brown is the concern, representing the superb Longsden yard.  Double that up with Flemeson on the same card – He is a progressive sort who was involved in a hot race last time and this is lesser company.  I am also a fan of Ice ‘n’ Easy a Fehily ride, trained by Longsden… The 5lbs he was penalised for the last run might well be extremely light.

At Ffos Las, I am sure they would get a better running of the West Wales National, if they ran it after the national weights came out.  Still, to be fair, it is a good show, especially with Welsh National winner Mountainous rocking up.

Without doubt, the best race of the day is the Welsh Champion Hurdle.  Whisper has always looked a light horse to me but gets on very well in the mud.  Saphir de Rheu is still a World Hurdle player and may well be able to exceed his mark in this.  The Major however chances his arm on Alaivan at 7/1 who is entitled to run better than reappearance – County Hurdle form reads well enough in this field and 3/5 on heavy provides confidence.

De La Bech is my pick in their feature chase – Assured of acting in conditions – Load up!

At Fairyhouse, in their 2.30…. Competitive Edge makes a great bet at the right side of evens.  Shrapnel might yet come good but his runs have been poor and a watching brief is in place for the Major.

and at the football…

@TJHeezy pointed the absurdity of the 13/10 about Swindon, they are a strong team at home.  I would also be a massive buyer of QPR at home to Burnley… evens… Shabash!  I thought about Spurs away but feel Hull are strong and Hull are galvanised.

The big double I would urge your investment in is a Wolves (8/13) and Man City (17/20) play.  Wolves may have sold a few but they are coming good and will play well.  As for Man City, I think they will win the league by ten clear points… This game will signal intent.

I hope yours business is conducted in sober, solemn and patient terms… May your dinner be served on the finest china.  Tip well, after all, the bulging pocket suggests  you finished at some pace.

The Martin Hill advice… I owe him. Competitive Edge, Shutthefrontdoor and Wolves…. Trixie – The last leg might sting but will pay.

Courage…. roll the dice.

Cheltenham Day Three Tips – World Hurdle Thursday, Ryanair, Jewson… The awesome Aeroplane and another day sober in paradise

Good evening from the Major who writes from another bitterly cold Worcestershire which sports a biting wind.  The temperature remains cold enough to numb the touch and add a dull ache to knee and ankle joints.  The only antidote is the warming effect of winners and champions.

The former I had a couple of.  Only a couple and I am in no doubt that day two belonged to the enemy.

The latter we were blessed with, in fact we saw a new legend.  Sprinter Sacre was breath-takingly good.  He beat a Champion Chase field by 19 lengths, hard held.  The commentator summed it up suggesting that this steeplechaser was sent from celestial heavens… who could argue with that.  No doubt, we have a star and let us hope he remains centre stage for many years.

On Tuesday, I left the racecourse by the bottom car park and spent 90 minutes queuing.  Thus in a planned change of operational procedure, tonight I parked in town and walked, a test and learn.  It certainly was easier and it gave me the pleasure of a post-racing stroll through Pittville and across the park to my car.  It was all most pleasant but the trappings of the festival that you witness on this journey remain etched in my mind, as these things will.

The girls handing out cards for gentleman’s clubs look very different through the eyes of a sober man.  The language is the same… the use of the word ‘guys’ in a voice straining to suggest familiarity.  They aim to make the groups of men who average twenty years their senior comfortable, as though they are conversing in normal circumstances.  That level of performance though must tire and something in their body language, the slope of shoulder, the curl of a lip hides a disdain for the work.  It is cold and you can see it in their eyes.

Do not take me as a prude by the way.  I am a believer that consenting adults are perfectly able to choose what they want to do without my views and whatever contracts are struck are for those parties alone.  In fact I am generally in favour of skullduggery.  I just prefer it a bit more refined.

Sadly for the Major, Taquin Du Seuil did not win the Neptune.  I did not pass go, I did not collect significantly more than 200.  Still, the dream itself was worthwhile.  There will be another time.

We go into Thursday with our war chest intact.  Early exchanges have been searching, exploratory forays to test defences and reactions.  I almost fell into the trap of backing Coral Cup and Fred Winter horses with conviction, pure folly and I kept my losses sensible… The enemy allowed me fancy prices about Mullins Jnr and Nina Carberry in the amateur riders…  I took them.

The next two days could be taken easily, too concerned with the fear of loss to try to be glorious.  No, not for us, we know what we must do…  Read on only if you are prepared to come with me and face the abyss.  Fearless.

To Cheltenham…. load the heavy cannons, stand broad and tall.

The Jewson

Dynaste cost me a fortune when defecting from the RSA to the Jewson and I am not sure it was a great call.  His previous Feltham win was very strong defeating Third Intention and generally looking very good.  This is also my issue with Dynaste – He has only won one of four starts at Cheltenham and we know it is a specialist track

I think the RSA field was weaker and today he faces Captain Conan, a horse I can easily forgive a more lacklustre display at Sandown when winning latest.  That day he clearly was not himself but still finished well on the hill to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  He was not right that day and he is reported much better now – I think a 13/2 punt (Paddy Power) is in order.

Aupcharlie has looked an immensely powerful traveller who has not always found much off the bridle.  Interesting but overlooked.

The Pertemps Final

Look, let us keep this really simple.  When Paul Nicholls describes a handicap mark as a ‘gift from God’, one should sit up and pay attention.  Sam Winner heads the market at 9/2 and I think it is well worth backing.  He has won twice at Cheltenham from four visits so the track holds no fears.  His Triumph race was interesting, while only fourth, he was staying on at the end.  He has beaten Grandouet and been within half a dozen lengths of Zarkander.  That makes a mark of just 140 very manageable.. I have to agree with his trainer.

The Pertemps is often won by a more experienced handicapper.  Maybe that is a reflection of the rigours of a big field.

If you like one at a price, Ely Brown at 20/1 does look a tad tasty.  Sam Winner for me.

The Ryanair

The quality of the Ryanair is superb this year as the Aeroplane scared people into stepping up half a mile in trip.

First Lieutenant is favourite and most argue that his form finishing in a heap with Flemenstar, Sir Des Champs and Tidal Bay is also key to the Gold Cup.  The Major remains unconvinced.  It is the presence of Tidal Bay that bothers me.  First Lieutenant is a top horse, he was a superb hurdler beating Rock on Ruby and showed promise as a novice hurdler.  Yet his last win was 9 starts back.  I know he has not been disgraced in any run since but I am always nervous with horses with bad strike rates no matter what their form lines.

Most people will be a fan of the favourite because of the stamina doubts of Cue Card based on a poor King George effort.  I don’t think that day had anything to do with stamina, I think he just had a bad day… it happens.

Champion Court has a lot of plusses but for me lacks the requisite je ne sais quoi.

No… Cue Card.. 7/2… smash it.

The World Hurdle

Reve de Sivola and Oscar Whisky are surely the key starting points in the World Hurdle.

Many had the latter down as a non stayer but I was never convinced about that and his last run at Cheltenham surely put pay to it.  I think he will be fitter for the effort and on much much better ground, he will have the measure of Reve de Sivola in my opinion.

My betting strategy is going to be clouded by the presence of Bog Warrior.  He is my favourite horse in training.  Top hurdle form looked like it might transfer to fences but some major jumping errors have seen them convert the horse back to hurdles and he has been awesome ever since.  If you want to see why I love the horse so much, have a look at the Drinmore he won on Youtube.  His style is head in chest, bowling along… How can you not love him?  He will carry a significant sum of the Majors wedge for that reason alone…

Yet my advice to you all is Oscar Whisky at 7/2.

The Bryne Group Plate

Sorry to be boring but I cannot get away from Ballynagour, 4/1.  The performance it put in suggested that we have missing a lot while he has been lightly raced.

Hunt Ball is eased back into handicap level and his mark may well be passable.  He won this off just over a stone lighter last year but is a class horse.

I cannot get away from the Pipe horse though… Join the money train.

The Kim Muir

The stakes here must be kept to a minimum as the puzzle is vast and the traps numerous.

There are only 5 horses in the vast field though that have won at Cheltenham and that is not a bad angle to take into this.  Super Duty, Prince of Pirates, Swing Bill, Galaxy Rock and Alfie Sherrin should all cope with the decent ground.

I put a line through Swing Bill because although some of his form is working out well, he is 12 and I do not like it.  Jumping puts me off Prince of Pirates but a clean round equals danger for all in my view.

The Major struck well in the John Oaksey by suggesting that the jockey in these amateur races is vital.  This brings other horses into contention too including Vesper Bell and Romanesco.

Class horses have no problems lumping weight around the Kim Muir so Super Duty and my selection should be fine if they have the minerals.  I am sticking with the boy who got the job done for us on Back in Focus…. Patrick Mullins is aboard Vesper Bell.. That one has placed form at the top level and the Irish National trial he competed in has worked out OK.  There is every reason to be excited about 16/1 so have a large slice and berate me later for being so interested in a horse in a ridiculously tricky handicap.

The Cross Country

Go back two days to see the reasoning for Arabella Boy to win the Cross Country.

Courage, roll those dice.