Tag Archives: glenns melody

The Saturday Sermon – Full Cheltenham International Card Tips – Let’s get Christmas paid for!

Good evening from the Major who writes from a pleasant Worcestershire evening with the family happily all around and Chinese food in, fit to burst.

The Major is full of business this evening, all bustling and bristling to get to the racing action.  A nice card at Cheltenham awaits and below is a full run down of my thoughts for tomorrow.  I am looking forward to seeing the New One in action – He is a serious contender for the Champion Hurdle although I confess to holding ante post tickets on Our Conor who was breathtaking in March, delivering a performance from the gods, a rare thing, winning a festival race on such a tight rein.

Such joyous days, I was not on but could only admire.

Lately, such times have been hard to recall.  I am suffering with an anxiety, dark and malevolent.  Blood surging, pressure building inside the skull, little respite.  Waking in the dark hours, restless, thoughts whirring away and not the pleasant sort.  Early in the mornings, in the worst moments, I struggle to shake it off.  The night world invading the day.

Yet now as I sit here, the fire underway, all is swept aside and a contentment lightens my mood.  Tomorrow I am to Birmingham and to spend some time watching the sport in great company.  Sport is wonderful.  All of life is contained within.

We are on this path just the once stranger.  We have no dress rehearsal.  I repeat my oft-repeated plea, we drift by on the tide just the once, grab on to what floats by, take up the fortune my friends.  If there are two simple things, just two to make your aim.. make it these… Experience and Companionship.

Daub thy war paint for it is December and we have a Christmas to pay for.  Mount the heavy horse for we will skirmish in open formation into their forward lines, meeting them man to man with our lance points flashing in the bright sunlight.  To the sports.

Cheltenham Tips

In the Cheltenham opener, the Triumph trial, I am interested in two near the top of the market.

All three fancied horses come from strong yards with Henderson holding the favourite, Kentucky Hyden; Nicholls with French import, Vicenzo Mio and John Ferguson represented by Commissioned.  All three yards arrive is good form and it is noteworthy that Nicholls has used this race to launch the British careers of some decent sorts in the past, winning it twice in the last two years.

The Henderson horse won by half the track at Sandown but that small field was easier pickings than this.  I prefer the Nicholls horse who has won a decent race at Auteuil and is a definite contender.  Yet I am more persuaded by the Ferguson horse, Commissioned.  I know the record of the yard at jumping HQ is atrocious (0 wins, 2 places, 15 runners – 2 Years) but look beyond that and there is a lot to like about my tip.

Commissioned is an ex Mark Johnstone horse and has excellent form on good ground, which is a handy advantage.  The yard have had 6 winners in the last two weeks and with some handy flat form, I think the 5/1 offered by Ladbrokes is well worth taking… Get invested.

Only 4 runners make it for the stayers novice chase but it is an intriguing race all the same.  A lot of folk are going to take the way Shutthefrontdoor was closing on Le Bec last time at Cheltenham as a significant positive over this extra distance.  It certainly looks like he should be able to reverse form but I am not convinced – To me Le Bec kept finding more too and I am not convinced that the defeated foe necessarily has the upper hand tomorrow with an extra furlong and 3lbs to help him.

Le Bec was sixth in the Albert Bartlett and looks pretty assured at his fences, although he did hit one at Cheltenham last time and still finished well.

It is between these two in my book.  I am going for the reverse and a bet on Shutthefrontdoor at 11/8.  There is a further more powerful reason for a reverse in my eyes.  That is the replacement of Le Bec of Noel Fehily by Aiden Coleman.  Now I have nothing against Coleman, he is a good jockey in his own right but I am a huge Fehily fan who is surely worth some lengths to the horse.

In the Jenny Mould memorial, I am opting for Astracad (8/1) who will definitely pop up in a race like this sooner or later.  The horse has picked up a couple of course wins, although has been highly tried at Cheltenham.  I think he prefers the better ground and his trainer would like to win the Jenny Mould memorial as she was a big supporter of his yard.  Of the others, Shooters Wood would have been very interesting but I think conditions are against.  It might also be that we have not bottomed out the potential of Drumshambo who also made the short-list.

Kings Palace looks like a solid favourite for the 1.50pm.  The Pipe horse won really well here last time, loves good conditions and 5/4 does not put me off… Load the heavy cannon.

I was a big fan of Colour Squadron and thought we were desperately unlucky not to win with him at the November meeting.  A better jump two out and he was definitely going to be involved.  How confident we can be in a second such performance, I am not sure.  Johns Spirit was showing further improved form though that day and 9lbs raise may not have bottomed him out.

I am opposing both though with a chance that Salut Flo returns in some sort of good order.  My selection loves decent ground and was a serious horse when last seen in competitive action.  Clearly time off tempers the enthusiasm but Pipe can ready one and this could be a seriously good mark.  Ataglance is a horse I would not put you off, he was also involved in that Johns Spirit / Colour Squadron dust-up and while finishing further behind in fourth, it is worth noting that he was racing out of the handicap that day and is much better off on tomorrows revised terms.

I do not see any dangers to The New One in the meetings feature race.  Yes it is 1/2 on but this is a serious Champion Hurdle contender and I think he should readily have the measure of Zarkander who while decent is not top class.  I would offer a word of optimism for Albert Hall who has limited British experience but has capable french form and 100/1 would be dismissive of his place chances if there were 8 runners, sadly, currently only 7 go to post.

I can make a case for all of the runners in the last.  Gemix is hard to assess, he certainly has some top class form but I am not sure what he will make of hurdling in a small field in this company.  I prefer More of That who smashed up a Folkestone race and two wins this season have been better again – More to come.

Yet, in the last, I am minded to go with Glenns Melody, she has a good strike rate and won really handsomely last time.  Since Ruby has made the effort to come over, well I take it as a positive, 7/2 is a stand out with Coral, with 3/1 more generally on offer.

At Lingfield, I would back Black Thunder in their feature race, soft ground is great for him and he was pulling clear readily at Haydock last time, easy.

In the football, I like QPR and Forest both at 5/4.

I trust that your dinner is in the best of company, generous, full of humour and mischief and that the only inconvenience is the uncomfortable wad of notes denoting the drubbing you dished out to our beautiful enemy.

The Martin Hill bet is each way doubles and trebles on all of the Cheltenham selections above with the exception of The New One and Astracad.  That’s 40 bets… Get Christmas paid.

Sunday Racing Tips from Punchestown for the Tied Cottage Card

Good morning from the Major who writes from a decidedly cold Worcestershire scene with an overcast sky and damp floor.

Yesterday was not the Black Saturday of last week but neither was it redemption.  The Major remains firmly on the cold list and there is only one thing to do…. punt my way out.

I thought it was an odd day of racing.  McCoy seemingly had an excellent book of rides but failed to sparkle on many.  Captain Conan was all but beat before rallying and taking advantage of Third Intention tying up.  Perhaps it was the glue like conditions that saw so few horses running to their best…

Sunday sees a great day of racing at Mussleburgh and Punchestown and I shall once more daub my face in war paint.

Punchestown Card – Tied Cottage

The opener revolves around the Mullins French import Upazo who has been beaten at prohibitive odds twice already but has shown ability in both defeats.  Jennies Jewel from the latter defeat has confirmed the form to be solid going down in a reasonable manner to Glenns Melody next time up.

So Upazo is good if not spectacular so the key question is whether anything is hiding amongst this list of maidens…

Byerley Babe is the key threat – the Thurles bumper he won does not seem to be up to much but the style was impressive.

In the each way prices, I like Follow the Sign the most but feel it is best watched today.  On balance I am going to back Upazo at 5/4.

The second, 1.20pm,  is a fantastic novice affair, the Moscow Flyer Grade 2.

Don Cossack is trying to restore a once lofty reputation.  Along with Starky, Ned Buntline and Mozoltov, he will enjoy the mud he faces here.  Don Cossack fell when chasing Pont Alexandre last time and while he was never threatening the leader, bear in mind two things.  He never travelled that day suggesting something was slightly amiss and secondly, Pont Alexandre is prominent in the novice staying markets at Cheltenham suggesting that it is no mug.  You can read  the trainer Gordon Elliots thoughts here.

Back in this company and freshened up he is a big threat.  Remember he gave a good beating to Sizing Gold in a bumper and while that horse has also had a beating from Pont Alexandre, it represents a strong formline.

Mozoltov also has some form tied up with the premier horses, including being placed behind Champagne Fever.  Mullins has won this race twice in the last five years with Gagewell Flyer and Mikael D’Haguenet.  The latter was always highly regarded, the former less so.

It is hard to read Ned Buntlines form having being disappointing on his penultimate run but shaping much better winning last time.  That race has a weakish look to it but you can only beat them well.

This is a race that is hard to read.  On balance I am going with Mozoltov.  As much as Don Cossack boasts the highest reputation, Mullins is in sparkling form and I am backing him to make it three wins from six runnings of the Moscow Flyer.  Incidentally if you need a bit of cheering up as I do, have a watch of the 2007 Tingle Creek in which Azertyuiop and Well Chief fail to peg back the most awesome of two milers.

The third is a Pertemps qualifier and Colbert Station is an obvious call on recent form, beating a big field in his latest assignment.  His earlier runs behind Roi du Mee are strong too.  His chase mark is two stone bigger than this hurdle mark so the chances are clear.  Technically his record on heavy is dubious but many of those runs were credible.

Sizing Europe looks to have another penalty kick in the fourth.

The Cross Country is a bit of a specialist event for both the horses and the punters!  While Bostons Angel looks the most talented horse in the line up, I am never confident about backing with confidence a cross country horse.  If I feel like an interest I will go with the equally obvious call of Arabella Boy, 7/2, who represents Enda Bolger, the specialist yard for these contests.

In the 3.20, I am opting for Corals 16/1 about Beeverstown.  There are more obvious calls for Lambro and I also like Quiscover Fontaine who while tackling a distance too short for him is the most proven of these in the mud.  My tip though has shown some good novice ability and I think his jumping will stand up to this. He comes with a health warning as he often fails to complete and even unseated at the start last time out.

In the 3.50, spare a thought for Vesper Bell who has to shoulder a stone and a half more than the rest of the field.  I am not a fan of Arbor Supreme who these trips on this ground must be a real labour at the age of 11.  On balance, while having to shoulder a big burden over a staying trip, Vesper Bell gets my vote on class.

I am opting for The Ramblin Kid in the bumper, Nina will get us out of trouble!

Good luck to us all.