Tag Archives: for non stop

December 27th – Kempton and Leopardstown Tips – keep the Christmas winners rolling!

Good evening from the major who writes from the armchair of the living room, stuffed full of Christmas gammon, my body groans.

The rain is persistent and dark outside, best not venture out. Instead wallow in the digital glow of an online account bigger than twelve hours previous.

Forgive some gloating but I was fairly pleased with my King George write up. As well as tipping the winner, I strongly hinted at Captain Chris and my staking plan matched. Winners from Dynaste and Spurs helped and a late night top up on Stoke was the icing. Lovely.

Christmas is all about excess and tomorrow, our already brimming vessels will have more goodness carelessly splashed into them. I say careless because it is hard to keep up. Some of the jockeys riding today, I simply did not recognise. There was no way I was ever going to have the most rudimentary understanding of how the Sedgefield or Market Rasen cards might shape.

I am used to scanning every race, every day of the year. Often you get a sixth sense for a card you like. Sometimes the Grade 1, sometimes the class 6 £1900 Wolverhampton seller. With this many meetings, it is hard to do that which makes me uneasy.

Still, while the finest cuts are being presented at our table and I am distracting you with my own psychological flaws, you must forgive my rudeness, let us look closely at what is presented to us and rise up as one against the enemy…

To the racing.

Kempton Tips

The French listed form of Irish Saint and the Ditcheat record of handling these French imports means there is only one possible bet for me in the opener, Nicholls has a good record in this race.

I cannot find a bet in the second. Certainly the Arkle favourite Simonsig should win but in these conditions and conceding the best part of a stone to Hinterland (no mug), I can’t be on at 1/6.

In the mares handicap at 1.30, I am backing Bunglasha Lady who looks progressive. Her last run suggested she is a bit of an awkward customer but she handles soft and has a reasonable weight to lug around. Over the distance, this will take a lot of getting and if she can be switched off, I would be surprised if she was not involved. Swincombe Flame is an obvious danger as is the Henderson improver, One Lucky Lady.

The Peterborough

The 2.05 is the twice rearranged Peterborough Chase. It is an interesting and difficult race to tip because none of the horses have won in heavy ground.

For Non Stop missed his King George assignment to take part in this and he will be the stopping point for many, particularly as he tried hard to give weight away to Captain Chris last time out who went on to greater things in the King George. I have two main concerns, one is his record going right handed and the other is the heavy ground.

Hunt Balls heroics seem to be fading fast but it might be a bit early to write this one off. His soft ground form is strong.

Menorah may be stretched and is a dicey prospect. French Opera is not my type and certainly doesn’t feel the sort to be improving now.

No on balance, the Peterborough Chase tip is Hunt Ball who has form measuring close to the best with these. Having looked so straight forward last season, I am willing to draw a line through the seasonal reappearance and assume well being. 6/1 with Paddy Power.

The Desert Orchid Chase

This should be quite simple from the Majors point of view, it all revolves around the two defeated adversaries of Sprinter Sacre from the Tingle Creek and the useful if a little quirky Wishfull Thinking.

Sanctuaire finished in front of Wishfull Thinking last season and is fine on soft ground. Having recently been beaten by Kumbeshwar and now having to concede another 4lbs to that rival it might be surprising to find it is my tip for the Desert Orchid.

Kumbeshwar is probably underrated overall and probably the Tingle Creek was a very big step forward on previous form. Anyone who watched the race though knows the cost Sanctuaire paid for asking the questions of Sprinter ‘The Aeroplane’ Sacre. Much more sensible tactics will be applied here as there is no one of the Aeroplanes’ quality here. Evens…. Fill your boots and thank me later.

Other Kempton Tips

In the 3.15, I am tipping a small wager on Mister Hyde who will like conditions and showed a likeable attitude latest. Jonjo and Maguire is an interesting partnership and maybe we can expect a little more from this 11/2 shot.

In the last, my advice is, take a pin, drop it in, rip your selection out of the paper, go to a bookmaker on course, screw the paper up and set fire to it, eat any remaining ashes. Look bookmaker in the eye, about heel and leave. I just saved you some money.

Leopardstown Dial a Bet and Future Novices Grade 1’s

Two good races in Ireland for us to consider.

The Dial a Bet features Sizing Europe who is a 2/5 shot but should murder this lot. Possibly the ground is a bit slow but the shorter distance will balance. I really fancied Sizing Europe for the King George, this is a top class horse and I would be surprised if any of these can land a blow on him.

In the Future Novices, Waaheb and Sizing Rio both have plenty of potential, with the former a very exciting sort. However, Jezki is possibly the best Harrington prospect for some time and I think this one is set for the top, I am backing it at 5/4 and in a quick fire double with Sizing Europe.

Good luck and roll those dice.

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The Boxing Day Sermon – Kempton King George Tips – Scrub that – Here is the winner of the King George plus some other tips from the Kempton card

Merry Christmas and Good Evening from the Major who writes to you from the table of my parents home in Sutton Coldfield.

The weather is cold and blustery, walking the dogs earlier in Sutton Park I had to turn my collar to the wind and bear the brunt of the cold damp on my hat-less head.  The sun was setting and the dogs were rooting through the undergrowth, bounding and sliding through the mud.  As the dank gloom descended, a certain sanguine sense settled on me.  Sometimes, when cold, out, watching dogs becoming filthy, considering the weakness of your attire, on the brink of night, with a warm home waiting…. you are so close to life, it feels good.

The walk after Christmas lunch was in order, my good mother had prepared four meats, Turkey, Pork, Gammon and Beef.  Where was the lamb I cried, surely two cuts of pig was too many….. Apparently it is not the Christmas spirit and I was chastised.

My sister was meant to host Christmas but a new cooker was not arriving in time and with a fortnight to go, the switch was made.  That pretty much made my mothers Christmas, the combination of playing reluctant host coupled with the smell of a crisis.

I trust your Christmas has been fine and in perspective.  I wish all of you merry band the happiest of times, the best of health and gods own luck.  I know my followers are the decent sort, I try and root out the cads, they tend not to return.  As such, I shall not remind you to think of others less fortunate, you will be doing that already.

There is so much racing tomorrow and so much I want to do that I wanted to provide two blog posts.  The first would be an in-depth analysis of the King George – I plan on giving you Christmas cheer with the winner.  I want to share the thought process that leads to the decision too, allowing you to part company with me at any given point.

I will then provide a less detailed summary of some of the other Kempton racing.

In a separate post, I planned on a whirlwind tipping ceremony of every race run tomorrow (that is a lot).  The analysis would have been surface level only but it feels like a fun thing to do.  Sadly, it is Christmas and I am snow blind by racing with no fewer than a million races tomorrow.

Before the tips though, racing royalty and a Sam Waley Cohen rant (not against him per se).

Recent History of Kempton’s King George and Long Run’s Jockey

Kauto Star will be in attendance at Kempton tomorrow and the sight of the five time race winner will warm the festive air with fans clamouring to be in the presence of greatness.

Winner of the race in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, defeated by Long Run in 2010 and regaining his title in 2011 – Is there a more impressive recent national hunt race record.  Add 4 Betfair Chase titles, 2 JN Wine Champion Chase runs and the first horse to regain a Gold Cup and you have a bone fide legend.

Spare a thought for Nacarat though.  Watching many of those Kauto wins, the horse that sets such a nice tempo and travels oh so well until the last half mile deserved more credit than history will give him.  I shall afford him what I can, my thanks for his brave efforts against superior flesh.

Without doubt, my favourite King George would be 2009.  Barbers Shop toiled on, Nacarat the same but Ruby and Kauto that day looked like perfection personified.  Some of the fences he cleared were majestic.  He looked a horse born knowing he was the greatest.

Should Long Run have beaten him in last years renewal?  Probably.  I know it is a well worn subject but the Major would add his two penneth worth to the views of the jockeyship of Long Run which in my view cost too much momentum in last years King George and in the Gold Cup.

Sam Waley-Cohen of the fabulously wealthy clan is a full-time dentist and for six months of the year, pretty much a full-time national hunt jockey too.  He works incredibly hard to do what he does.

The case for the defence is that…. 1) Sam has already won a King George and a Gold Cup aboard Long Run, thus it is a proven partnership worth protecting 2) Is it not the Corinthian spirit that the Major knocks…. ah the plucky amateur, playing with such straight a bat and steeled spirit as the best of them…. There is that too, granted.  3) Let us not forget too that Mr Robert Waley-Cohen has paid his money, it is his toy set and he can do what he wants, he who pays the piper….?

None of these assuage my frustration at the present situation.  My arguments are simple.  True champions in our sport are there to behold.  Kauto, Frankel, Denman, Arkle, Red Rum, Sea Bird…. take your pick, what they achieve is more than the purse for their owner, far more.

Horses like these achieve things that transcend the individual.  It is no longer one element of the race, it is the whole, it is the story.  The spontaneous round of applause as Kauto pulled up in the Gold Cup in March was beautiful, a crowd acknowledged a champion.  Ruby asked the first question but did not belittle the horse by asking again, Kauto said no once, it was enough and everyone appreciated the graceful departure.

In the case of Sam Waley-Cohen, he accepts that he is not the best jockey and this creates pressure, he clearly thrives on it too.  Sam might get 30-40 winners in a year but that compares poorly to the best jockeys riding hundreds of winners, you would expect it too as well, it is the benefit of being professional.

The skill of jockeyship in these races for me is in presenting the horse well at fences.  Geraghty, Walsh, McCoy, Fehily, O’Brien, Madden and Russell, among many of the top pro’s, do this exceptionally well.

If Long Run were aided by such a jockey, I am absolutely convinced that the horse would already hold two King George titles and two Gold Cups.  Both of the defeats came from scruffy jumping and the jockey looks awkward to me.

I accept I have never ridden a horse but while I will gladly bear the brunt of those that know far more than I from the saddle, I know what my eyes and what my sense tells me.

Long Run would be better served with a fully professional top class jockey, he would jump better and thus run to a better mark.  I not only feel a frustration born from a desire to see the best jockeys on the best horses, I also feel the greater sport is suffering as a result.  This is no ordinary chaser, trying to win a half valuable handicap.  This is potentially one of the best chasers we have seen, history beckons.  I wish we did not handicap him with an amateur in the saddle.

The owners pay the bills, they can do as they please, I just wish for the sake of racing that Geraghty would get the leg up tomorrow.

None of this is a slight on Sam Waley-Cohen either.  He accepts the basis of my argument, that he is not as good as the top professional riders.  I genuinely admire the work he must put in to ride at the standard he does.  He also seems like a top guy.  None of this is personally directed, he is doing his best, I just wish he would keep it to the likes of Radjhani Express.

The King George Winner

I said I would provide the name of the winner of the King George.  Here we go….

I analyse races to differing criteria and I want to share the process for selecting the winner of the King George with you.

I have used my judgement and some statistical base to analyse the horses chances on going, trainer form,horse age,  jockeyship, best horse form, recent horse form and likelihood of enjoying the track.

Yet, analysis like this is only useful in ensuring you do not miss elements of fact in the story you create.  Live your life by a model and the bumblebee cannot fly. So, once I have made this assessment, I shall make my case.

My scores came out, incredibly flat, suggesting this is a wide open King George.

Long Run 14.45%
Captain Chris 10.72%
Cue Card 9.36%
Riverside Theatre 10.14%
Junior 10.23%
For Non Stop 6.45%
The Giant Bolster 8.06%
Champion Court 8.55%
Grand Crus 10.81%
Kauto Stone 11.21%

In each the percentage is chance of winning on the scores allotted with my usual adjustments made.

In this case, I am going to throw them away.  It suggests a range of prices akin to a handicap from 6/1 Long Run to 16/1 For Non Stop.

My market, massively rates the chances of the outsiders. How does that fit with my feel for the race….. hmmmm, not very well.  This will be a case of drawing on some of the analysis but feeling my way through the back stories of each.

The most massive factor for me is class, it strikes me that our best chasers win the King George.  They are normally aged from 7-9, that is, in their peak racing years.  Look at the names… Kauto, Kicking King, See More Business – The multiple winners are class horses.

It is easy to get distracted by analysis, what we have to ascertain are two things – Are there serious impediments to you running your best?  Are you good enough?

In this race, I believe only the following have no serious impediment.  Long Run, Kauto Stone, Cue Card, Captain Chris and Riverside Theatre.

Grand Crus is perhaps my highest profile offcut, I feel will struggle on the ground.  He has much poorer form on soft and has never raced on worse.  A wind op may be crucial in proving me wrong but I am willing to bet that the spring will see him run his best races and maybe failing here might put the RSA on the cards.

I am not with the Giant Bolster who has shown one piece of top form in placing in a poor Gold Cup on summer ground.  Not for me.

Champion Court is good but looks thoroughly average in this company.

Likewise, For Non Stop, who has the added impediment of being unlikely to enjoy Kempton, in fact this horse has a surprisingly bad record going right handed.

Junior looks like a horse supplemented to try and win some place money, I don’t think it will pay off – Handicapper out of his depth is my reading.

So, to the protaganists and let us assess the chances and review the merits.

I want to start with two you might be surprised to find me rule out.  Kauto Stone and Cue Card.  Both have different profiles.

Kauto Stone is proven over trip and ground, his three mile win in Ireland on heavy represents his best form and Kauto’s half brother (what a story that would be!) should enjoy conditions.

Cue Card has to prove he will get the trip – Connections think it is no problem on on Kempton’s flat track and I might agree if it were not for the heavy conditions. This will make it a truly testing three miles and turning for home going well may mean nothing after the last fence.

The truth is that six year olds have won the race but they have to be top draw.  Kauto won aged six, winning a Tingle Creek in the same year (unbelievable really!) – So that is the standard to judge the chances of these two by.

Kauto Stone, definitely not in my view… Cue Card, maybe, just maybe.

Then there were three and as Holmes said, rule out the impossible and whatever remains, no matter how far fetched is the truth.

Riverside Theatre, Captain Chris and Long Run.  We have two horses that have placed in a King George and on that has won it and placed in it.

Captain Chris showed arguably his best form last time out encountering heavy for the first time.  If that form sticks then I think he is booked for a place as a minimum and represents a terrific 16/1 price.  He loves conditions and he loves Kempton (three from five).

Riverside Theatre has not had a run this year but that is not a concern.  His record fresh is immaculate and he will be wound up for this.  He also loves Kempton and gets Geraghty aboard.

This is why Long Run has to be the tip for the King George.  When it comes down to it, class is the compelling argument.  Riverside rates one of the two horses I rate in the contest and Long Run gave him a twelve length beating when only a novice.  Anything like that form and my selection should wipe the floor with this lot.  The jockey is the only impediment I can think of and I think he will win despite that.

People forget that this horse set the track record when winning the Gold Cup. That is some achievement and I think it is the class act in the field.

Cue Card rates a danger, there are lots of if’s – Of the two 6 year olds, the former Champion Bumper horse rates the one that could be of the quality to progress and win again.  Those if’s add up though, will he get heavy? Will he be good enough? Will he stay the trip?  A risky dodge, but a dodge.

My best each way alternative would be Captain Chris who only has to overcome his inconsistency to rate a very good place chance at 16/1.

Long Run will win the King George, class will tell.

The Christmas Hurdle

The talk is that Cinders and Ashes will be better for the last run and may reverse with Countrywide Flame who looked an easy winner on soft.

Darlan arrives as one of the best of last years novices but really this one needs better ground, surely.

For the Major, the art is to keep it simple, Countrywide Flame is the Christmas Hurdle tip and with good reason.  He loves the mud, he has just shown terrific form and the triumph is not looking bad as a form race.  15/8, keep it simple.

The Major will however have a slice of former Champion Hurdler, Punjabi.  This horse is the apple of my eye, I still see his white face on that little body as he held off Binocular and Celestial Halo to win me my biggest pile of notes ever.  That will be one for the heart and I would love to see him run a place.

The Feltham

Although I am going to win no friends with the value punting set, Dynaste looks as good as a bolt on bet as I know.  His facile chase victories mean that the 5/1 ante post for the RSA is my current favourite Cheltenham bet.

There is nothing in this field that scares me at all.  His jumping is immaculate, what is not to like.

The 3.45 Handicap Hurdle – Kempton

Four favourites on one card is probably not what you want from your tipping man but Katkeau is all the rage in the last.  The Pipe inmate looks a handicap good thing sort and one poor UK run is nowhere near enough to ignore this promising French sort….

Racing Post Novice Chase – Leopardstown

Avrika Ligeonniere is an evens favourite and it is understandable as to why.  When you are as blessed as Mullins is with Novice Chasers and you have a handful in at the five day stage, which you take out to rely on one brute shot, punters have to take notice.

Oscars Well though is the one for me.  This horse fell on the penultimate start but apart from that not a lot has gone wrong.  This is a classic case of my horse having more in the bank but reputation catapulting the other to the head of affairs.  Take the 7/4 on the second favourite… its a bet.

To the football…

Tottenham odds against at Villa look a bet.  Surely Villa will be fighting to restore some pride but it is a young team and they may struggle, particularly if they concede early.

Watford are my money train at the moment, hence 5/4 at Bristol City is Merry Christmas!

May your Boxing Day be better than mine.  I am booked for lunch at 2pm… what sort of sick person does that to me?  A wife of ten years is the answer… She claims innocence but really… She will pay.

Courage, roll the 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 Sermon featuring Aintree, Newbury, Doncaster and Chepstow plus football tips

Good morning from the Major who writes from the ancient Devon wool town of Chudleigh. The sky is bright, painfully so, the air is sharp. They gritted the high roads last night. Winter arrives. It is the Majors favourite time of year.

The chances of sunburn (a significant risk for my northern skin) have gone, insects are dying, and good riddance, or making home for the winter. National Hunt racing is awakening from its deep restful slumber, slowly at first lumbering into action like a mighty machine, creaking and groaning yet we know that soon it will be in full swing, delivering heart stopping action all the way to Prestbury Park where our pulses will race and dreams will be made and shattered.

Channel 4 has shuffled the pack and overall I think they have it right. Gina Bryce is a great addition (has the Majors heart in her icy grip). John McC and John Francome, while loyal servants are not right for the sports coverage. They make too much light of the sport and that is not helpful. I understand they want to make racing accessible but you can combine expertise with an understandable presentation style.

Clare Balding achieves this blend well enough although the Major would have not have picked her. As for Rishi, well that’s a bad call in my view.

The greatest losses are those of Mike Cattermole and Alasdair Down who have genuine expertise and racing fans will miss them.

If it were my call, I would have left Balding and co and recruited instead Matt Chapman who would have added some real lustre to proceedings. Overall though, it will remain compulsive Saturday viewing.

Just 4 weeks ago the Major ran the Berlin marathon raising money for a fabulous cause Whizz Kidz… I was quite surprised to see a race in their name today at Newbury but indeed, Worthington have kindly sponsored a tasty looking race and the Major is having a charity bet in the same race

Last weeks blog produced some tasty winners and decent advice and represented a welcome return to form. I often wonder who the people who turn up to this club are each week. Some of you I know because you tweet me (@tdl123) or I know you outside of this environment. Most of you though are strangers.

Welcome, one and all. Membership is free, in fact, there is no membership. Just an agreement that certain behaviours and standards exist.

My advice is amateur. I am profitable… But only just. I make lots of errors. My research and thinking does take time and I come here to offer it for free. Sometimes I offer you a slice of Victorian military history or a piece of ancient philosophy in addition to some sporting thoughts. I am afraid you have to accept the wanderings of my damaged mind as it weaves and meanders between the sporting advice and other thoughts, some interesting, some dark, all a swirling vortex. I enjoy writing it, it feels like a release, as though these unhinged thoughts could builspans turn my head into an evil pressurised vestibule, the Saturday Sermon is my release valve. So feel good, by reading you are helping my mental health and probably keeping me from greater ill.

All I ask is that you come in the same spirit, unbridled enthusiasm for life and well aware of the finite nature of what we are given.

It is time to enter the field of battle again so please, don thy heavy leathers, polish that lance point and have your groom bring up the heavy charger. We shall meet the enemy at full tilt, he with that wicked deception, let us enter the violent swirling mess of war and be triumphant. Tonight we eat steak and drink good wine.

To the sports….

Doncaster Racing Post Trophy Tips

The Racing Post trophy has been fertile feeding grounds by Ballydoyle of recent years. Camelot, High Chaparral and Camelot all went on to win the Derby after taking in this late season Group One.

It is understandable then that the moves O’Brien and co made this week were a huge advert for the chances of Kingsbarn. At the 5 day stage they had a number of representatives including Battle of Morengo, one of the market favourites. They then supplemented Kingsbarn and duly removed all else. Clearly he is the one that has been doing the best work at home.

Kingsbarn once supplemented was a magnet for money. 12s, 10s, 8s, 6s and all the way down to a current 5/2 best price Hills. I think he will go off at 13/8, call me mad but I think the story is compelling enough to attract money all day and if Kingsbarn obliges then the enemy will not enjoy their dinner.

It is times like this that the Major is cautious – Work at home may not translate to being the best horse here. I am guessing a bit but I reckon Kingsbarn himself has no idea he is the hot favourite! His maiden form is insignificant, you are betting on reputation – clearly he is hugely talented but when the market moves like this, the value call is to swim against the tide and tell yourself a different story.

Andy Oliver is hardly a fashionable sort for these races. This is his second attempt at a Racing Post Trophy and his last attempt was a disaster! That said, his representative today has what I would argue is the best form on show.

Therefore my tip for the RP Trophy is First Cornerstone at 12/1 with Paddy Power. He is more experienced and will love underfoot conditions. Have a slice.

Aintree Tips – Old Roan Chase Day

I am so glad that Monets Garden had his name added to the Old Roan, some horses strike a chord not because of what they achieved but because of their character and the joy they bought. On the advice of the late Sir Clement Freud I had a chunky bet on Monet once for the King George. Sir Clement was a personal hero of mine (may your life be as rich and varied) but his tipping was not his forte. Still it was the start of a relationship with Monets Garden.

Wishfull Thinking has cost me a lot of money over the last two years and while the horse has a chance of settling that debt today, too much has gone before and it will be a hell of a training feat to return the love of the game to this animal.

Gauvain is very interesting catching him first time out, he has won many a seasonal appearance before going on to achieve less. At ten, sold into a new yard for a fairly light sum, I am interested but not convinced.

A far more likely sort is the Majors Old Roan tip, For Non Stop. My selection is 6/1 with Betfred and is one of the more progressive profiles in the field. His Cheltenham form behind the now Gold Cup favourite Sir Des Champs was good and he is a grade one winner already. Noel Fehily is one of my favourite jump jockeys and this rates a strong piece of advice. Go lumpy.

In the 4.35 at Aintree, it comes down to Unioniste and Carlito Brigante. The former is well related and looks another fine French raid by Paul Nicholls. The latter is a Coral Cup winner and with form in the book, the Majors tip at 2/1.

Cape Express looks to have a great chance in the opener too…

Chepstow Tips

Aintree is not the only track with decent jumps action, Chepstow also has some tasty action and I am taking a chance on 12/1 Return Spring in the Grade 2 novice hurdle. Hobbs targeted this race last year and this entirely unexposed sort can play a part.

Arthurian Legend is sure to be targeted at the Silver Trophy, a handicap he win last year and 6/1 is very nice. Salubrious could be anything but I will take experience over potential here too.

Newbury Tip

Just the one tip from Newbury (plus the charity bet) and that is Camborne (7/1) in the Group 3 St Simon Stakes. If there is one trainer to fix the errant mind of a wild sort, then I would place my faith in Gosden (well I suppose Johnstone too!). Anyway, the Royal Ascot win was eye catching and I expect Cambourne to be doing the best work at the death!

This years Horris Hill is in honour of an incredibly worthwhile cause Whizz Kidz. I have raised money for them over the last couple of years and am happy to spot a tenner charity bet in their race today. My selection is the Dettori ridden Tahwid at 7/1. If you fancy supporting a great cause why not make a small donation yourselves. They are also worth a follow if you are on Twitter…

To the football….

Wigan often look nice in defeat but with home advantage I am taking style to beat function and 11/8 they beat West Ham is a bet.

I think Chelsea will beat Manchester United even without Lampard. They look threatening this year and I am not sure this is a better united team. 6/4 is a lovely price.

Cardiff can be backed at 4/5 and that is a smashing price, I would be hugely surprised if they do not keep up form at home to Burnley.

May your dinner be voluptuous and may that apply to the company too. We go round the once, make sure your doing it in the presence of like minded souls.

Courage, roll the dice.

Tips to earn some bonus January Sales Cash! 50% profits yesterday

Cheltenham, but last year...

When Beautiful Sounds comes in, mines a Brandy

A good day for the Major yesterday thanks to the 11/2 winning price of Blackpool to win at Sunderland.

Today, the tea is hot, the thinking cap has been on again and we shall look for some more sports bets to add to the kitty.

Big Zeb runs at Leopardstown where their excellent Christmas Festival rolls on.  In the UK, Bib Bucks looks to maintain his premier status at Newbury.

Lets take the Irish stuff first….

The 12.50 at Leopardstown is a five runner event with a red hot favourite in Zaidpour.   The £52k win pot and Grade 1 status of this novice hurdle has hardly attracted a huge field of class but Zaidpour is a worthy favourite and a potential star.  However, the Major likes to dig and it is interesting that the Sire Red Ransom went on heavy 11 times and only managed a place once.  Neither the favourite or Hidden Cyclone are tested on heavy and neither suggest they want it on breeding although both have won on soft.  Perfect Smile has 13 lengths to find on the favourite but looks another on the rise – An ew bet would be the advice but the Major will not have an interest.

In the 1.20 we have champion chase winner Big Zeb versus Captain Cee Bee and Golden Silver.  I cannot believe J’y Vole will run again after putting in 3 miles on heavy yesterday, what does Mullins expect!  Captain Cee Bee (100% record on Heavy) is the bet for the Major.  Big Zeb is not a star in my eyes, just happened to win a poor champion chase.  4/1 with Corals, have a slice.

The 1.55 is a superb smash up between the High potential of Hurricane Fly and the established form of Solwhit.  I think both of these are capable champion hurdle winners and the Major holds a 20/1 ticket on Hurricane Fly ante post for the Champion.  While I would love to see the Fly win, I suspect conditions favour Solwhit who at 2/1 is the better bet today.  I would have a bet on Solwhit to win and wait and see the impact on the Champion Hurdle market if it goes that way.  If the Fly went double digits again then I would have some of that!

Now the reserve has made it into the 2.30 Paddy Power chase at Leopardstown I would have a slice.  Beautiful Sound is a fascinating runner who returned from a lengthy injury to take a Punchestown novice impressively.  You can still get 8/1 with Sporting bet but get it fast because the Major smells a gamble.   It is always interesting when a reserve of this make up gets into the race.  Dancing Hero is another that caught the eye – 33/1 is available….. you know what to do.

The Challow is run today at 2.10 at Newbury and this gave the Major a headache in trying to solve it.  To keep it simple, I think For Non Stop is the likely winner at 4/1.

The other Grade 1 at Newbury will be won by Big Bucks.  Not sure what you bet on if you want value, personally I would dodge it.

You can just about get odds against on Forest beating Derby tonight at home in their derby and I would definitely take a strong bet on that.

As ever, the Major wishes all the best of luck no matter which animals or teams you back.  Anyone who takes an opinion and makes a bet is a friend of the Major, particularly those willing to risk that bit more!

Yesterdays Results Below

Bet Result
Cooldine to win the Lexus £0.00
Thegreatjohnbrowne to win £0.00
MK Dons to win £2.50
Stoke to Beat Fulham £0.00
Everton to win at West Ham £0.00
Blackpool to win at Sunderland £6.50