Tag Archives: finians rainbow

The Saturday Sermon – Cheltenham Open Saturday Tips… Shabash

Good evening from the Major who writes from the living room with a Worcestershire cold settling outside in a most pleasant way, for I am settled and content after an afternoon at Cheltenham races.  The wood stove is emitting waves of comfort with log and smokeless coal, flaming red inside, the air vents narrowed and the chopped silver birch, such a travesty to serve such a lovely tree this way, it burns slowly, as will my pleasure, mellowing from within.

It has been an awfully long and testing week but it has drawn to a close in good order and I shall tell you a little of it.  Today, I attended the track and enjoyed a pleasant meal of Gressingham Duck breast, most pleasant.  The table company was excellent and I tried to choose the perfect moment to relieve myself from my obligations and absorb all of the benefits from the freedom of the course.

Barely legible

Barely legible

 

AP McCoy and the Major

AP McCoy and the Major

I watched the cross-country on the inside of the course and held my breath during the tense climb up the hill where after the best part of four miles, Balthazar King had enough steel to hold off the last challenge of Uncle Junior.

I  signed the Tony McCoy Wall in the Hall of Fame and remembered Taquin du Seuil who was the subject of a personal tip I received from AP last December before his two winter wins.  Though McCoy won’t remember dispensing the information, it shall stay with me.  These men of iron who take centre stage with their equine assistants, they are accessible to us, their humble observers, unlike any other sport, we can get close and personal and in such encounters, memories are created.

Memories, so much more precious than objects, yet we often invest more energy and place greater value in the latter, how fruitless.  We are here for such a short spell and this is no dress rehearsal my friends.  When I consider the value of the creation of memory, there is an Epicurean pleasure derived that is never replicated in the physical.   Friendship, freedom, thought, observing the might and beauty of what is around you… these things you should pursue relentlessly my friends and leave the large flat screen TV, the expensive watch and the other accoutrement of wealth to those less thoughtful than yourself – It will all be dust in the end, as shall we.

Leaving Cheltenham after racing, the light was very low and set a sky of deep and azure blues, a cold sky.  A hazy snake of red brake lights shimmering in the exhaust fumes lit the way to the exit of the bottom car park.  The steam train was leaving billowing white fluffy clouds in great expulsions.  With my window down, I could hear the high-pitched whining of the helicopter engines gaining their vicious momentum.  Looking behind me, up across the course, a stunning scene of twinkling lights and busying folk at their business of clearing the detritus of the day and resetting the course for the morning.  Maybe it was this scene, or maybe it was the bulging wallet, I shall let you be the judge but happiness was mine.

Back to Cheltenham for the Saturday Open card and we shall be at them again, our resolve set, draw thy sabre, take a cut on the forte and return, driving hard, running through their flesh.  Tomorrow night, we feast.

Cheltenham Saturday Open Tips

I have fond and mixed memories of Paddy Power Saturday at Cheltenham.  The fondest memory would be Old Vic in the David Johnson colours in a race where I had planned on backing Monkerhostin but was persuaded on course by an Irish stranger I met to get on Old Vic.  The darkest was being heavily on Granite Jack who fatally fell at the fence that caught many out travelling at speed down the hill, sadly national hunt claims many and that one stuck with me, tarnishing the experience.  Let us hope that all competitors return safely tomorrow.

I am going to take it race by race.  Critical factors remain trainer form, the good ground and course form.  Three winners from six yesterday but beware, past performance does not indicate future performance and the value of your investments may go down as well as up.

In the opening juvenile hurdle (12.40), Royal Irish Hussar is a worthy favourite as he brings a telling piece of form into the race from Wetherby.  The race he won had a series of winners from both France and Britain and he won by some distance, that looked very useful indeed.  Art Mauresque is an eye-catching acquisition for Nicholls who is to be feared with his French imports but the Henderson horse is the one for me.  Looks obvious, probably is.

The second race is an interesting Novice Chase and there are some high potential chase recruits in the race.  The two that have good ground form are the two at the head of the market, African Gold and Shutthefrontdoor.  The former is a Twiston Davies horse and I think could be a real stable star.  He was second in the Albert Bartlett to a high-class winner, At Fishers Cross.  A key hesitation here is the form of the yard.  There horses often need reappearance runs and I think Jonjo might have his string further forward.  Thus Shutthefrontdoor gets my vote, he is fit after a run over fences at Aintree and that experience would have done him no harm.  He was fourth in the Pertemps final, has won on good ground and has enough going for him at 11/4.

The third (1.50), the Murphy Group Handicap Chase is a trappy affair but I have a fancy for Quentin Collonges who is available at 12/1.  He won a Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in staying on style – He does not mind a hill, he enjoys good ground and the Daly yard are in good nick.  Key dangers come from Bradley, who stays forever and enjoys Cheltenham, which is a doubt for my own selection (a serious one too!) and also Alvarado who I will be having a small saver on, while out of the bottom of the handicap, looks like a horse that will thrive stepped up in trip.

The Paddy Power is a conundrum this year with plenty of potential angles.  I like Finians Rainbow because he has Cheltenham and ground form but it is unusual for a horse to win over the age of 8, let alone a 10 year old, he has the class but not for me.   Radjahni Express looks to have plenty of improvement left and he gave Tap night a hell of a beating at Ayr, whether good ground is the right underfoot conditions, well, I do not know.

Champion Court has conditions falling perfectly for him and I suspect he is going to be in the places.  He is seriously in considerations as is Ballynagour who looked outstanding enough to warrant a stone and a half increase after a single race last year.  The horse I am settling on though is one I think will take to the task well, Colour Squadron.  He can be a handful but has some very useful hurdle form and is in this on a featherweight.  I like Tom O’Brien in the saddle and am happy to take 12/1 on a bigger than expected run.

In the handicap hurdle that follows, Silver Eagle is of some interest, though I must confess to not being Sam Thomas’ greatest fan.  Southfield Theatre is an obvious pick and I think he will definitely make the shake up.  I am going to take a slice of Bally Legend at 25/1 – I think he will like conditions and may well improve for the step up to proper staying distances.

The novice hurdle event looks more straight forward and while Timesremembered looks an exciting prospect, the vibes are good about Port Melon (7/2) too and I am backing the Nicholls inmate to convert some good point form directly into this tidy novice standard.

The bumper could go several ways and I am opting for the Henderson trained 5/1 shot Mayfair Music.  Plenty of dangers about but I think she will relish the goodish ground.

I trust you to dine in fine style and in great company.  Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Punchestown Tips, Sandown Tips – Suarez biting incident.. Football

Good morning from the Major who writes from bed in some discomfort.  On a rare but regular basis, the Major tweaks muscles in the base of my back leaving me a hobbling and complaining wretch.  I am not a good patient.

A week of bans in sport with Al Zarooni picking up a proper disqualification which spells the end of his training career – Good.  Suarez picked up a substantial ban too which had the wallahs of Liverpool wringing their hands and exclaiming the unfairness of it all.

The Major is pleased that a tough stance was taken on this incident.  Liverpool, in their reaction to it, are demonstrating that they learned little from the Suarez / Evra situation.  The Managing Director, the man the entire club takes a lead from in terms of behaviour and culture, suggests that the punishment targets the individual not the crime.  Other cultural leaders of the club show the balance between an organisation who want to protect a valuable asset and those that understand the disrepute he is dragging the club through… again.

Rodgers: Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behavior is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this – Wow, if I bit someone at work, my own company would not take the time to explain that this is ‘unacceptable’, that would be taken as read, I would be punished (fired).

Souness: …the board have to see it that way because they’re risking everything this great football club stands for 

To feel for balance in the argument it is worth considering the alternate arguments which seem to be as follows.

Is Suarez being targeted because of a history and thus, 8 weeks is too harsh a punishment?  Biting is a very dishonourable aspect to sport that disgusts many people.  In his first biting incident, Suarez was banned for 7 weeks.  In Rugby last year, Dylan Hartley took an 8 week ban for biting a finger of an Irish opponent.  Thus, 10 weeks (7 for the incident itself, 3 for violent conduct) seems fair for a second offence.  

If the club and player felt it was unduly harsh, they could appeal and run the risk of it being increased.  Their decision not to, speaks to me some what of the advice they will have received behind the scenes and their real view behind the hyperbole.  It is worth remembering that the panel who set the tariff is independent of the FA.

The Liverpool statement suggests that the tariff is unfair (which I believe to be posturing) because it is not consistent with other punishments.  One of the issues the FA need to address is retrospective action applying to players who are cautioned in a game but later found to have committed a more heinous crime.  This is what happened to Defoe, an equally low act, while unfortunate he did not serve justice it does not mean that we should not deal properly with Suarez who was not cautioned in the game.

Suarez is going to receive the full support of Liverpool.  A player whose record is so chequered, whose reputation so low, receives the full support of the club again.

Sadly the message I receive is: The values of Liverpool < The talent of Suarez – A sorry state of affairs for one of our football institutions.

If I had the time I would explore how the brand damage done by these instances will mean the club play in the long run.   I would highlight the personal values people associate with their sporting support.  Instead, we shall head to the tips…

We scored a reasonable return at Punchestown yesterday.  The fly did the business in the style you would like from a 1/4 winner.  Un Atout battled hard for victory with Pont Alexandre withdrawn.  The instruction to load the cannons on Un De Sceaux paid dividends and overall, it was not a bad day at all.

Punchestown Tips

If you are heading to Punchestown, I hope you have a marvellous time.  @limerickjfk shall be on track and I wish you and your compadres the very best of luck.

The opening Irish Field Chase could go to Shakervilz at 4/1.  He was a runner up in the Cross Country at the Cheltenham festival, that form was well franked this week.  Heavy ground should be no problem to him.  Have a small slice.

In the second, I think you need some medical attention if you back Mikael D’Haguenet.  Clearly there is enough talent to take this, after all he beat subsequent RSA chase winner Lord Windemere this season.  Yet, he throws some horrendous runs in on a regular basis.  Aupcharlie has hardly looked impressive at this end of the season either and so a chance is taken on Grey Gold at 8/1 – I am sure they are not tilting at windmills stepping the Carlisle winner up so far in class.

In the third, On His Own jumped 24 of the national fences before falling at Valentines second time around.  I did not watch the race as per my previous views on it but I understand from racing notes, he was fading at the time.  I think the ground is much more to his liking here (unbeaten on worse than soft) but it is a big ask after his exertions earlier this month.

I think you have to take Wyck Hill‘s last run at Kempton with a pinch of salt given his track record on softer ground.  At 5/1, I suggest a small slice.  Liberty Counsel is also too big at 16/1 and the Irish National winner can run into a place at least so have a small saver.

Tarla looks a shoe-in at 4/6 in the fourth.  One for multiples.  She has good chase form but was very game reverting to the smaller obstacles last time.  Largely Ruby has got the stable calls right this week and so his selection of the horse over Glenns Melody carries significance.

The Champion 4yo Hurdle at 5pm is all the weaker for the absence of the uber-exciting Our Conor.  Of all of the Cheltenham winners, his Triumph success was breathtaking and surely signals a significant career ahead.  Mullins saddles four of the six runners and of them, Diakali is a shade odds on to win.  Although I am a bit nervous at the price, he does look the most likely winner.  Dogora could be an excellent cast off from Closutton for David Casey as I think back on heavy, we might see much more horse.

Gigginstown have seven darts to throw in the 5.35 handicap.  While only a certain amount of work can be done in such races, I am suggesting an investment at 17/2 in Fahamore who has a number of attractive points.  He looks well handicapped having battled out a finish (lost) with Acapulco, when having to give best part of a stone.  Since that foe went in earlier in the week, it has to rate as good form.  Heavy ground holds no problems (6 runs, 3 wins, 2 places) – What’s not to like? He only has 24 others to defeat!

That is it from Punchestown for me, I am not playing in the bumper or the charity race.

Sandown Tip – Celebration Chase

This race more than any marks the end of the National Hunt adventure.  Last year, Sanctuaire blitzed the field.  He looks a horse whose mind has been destroyed by the Aeroplane and I wonder if he will run a big race again – It sort of reminds me of this.  He is favourite here though and has shown enough in the past to justify it… if (and a big if in my mind) he can return to his former self.

Finians Rainbow is a horse the Major likes.  I was really taken by his Champion Chase win last year (people forget so easily), he really fought hard going past the bypassed fence tussling with Sizing Europe.  This season has been a disappointment having never properly recovered from a spell on the sidelines.  Good ground holds no fears.

One who will relish good ground and is overpriced is Tataniano who is six from six on good ground.  That alone is probably not enough to make him a win bet but at 33/1 I would put noone off having a slice in case a return to top form (won off 160) is in order on better ground.

Sod it… Finians Rainbow is the best of these and I am backing Henderson to have worked some magic.  Have a decent slice of the 9/2.

Football – Regular readers will know that Watford are the team I have been classing as the money train for some time and they duly delivered for me last night at Leicester at 3/1.  I am reinvesting those funds in some teams I like.  I think Stoke will be keen to finish strongly and can see off Norwich at home.  Southampton have the guns to beat West Brom who have had a poor end of season.  I also think that Newcastle at 11/5 are a big price to see off Liverpool.  For all of the troubles listed above, I think an unsettled Liverpool performance might be one of the outputs of the whole affair.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Shakervilz, Finians Rainbow, Stoke and Diakali.

I trust your dinner is expensive and held in fine company.  Allow a generous tip and be awake at the wrong side of midnight.  It is good to be alive.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Sermon with Haydock and Ascot tips….

Good morning from the Major who writes from a sodden Worcestershire where deluges of rain have altered the vista. It is a pretty site, fields now lakes, vast expanses of new temporary wetland which the bird life will enjoy.

It all happened so quickly, rivers and brooks burst sending violent floods of water into new places where it doesn’t belong.. roads, fields, flat areas vulnerable to the torrents of water, now settled in calm collectives. They will disperse as quickly as they came, silently draining and giving back their taken land.

The Major has been sleeping more soundly. Whatever the cause it dispersed as quickly as it pooled too. With sleep, comes confidence. Today my faithful few, we daub the war paint and go to war. We have an excellent renewal of the Betfair Chase, a decent Amlin at Ascot and football opportunities too.

Sharpen that lance point and prepare the heavy charger. The enemy is dug in, prepared for our onslaught, we shall take them on directly, first on horse, picking with our lance points at the gallop and then fighting man to man with bayonets fixed. It will be dirty work but we deserve our victory… To the sports…

3.05 Haydock – Betfair Chase

What a fantastic renewal of the Betfair Chase. The two remaining placed horses from last years Gold Cup do battle with Silvianaco Conti and Weird Al.

You can read this race a number of ways and what complicates matters further is the testing conditions which could readily deteriorate to heavy. I am making the assumption that it will.

The only horse with good form when that word appears is Cannington Brook but while he has shown improvement, surely he is not a Grade 1 winner.

The ground could scupper the chances of The Giant Bolster who is clearly a rose on the significant upgrade surprising many with a superb Gold Cup second. He is the stable star and reportedly doing very well. He is likely to run off the front and although in a small field that could be advantageous, in these specific conditions, I suggest he will be setting it up.

That leaves Weird Al, Long Run and Silvianaco Conti.

I like Weird Al a lot. Quirky and difficult to train, this will be his Gold Cup without doubt. He will be tip top for this and has a record that is mores site fresh. Strongly considered and his soft ground form (4 from 5) suggests that heavy holds little fear.

Silvianaco Conti is a second season chaser with serious merit. He has clearly progressed like so many of the Ditcheat team do. He looked excellent on seasonal debut int he Charlie Hall, particularly as that was his first time outside of novice company. He is going to be fit and ready.

Long Run is the proven class. How I wish, Barry Geraghty would get a chance. Then we would know whether the scruffy jumps are the horses habit or the amateur jockey factor. Owners can do what they want and the Corinthian spirit can be admired but as a racing fan, I want to see the best jockeys on the best horses. I am still a fan, a clean round and this machine is unbeatable in my view. He won a Gold Cup as a young pup beating good sorts. He always hits a few but stands up and keeps going. These fences at this speed on this ground might suit…. That though is the problem, can you believe the horse has never run on anything worse than good to soft! It is hard to know what Long Run will make of heavier conditions.

The tip…. Hmmmmm tricky. Weird Al is tempting simply because this is the main aim. Long Run is really tempting now drifting, I am opting for Silviniaco Conti, I am also having a reverse forecast on the first two in the market.

At the start of this season, I had written off Paul Nicholls chances of top trainer. Henderson had far more 160+ rated sorts and it looked like all the talent was there. Now with Silvianaco, Al Ferof and others showing progression, it is wide open again.

2.30 Haydock

I really like the two at the top of market and am going to tip Katkeau – Pipe has an excellent record in the race and I am not put off by jockey bookings. This is a ‘could be anything’ French import and 13/2 Coral is fine for me.

2.10 Ascot – Amlin Chase Tips

The ground at Ascot is likely to be very testing too particularly as the rain will hit Berkshire.

A few weeks back, the Major heavily tipped For Non Stop at 13/2 which duly obliged and you might expect the same again but no….

Today, even the Fehily factor (the Majors favourite underrated jockey), I am tipping Finians Rainbow. Last year, my selection was simply awesome in the Champion Chase, outclassing Sizing Europe. The latter is an exceptional horse in his own right who won doing cartwheels in Ireland last week.

Finians is simple. Evens is a gift.

2.45 Ascot – Coral Hurdle

Again, I am looking to keep it simple here. The best horse in the race is Oscar Whiskey who is also tactically Flexible. He can and will front run and will be damn hard to peg back – he likes a lot of cut so conditions bear no ill – smash it up in a double with Finians Rainbow, 4/5… I can see it being 4/7 at the off.

2.35 Gowran

Last tip from the Major comes from Gowran Park where a highly regarded Mullins horse (always worth noting) does battle with Hidden Cyclone. I fancy Call the Police to come out on top based on reputation and the weight benefit he gets as Hidden Cyclone has won a Grade 3.

Currently 7/4 but only Paddy Power has a market! Outrageous!

To the football…

Derby should beat Blues (5/4) who are a club in turmoil. I fancy that in a double with Blackburn (11/10) who should see off Millwall.

Lucky 15… For Mr Hill, (Derby, Blackburn, Finians Rainbow and Call the Police). It might not be £600 worth but good luck!

May your dinner be fuelled by magnificent winners. Have pasta and a light wine, a Bourgogne perhaps. I hope the company is enchanting and as you drop the tip on the table after the bill is settled, may her eyes widen and the race be put to bed.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Aintree Tips – 33/1 Grand National Tips and Trends

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.

Killyglen at 20/1 for the Major.... Enjoy National day

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.

Friday Aintree Tips – includes a 25/1 Topham Tip

THIS IS THE 2012 POST, 2013 tips will be posted at midnight on Thursday on the home page.

2013 tips are now live.

Good evening from the Major who writes with tips for the fantastic Friday Aintree card.  The sheer quality of racing makes the heart skip a beat.

Finians was top class when seeing off Sizing Europe. This will suit…. load the large cannon

No joy from the three Aintree tips offered on Thursday.

To be fair, Crack Away Jack came in second at 50/1 after being highlighted as a possible improver.  Pearl Mix was a non runner but Grumeti’s win was a moral victory as the form lines were tied.  The other two selections fared poorly.

We need Fridays Aintree Tips to bring the Warchest for the weekend, let us review the action and see if we cannot find some opportunities to load the large cannon.

Aintree Top Novice Hurdle – 2pm

Darlan’s second in the Supreme Novices is rock solid form and to be fair, you could argue he was a little unlucky not to be the winner.

Prospect Wells was not that far behind that day but the Major is opting for a horse who finished even further behind in the Supreme… the tip is Vulcanite.

The selection is a general 10/1 shot and has been pulling very hard in his races.  If he settles I think he could be a classier act than yet shown over the obstacles as he was a decent flat horse.  Aintree is a flatter track, which I feel will suit his running style and help him settle as they will go quicker.  Now with more experience, I think there is a reasonable case to be made that Vulcanite could come improve past them all.

2.30 Mildmay Novice Chase

I can understand why the market has priced up Champion Court as favourite.  This horse likes to bowl  along and on a flat track and likely granted an easy lead, he could be hard to peg back.

Silviniaco Conti has some very good tied form with Bobs Worth who was an impressive Cheltenham winner.  Ruby opts to ride him too.

Neither of these market leaders are that convincing to the Major though who looks a little further down to find a golden nugget hiding away.

Join Together is the 11/2 tip (Stan James).  Ruby disagrees with me having chosen Silviniaco Conti over this stablemate but I think my selection has the greater form.  His last run at Cheltenham was a disappointment and I have to find a valid reason (the ground).

With a line through that run, my horse has given weight and a beating to Champion Court and has beaten subsequent Cheltenham winner Teaforthree.  Have a slice.

3.05 Melling Chase

The selection here is far more simple.  Finians Rainbow, a winner at Aintree last year and the reigning Champion Chaser, should have nothing to fear from this field and should be backed to the hilt at 11/8 with Stan James.

Albertas Run who has won the race in 2010, is now 11 and the newcomer looks more progressive.

The way Finians Rainbow finished up the Cheltenham hill suggested that 2m 4f around Aintree is well within reach.  The main danger in the Major’s eyes is Wishfull Thinking who I remain convinced has some big races to run.

Smash it up.

Topham Chase Tips

One of the trickiest contests to resolve is Thursdays Aintree Topham chase.  Tipping a winner in this is a tricky business indeed.

A couple of thoughts influence the tip, the ground is being watered and I think with a dry forecast, they are worried about it going ‘good’.  I am looking for good ground sorts and hope we don’t get that dead ground that throws up such odd results.

Secondly, there is a hugely strong Topham trend towards bottom of the handicap sorts.  Just one horse in the last twelve winners carried more than 11st and that was Gwanako.  In fact, since the turn of the century, seven winners carried 10st 4lbs or less.  To be fair, this does not rule out many as you often have a classy sort taking on unexposed players.

Peter Bowen is heavily represented again including the Topham hat-trick seeking Always Waining.  He will sure be popular again and will be in the best shape for this so has to be considered even at eleven.

Little Josh is now running off the same marks that got him a Paddy Power Gold Cup.  Liking to front run, conditions will suit so 11/1 Paddy Power is half decent.  However, 11st 4lbs on trends will be a burden.

The selection though is harder to justify than these.  Montoya’s Son has started to recover some form and the recent Newcastle show was OK.  It is not unrealistic to expect further improvement and 25/1 (Paddy Power) allows some room for that.  Many bookies are offering 5 places so do watch the terms.

4.15 Sefton Novices

When connections described Fingal Bay as the best they have had, the Major made a big mark in the book and left it there.  6/4 is very reasonable for a horse that has shown terrific form.

Having bypassed Cheltenham, Fingal bay turns up at Aintree fresher than many and if he has most of the form that his reputation suggests, then he should carry these before him.

For those that like a bigger price, Knock a Hand looks extremely progressive and could well take a place.

4.50 Handicap Hurdle

I have been through this card and cannot decide between two so am serving both up.

Bourne, I think, was unsuited last time and has plenty of potential left in what was a progressive profile before the festival.  9/1 is a win bet.

Like Minded is a 25/1 Paul Nicholls inmate who has not done much winning but would be closely matched with 14/1 Ataglance now on these revised terms.  Harry Derham has had a high profile winner for the yard this term and is well worth his claim.

The other big price horse that I considered is 25/1 shot Saphir River who did not give a decent run on British debut and has to prove some worth out of confusing French form.  It is notable though that there was a quarter of a million fee for the horse – Market support could be significant on second UK start.

The Bumper

Go to twitter… follow @kingofbumpers… do not ask the Major!