Tag Archives: fentara

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury Tips, Anger, Weather and some football tips too

Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire shielding itself from the blizzard, winter clings doggedly to the year, yielding not to the start of the flat season, impervious to the date.

The coldest March in 50 years.  I could have told you that stood at the one furlong marker on the Cheltenham hill on the opening day of the festival.  Cold did not do it justice.  Freezing would be more honest but then the wind blew and it was as though all layers of protective clothing as well as my skin, muscle and sinew were rendered worthless against the stabbing wind stricking right at the bone.

Saturday racing hangs in the balance.  The Welsh, Scots, Irish and English have all been denied a meeting as Bangor, Kelso, Gowran and Stratford have abandoned.  Southwell should be fine but Doncaster and Newbury have to survive morning inspections.  Newbury looks to have more chance than Donnie as it rests on the ground not being waterlogged as opposed to snow.  The course is optimistic but the Major is not so sure – We might face losing both Newbury and Doncaster.

A young dashing sort called Steve is hopefully off to Newbury in fine fettle and with good company, he asked me to mark the Newbury card and I shall.  Good luck to you and your kith, wear layers concentrating on waterproofing and warmth.  Consider several pairs of socks, gloves, scarves, hats, bright plastic ponchos and any other garment useful for fighting such foul elements.  Comfort beats style eleven times from ten.

I had a three-hour drive in this awful weather earlier.  Through the grim dark grey mess I witnessed some horrific driving and some furious reactions.  Drivers wishing to go faster weaving through lanes aggressively, horns blaring, lights flashing.  The reactions are what interest me.  Some people when cut up on the motorway treat it as though their honour has been crossed.  Such pointless energy expended in futile expression.  People who drive badly are unlikely to change habits from your actions.  Thus you achieve little and a better frame of mind is to let these instances wash over you as water from a ducks back.

Ask what such anger says about you… As Gandhi said The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Newbury Tips

The opener looks an absolute shoe-in for classy flat convert Poet.  Evens is available on Betfair this evening but I suspect 8/11 to be the morning price and I still would not put you off.  There is little else in this field that could compete. Poet was a listed winner on the flat and although not turning to hurdling until late in life, he has put in enough to suggest he is well capable of winning this.  For one, he is the only horse in the field to have won on heavy ground and conditions will be fine.

If there is a danger, it will come from Seventh Sky who put in his best performance last time out at Taunton, winning a handicap.  I do not expect him to throw down too serious a challenge.

2.20 Mares Novice Chase

There is a solid argument that Fentara is lightly treated on her form against Super Duty who in turn was narrowly denied in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham.  Fentara has also won two from four on heavy ground.  Yet this is competitive and this one is prone to big errors which is not ideal when facing the tough Newbury fences.

Marie Des Anges is interesting but I am not sure she is suited to a proper test in the mud over this trip.  She is one of two decent shots that Anthony Honeyball has in the race and I actually prefer her to the other, Jackies Solitaire.

The two I am most interested in are Violin Davis and Tara Rose.  The former had the better of the latter at Bangor earlier in the season when giving 3lbs.  She has to concede a further 10 here but I think she can even in these conditions.

She has the advantage of the excellent Fehily in the saddle and Harry Fry the trainer has sent 5 to Newbury in recent times with 4 winning… Have a considerable slice of the 6/1 with Paddy Power and thank me later.

2.55 Mares Novice Hurdle

Henderson and Sherwood have won five of the last six runnings of this race and their runners have to be afforded respect.  Only Henderson has an entry and Glorious Twelfth, a former Cheltenham bumper winner needs to prove that bottomless conditions are what she needs.

Ballinahow Star is where the money is tonight but I am always wary of backing horses returning from a break in such tough conditions.

I am struggling to split two in the race, Too Generous and Highland Retreat.

Both are proven in the mud and both are making handicap debuts.  There is an argument that both are on workable marks.  Too Generous is certainly on an upwards curve even if she had to work a bit for her last win.  If pushed I would just favour Too Generous despite Highland Retreat being another horse to benefit from the excellent Noel Fehily.

3.30 Newbury Handicap Chase

Handy Andy is a Newbury specialist having won three of four starts at the course.  The yard is in good touch but I wonder if the mark is catching up with him.

Loch Ba could potentially bounce back to glory after never looking at home at the Cheltenham Festival.  Rhum is unlikely to get the soft lead he needs to be competitive.

The one I like the most is Cedre Bleu.  Hailing from the Nicholls camp, he warrants a good look and of all of the runners, I think he rates the likeliest to act in these extreme conditions.  Handy Andy rate the danger.

4.05 Juvenile Hurdle

The two French imports which Tony Carroll has in the race are both potential grenades.  Lac Sacre beat Thinger Licht in a claimer in Enghien but Carroll claimed them both.

While it might not be too obvious that Handazan is well handicapped, at least he is proven in the conditions.  The Major tentatively overlooks Handazan and Lac Sacre in favour of 7/1 In The Crowd who looks like an improver who will be happy to mix it in the mud.

4.40 Bumper

Chase the Wind and Fabrika are the two I am interested in.  The former finished narrowly behind Cheltenham Champion Bumper contender Vieux Lion Rouge on debut.  The latter represents Henderson and Geraghty and will have lots of supporters.

Trainer comments regarding Fabrika, put me in her camp at 3/1.

5.10 Handicap Chase

Sustainability has not had his mark changed for a close up second at Wincanton and to the eye, this horse looks a thorough stayer.  Newbury is likely to be a much more suitable venue and at 11/4, I feel a good bet in order.

Doncaster – The Lincoln

I am not going through the Doncaster card because I do not think it will make it.  Should I be wrong then I will throw one tip out for the Lincoln.

Shamaal Nibras is a Hannon horse with a solid record in soft ground.  I think it could be well treated and the break is of no concern given the hands the animal is in.

I promised you one Donnie tip but cannot help but give you another.  If Bog Warrior captures my heart over obstacles, Jack Dexter is the love of my flat life.  What a heart this horse has, winning back to back competitive handicaps last year.  I do not see any reason not to be lumping on!

To the football…

Portsmouth have been showing some spirit of late but Coventry are overpriced at 5/4 to get a result on the South Coast.  I am on Tranmere at 21/20 to take three points at home too.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Violin Davis, Cedre Bleu, Sustainability and Coventry.

Courage and roll those dice.

Sunday Racing Tips from the Major who is presently winning his battle!

Good evening from the Major who writes a brief post of tomorrows key action.

Firstly a moment to wallow in the glory.  The good form continues and the Major was delighted to have picked out several winners yesterday.

I am sure you will all follow me religiously now as I hurtle solidly towards the cold list.  There are plenty of seats on this bus.

Of todays racing, I was most taken with Rigadin de Beauchene.  His win was a great harmony of equine determination and stamina coupled with a jockey who kept on when most would have of cried enough.  McCoy would have been proud.

Sunday is coming to us and we shall try to uncover a few likely sorts.  If you had some winners today, I trust you are doing what is right… Investing in your Cheltenham position.

I will write some ante post Cheltenham pieces soon but my portfolio holds Zarkander as well as Grandouet, Dynaste, Simonsig, Taquin du Seuil (mainly for the Neptune for which I need a fair wind), Quevega (Mares hurdle is my reckoning), Oscar Whisky (World Hurdle) and Long Run in the main event.

To Sunday and the sports…

Navans Grade C Chase – 3.15

This is a trappy old race and a number of interesting horses show up.

Saoirse Dun competed well in lesser events before slipping up at Cork.  I’m not sure that form is good enough but he is progressing and will be OK on the ground – Could be a danger for all off a featherweight.  Harpsy Chord on the other hand was running well in a much stronger race at Limerick when coming a cropper, he is a contender.   That holds Somekindsuprstar and Armaramak.

Tarquinius has done well in winning his last two races, he has some good course form too.  Conditions pose no problem either.

It really comes down to which race you want to take a form line from, which horses will handle the testing conditions and which pilots you trust the most.

Harpsy Chord and Tarquinius are my favoured two with preference for the former (9/2 Boylesports).  I would not put you off a reverse forecast play too at juicy prices.

Kelso Tips – Sunday

I have more fancies on the Kelso card, let us see if we can find a few winners.

I really do like the favourite in the first, Woodpole Academy (Back over evens), plenty in his favour.  The Newcastle win has been well franked by Maybe I Wont who was runner-up but then demolished the field on his next outing.  The McCain / Maguire machine is taken to do its work.

Fentara looks a pick in the second but I can neither trust that one to clear the fences well enough or find enough merit in the rest of the field.

In the 1.50 – You have to be on Corrin Wood.  Could Gervin Chambertin had been more impressive last time out?  Yet Corrin Wood gave him a real battle on his penultimate start losing by a small margin.  Having won well on his last start, you can only interpret that as thoroughly progressive.   He is likely to be 1/2 but I will be including it in my multiples – You might be reading it thinking that I am a lazy tipster for offering this but what can I say – Horse is class, the team are in good form, he is proven on the surface – He should win!

In the 2.20 it is really difficult to rate Sergeant Pink and Gleann Na Ndochais.  Their last race saw the latter seemingly get on top before the former rallied and won.  A 4lb reverse, plus an error by Gleann Na Ndochais give it a fine chance but Sergeant Pink is a horse that is less exposed over fences and I stick with it tentatively at 5/2.

That’s all I like at Kelso as the last three races look overly complex.

Courage and roll those dice…

Saturday Disaster – February in Loss – Monday Tip

The Saturday Service delivered yesterday morning was quite simply the most disastrous the Major has ever posted.  Oddly I felt quite confident that a few winners would be in there. Fistral Beach was disappointing, I should have steered clear of the all-weather or at least backed class over draw in the case of Anne of Kiev.  Molotof was beaten by a good-looking one, else that would have paid.  Italy hung on to lose by 8 making the handicap bet on Italy the only paying result of the weekend.  Overall ten pieces of advice, £2 returned to level £1 stakes… shocking.

I wonder if connections named Fentara after the DC comics namesake

This has left February as a loss making month, unless the tips below come home.  We are currently 7% down on the month, after a tremendous January where we finished 32% up, we are left a respectable 15% up on the year but have given away much of our earlier winnings.  Plus we have counted the stake for Stoke beating West Brom but the result will not be known until tomorrow night.

Time to move on.  The Major is relentlessly positive,  yesterdays failures are soon forgotten because we have to approach tomorrows opportunities with the same vigour, detailed approach and optimism as we would have done if we had enjoyed a blinding weekend of winners.

2.40 Monday Catterick Xtremeadventuresuk.com Handicap Hurdle

Of the various handicaps and novice races available tomorrow at Catterick and Plumpton, this is the race that the Major feels we have a chance in.

The standard is typical class 4, a mixed bag of plot type horses that could be improvers and some real monkeys who may be hard to win with but have some base ability if they choose to go for it.  There are plenty of last time out winners in this one, let’s see who has the real improvement.

Sam Deng is 7/1 but I am totally unconvinced that a step up in trip is what this horse needs – While it won a maiden over 2m 6f, since then it has blown up every time they step it up, interesting that connections persist but not one for the Major.

Wor Rom is joint 5/1 favourite this evening and this is a horse that won nicely last time out.  That said it now has to defy a 14lb hike in the weights.   All four wins have come with the help of cheekpieces which again aid tomorrow.  The jockey change is probably in recognition of the weight increase.  Two of the horses three hurdle wins came in quick succession when dodging the handicapper off a mark of 80, now running off 104, I am unsure we are seeing a huge improvement in form to compensate, overlooked.

The Red Laird at 8/1 would be a nice bet if we were assured a good round of jumping but this one is hardly a reliable sort!  That said, Giles Hawkins seemed to chime really well with the horse winning his sole ride as pilot.  Not the strongest win claim but not a total shock to him in the frame.

Veronicas Boy would be a shock winner as the jumping needs work and the distance surely does not suit.

San Deng catches the eye for a couple of reasons.  The 10lb claimer onboard a Mr Joe Colliver won on board in January at this track.  It might have caught connections out as the horse was allowed to go off at 28/1 .  15/2 is the price tomorrow but I am unsure this step up in trip is a good thing for the horses chances off a 9lb higher mark.

Whatdoidowiththat is a very interesting runner already priced as joint 5/1 favourite having been off track for 4 months.  Last time this horse was seen it was winning a handicap hurdle at Hexham over half a mile shorter.  The placed horses that day have done nothing to further the form.  Although the horse was previously rated higher, being raised to 98 and off a break it might be tough.  Sue Smith has a 9% strike rate with horses returning from a 90 day or more break (now that’s the sort of detail you want from the Major), could be a contender but too much against in the Majors view.

Not Talking is also 5/1 and a pound or two out of the handicap.  The chase mark has subsided to something closet to the hurdle mark but unless the market spoke volumes, I cannot see enough to endear this one to earn your money or mine on it’s back.

This leaves two of the non outsiders to consider.  Fentara and Comeththehour.

Comeththehour is one to watch like a hawk in the market nothing in a series of novice runs suggests it will win and at 11/1 you think the price on form is skinny.  Given Moffatt does not have a huge habit of having handicap good things first time out and that the horses novice runs were over similar distances , the Major chooses to take the form as read and rule out Comeththehour.

This leaves me Fentara.  Father son team Robert and Tim Walford seem to have this gorse in pretty good nick.  A recent winner, the second went on to advertise the form well.

It is interesting that after two good runs and two and a half miles they have chosen to step the horse up.  Being a Kayf Tara progeny, it is likely to be OK with the step up in trip, the ground is fine too.  5/1 with Victor Chandler.

I wouldn’t put anyone off each way bets on the fair prices for The Red Laird and San Deng but the advice is to support Fentara at 5/1.   The one that bothers me the most is Not Talking.  In a handicap like this, if you cannot figure out why something is not fancied, you could be in trouble.

It reminds me of my favourite poker saying.  If after 20 minutes you cannot fiure out who at the table is the worst player, it’s probably you.

Good night good warriors, rest and let us fight out our differences with the enemy under a new sun.